It’s undeniable that the benefits of the cloud are attractive. Flexibility, agility and the potential for lower costs are all very welcome, but few take into consideration the possibility of ‘bill shock’ when services aren’t specified, adopted properly or migration is rushed. This has the potential to threaten the cloud’s value to your business.
What is ‘bill shock’?
Think mobile phones or utilities. Everyone has opened a bill only for it to be substantially higher than they had budgeted for. In the early days of data roaming this was commonplace. Mobile users had access to a new, exciting service and used it liberally without really thinking through the costs they were incurring.
This same principle applies to the cloud. With cloud technology going mainstream, your business may now be far more susceptible to the cloud equivalent of bill shock than you thought possible. Being so easy to set up and use, non-IT personnel with a little knowledge are setting up rogue services, whilst IT staff enjoy a freedom to consume resources unlike anything before. It’s therefore easy to over-provision, leading to unbudgeted cost, of which in some extreme cases can quite literally be business-threatening.
Crippling cloud costs
Without question, the adoption of the cloud has been strengthened by the many ‘pay-per-use’ services and, although many enterprises have been able to prosper from this model, it still prevents accurate forecasting of IT spend and you therefore run the risk of painful consequences if not managed effectively.
So how do businesses harness the cloud whist insulating themselves from extreme financial implications?
Finding the root cause of cloud bill shock
There are several reasons why you might suffer cloud bill shock. Probably the biggest factor is choosing the wrong service type and pricing model. Many businesses will opt for the on-demand ‘pay-per-use’ model as they don’t want to make a long term commitment to a single provider. However, by not doing so you are far more susceptible to bill shock as these models are built for short term usage and are charged at premium rates, albeit the costs are normally expressed in the smallest unit of consumption such as ‘per-minute’. If not managed diligently, or used over extended periods, the costs will be eye-watering.
The simplicity of the cloud and its self-service attributes, mean it’s easy to fire up virtual machines (VMs) whenever they’re needed. This can also lead to users over-provisioning and building VMs with far more resources than they need, simply because they can. Whilst this freedom is one of the principal benefits of the cloud, without proper governance it can become costly regardless of what payment model you are using. VM sprawl in your on-premise infrastructure is unwelcome, even more so when you’re working with the cloud.
Another common cause of cloud bill shock comes from VMs which are provisioned and then forgotten about. This can occur when VMs are fired up for testing or ‘just in case’ scenarios and are then not decommissioned. Dormant VMs like this can easily account for significant amounts of unnecessary cost, especially if left for long periods of time.
To prevent bill shock it’s important you use a cloud provider you can trust to support and guide you through your migration to the cloud and then in your ongoing usage patterns. Having someone else keep a watchful eye over your service consumption, while making sure you’re on a service model that’s right for you, are often overlooked in the provider selection process. When we built CloudGate, Spherica’s cloud platform, we had these needs directly in mind.
Our customers don’t experience bill shock. Depending on what services you need from the cloud, our team will guide you to the most suitable model – whether that’s long-term predictable costs or something more ready to cater for any seasonal demands you might face. Regardless, the same experienced and friendly experts are always at your side.