After All, In Cloud You Don’t Only Pay For What You Use

After All, In Cloud You Don't Only Pay For What You Use

If you too have jumped on the cloud bandwagon without completely understanding the implications of the trade, chances are that you are bleeding cash or revenue. And fast!

Hidden and unoptimized cloud costs are the leading causes of soaring cloud costs. While the “pay-per-use” model looks attractive on paper, what we often do not realize is that ‘use’ comes with a rider warning. Let’s look at the leading cloud usage practices that will optimize your cloud infrastructure costs:

1. Consider the Cost of Migration

Moving or tweaking the cloud infrastructure is not an easy feat. It calls for careful planning and strategizing, related to data migration, code architectures, and applications. It is necessary to have the entire course of migration charted out to avoid hidden costs such as indirect costs for integration, coding and data backup costs, and the like.

2. Tap into Cloud Cost Analytics

Cloud costs analytics provides you with an overview of cost visibility, comparison, and chargeback details. Not only does this help you understand the correct workload placements, but you can also compare the costs of internal provisioning to external sourcing.

3. Avoid both Over and Under Provisioning

The key is to find the perfect balance between the deployed cloud resources and its underlying management. Overshooting cloud resources or under-allocating them can be equally devastating, as far as revenues are concerned. You should be aware of just the right amount of resources that need to be deployed. While under-provisioning hinders business performance, over-provisioning leads to idle resources and inflated costs!

4. Poor Management of Cloud Deployment

Poor code deployment, unintended or mismanaged configuration changes, and improper job deployment can all increase cloud costs. This can be mainly attributed to a lack of automation or undefined processes. Manual processes not only increase direct costs but also add to the indirect costs of resource management.

5. Cloud Service Costs

It is relatively common for cloud service providers to hook customers onto their platforms with lucrative offers. But these usually last for up to a certain limit, post which the services become billable. Recent cloud migrators often fall into this trap by forgetting to cut down on unwanted costs and extra resources!

An absence of any of these techniques can hike your costs beyond measure. To avail cloud management and automation intelligence that help you tame your cloud costs, check out Flint’s all-in-one cloud management platform.

Which of these cloud cost management practices have you been missing at your organization? Share with us in the comments section!

Thinking of Hybrid Cloud? Brace Yourself for these 7 Benefits

Thinking of Hybrid Cloud? Brace Yourself for these 7 Benefits

Hybrid Cloud has become the prime face of digital transformation in enterprises. And while some business leaders (the ones who dread change) remain skeptical about it, their smarter counterparts are actively embracing the technology to realize tons of benefits.

This is reiterated by the “Hybrid IT Strategy Insights” report from Forrester, which provides insights into these benefits. Let’s take a dive into these if you’re aiming to replicate the same at your organization:

1. Better System Reliability

Services are distributed across multiple data centers, eliminating the fear of sudden downtime or data losses.

2. Lesser Infrastructure Complexity

Hybrid clouds are the chameleon of the cloud universe. They come with the capabilities of both public and private clouds, doing away with the hassle of marrying contrasting cloud ecosystems.

3. New-Age Infrastructure

All this and more reduces the dependency on legacy cloud infrastructures, adding many modern features and guidelines.

4. Lowered Software Costs

You no longer need to shop for expensive data storage devices or worry about their maintenance. With the ability to order and deploy storage on a need basis, IT storage costs prove to be a fraction of what they used to be!

5. High Scalability

Since every new byte added to the storage is now actually used instead of being idle, there is a certain direct utility or ROI associated with it. This paves the way for highly scalable infrastructures that justify resources.

6. More Control

Instead of being subjected to the will (and mood) of a third-party vendor, the private arm of your hybrid cloud infrastructure can be customized to your needs. This makes the management of critical operations a breeze!

7. Increased Speed to Market

Hybrid clouds provide you with all the ingredients you need to create productive environments that can test, prototype, and launch new products. Throw in some automation into the mix and the resulting ability is already miles ahead of your existing infrastructure.

Thinking about jumping on the Hybrid Cloud wagon? Visit Flint today to understand how we can simplify your Hybrid cloud management with a unified cloud platform.

MSP and CSP, Boost Profits and Take Control of your Billing with Custom Rate-cards

MSP and CSP, Boost Profits and Take Control of your Billing with Custom Rate-cards

If you are a Cloud or Managed Service provider, multi-cloud infrastructure can give your business the agility to scale and make it built for future. However, monitoring your cloud resources could leave you blue in the face until you deploy a solution that ensures complete visibility via customizable billing and invoicing to simplify operations and boost profits.

One way in which your organization can grow its practice while simplifying operations, especially in a multi-cloud environment, is through customer-specific billing via Custom Rate Cards that can be used for adding maintenance charges, taxes, and add-ons for individual clients to manage payments effectively without any confusion. In addition, you also need customized Cloud Dashboards to view your usage costs in a single window, enabling you to detect recurring patterns and analyze user behavior.

