What your cloud provider doesn’t want you to know

The big three cloud providers know a few architecture tricks that keep money in their pockets. Learn how to make their secrets work for you

Cloud architecture is practiced differently, depending on who you work for or with. Given that the cloud architect gig encompasses planning, design, technology selection, technology integration, and deployment planning, the overall cloud architecture itself is often somehow overlooked. 

The lack of cloud architectural discipline allows for inefficient architectures that cost you money, but make money for the public cloud providers. Here are a few secrets to keep in mind. They’re so numerous that I’ve spread this topic across two posts. Here are the first two things the providers don’t want you to know: 

First, with a bit of planning, you can do cloud computing much cheaper. You’ve heard of “reserved instances,” right? Basically, they are the purchase of cloud-based resources, such as storage and compute, ahead of the need. Public cloud providers award you with a discount for paying in advance, which ranges from a lot to a little, depending on the provider. 

AWS, for instance, offers a pretty high discount, up to 75 percent versus on-demand. If you’re looking at a million-dollar cloud bill each year, that’s a very good deal. Moreover, the ROI of cloud computing goes up even further. 

The downside, of course, is you have to plan ahead. That’s not the strong suit of most enterprises. Instead they typically worry about on-demand pricing. It’s obvious that strategy leaves money on the table. Usage planning needs to get more attention.

Second, make sure you look at database licenses in the cloud. Most major enterprise database providers have a public cloud option that allows you to bring your own license to a public cloud provider. 

Today’s conventional wisdom states that, when moving to the cloud, a cloud-native database is optimal for cost and efficiency. Although some of that is true, the reality is that many enterprises have purchased database licenses that run a few years farther down the road. Those existing licenses may offer a more cost-effective path for the time being. 

Moreover, you need to consider migration costs. Moving to a cloud-native database will cost risk, time, and money. You have to migrate the data, as well as modify the cloud applications for the new database. Just migrating to the same database on the public cloud should avoid most of those problems. 

Watch for two more secrets in three days.