You're paying too much for the cloud

It's time to reduce your bills -- and that means using the cloud the right way for your needs

You can't go a month without hearing about some price drop by a major cloud computing provider, with others quickly following suit. Though it seems like a race to the bottom, in fact the cloud providers are starting to make real money.

Public clouds function much like utilities. How much businesses pay for these utilities depends directly on how they consume cloud-based resources such as storage, compute, and applications. Companies that consume cloud services efficiently pay less, and the inefficient ones pay more.

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There are two efficiency-related reasons why you're probably getting larger cloud bills than you should:

First, applications aren't optimized to effectively use cloud resources. This means the applications use the cloud resources in ways that will allow the application both to perform better and to use fewer costly resources.

The problem is that most enterprises do a simple port of the application when it's moved to the cloud; the applications are not optimized for the target platform (in this case, a public cloud). This is called the lift-and-shift approach to application migration to the public cloud. You might get lucky. But usually it means that your application functions less efficiently, so you pay more for the use of the cloud platform.

Second, cloud resources are ineffectively managed. This means that machine instances get provisioned, but never deprovisioned. Too much storage is allocated that's never used, and special cloud services (such as locking data to regional data centers) are used when they are not needed.

The solution to this problem typically requires that enterprises invest in a cloud resource management approach, including many of the cloud management platforms (CMPs) available today. Also, enterprises must take a practical look at how and why they consume public cloud resources, as well as the types of resources they use. In numerous cases, they sign up for premium services when they don't need them.

Take some time to figure out how to lower your public cloud bill. You'll get you a lot more value that way.

This article, "You're paying too much for the cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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