How to Use Custom Rate Cards?

Are you finding it difficult to manage your multi-cloud infrastructure with respect to your growing clientele. Unfortunately, this is a common scenario that can be reversed if you can accurately charge for the services rendered by creating Custom Rate Cards for each of your clients. 

Additional services subscribed by your clients may include cloud management, cost optimization, technical support, security management, etc. Charges for these services differ for different cloud providers who may charge a flat fee or per cent lift or a combination of both. However, setting the fee for these services is not difficult; but keeping track of the services availed by each of your customers and charging them accordingly for the services rendered can be a challenging task. Custom Rate Cards help you tide over this problem through customer- specific billing via individualized rate cards for every customer.

The main benefit of using Custom Rate Cards is the integration of cloud-native fees and internal service fees on a single bill for easy and transparent payments. Fees can be charged using a flat fee model, per cent uplift or a combination of both, and discounts and credits can be applied instantly, without any confusion.

Using Custom Dashboards

Custom Dashboards are perfect for simplifying your cloud payments by giving you a clear view of your cloud spend through unified billing. Most organizations struggle with cloud payments due to the otherwise convenient ‘pay-as-you-go’ model followed by AWS and Azure. 

In simple terms, ‘pay-as-you-go’ means that you only pay for the services you use in any billing cycle. However, it is often difficult to monitor, as well as predict usage, in a multi-cloud organization, leading to confusion and skewered budgets. Custom Dashboards help you tide over this issue through aggregate billing and unified reporting that give you a clear view of your usage and associated costs.

Custom Dashboards also enable you to curtail frivolous costs through highly visual reports and graphs that help you identify saving opportunities. You can easily export our reports to CSV format for further analysis and also access past reports to determine recurring patterns and irregularities. To gain more insights into your expenses, you can use Custom Dashboards for customized reports that can be filtered by Cloud provider, Business Units, as well as by date.

Optimize Your Cloud Spend

Turn the cloud into a profit center with the right technology to manage your sprawl and optimize your costs. At Flint, we offer you a one-stop-solution for all your cloud needs so that you don’t have to look for multiple partners for different requirements.

Controlling Cloud Costs: How to Go About it Smartly

Controlling Cloud Costs: How to Go About it Smartly

Moving your IT resources to the Cloud was supposed to save you money. Instead, costs do not seem to stop piling up! So, what went wrong? And where?

More often than not, the answer lies in the implementation of Cloud infrastructures and how they are managed. There are many leading factors that impact the underlying Cloud costs. Let’s take a quick look at how you can manage each of them:

1. Cloud Inventory Visibility

This is common sense. If you are unable to access a holistic view of your Cloud infrastructure, spotting loopholes can be a neverending task! You need to analyze your entire Cloud ecosystem and drill down on unused resources. Even something as simple as a consolidated dashboard can do the trick for you.

2. Cost Analytics

Apart from an end-to-end view, it is also crucial to dig into the present and future usage trends. Niche details in the form of interactive graphical and tabular reports can help you access specific business data.

3. Role-Based Access

Limit the roles of users and allowing only the right stakeholders to access the Cloud is the next step. Such limitations would help users to manage launched, terminated, or changed instances in the cloud, appropriately take corrective actions, and control the costs.

4. Automated Alerts and Notifications

All day-to-day changes in your Cloud environment need to be shared via custom-built reports that chart out all associated costs, usage, and performance metrics. Notifications that should be targeted include authorization failures, budget overruns, cost spikes, and untagged infrastructure.

5. Policy-Based Governance

Setting up the right policies that track Cloud usage and costs across every specific tool or vendor-specific product can take the game to another level altogether. For instance, operational hours can be set up to automatically launch and shut down virtual machines. Instances can then be accordingly sized to find the right balance between performance and cost.

6. Maximizing Cloud Vendor Discounts

Cloud vendors are known to provide discounts from time to time. For instance, Amazon Web Services offer the option of leveraging Reserved Instances. Using such deals in a smart manner can significantly bring down the value of your spend, both in the long and short run.

If you don’t know the intricacies of the trade, managing a Cloud infrastructure (and especially a multi-cloud architecture) is no less than driving blindfolded into the night. These tips will help you light up the road ahead, possibly steering you away from pitfalls.

In case it turns out to be too big of a fish for you to handle, visit getflint.io to understand how we can simplify your cloud management and automate your IT operations!

Why MSPs and CSPs Need Cloud Management More than Ever

Why MSPs and CSPs Need Cloud Management More Than Ever

Cloud computing has emerged as the go-to technology to bring down IT costs. But with soaring adoption and use cases, it is common for organizations to get themselves entangled in a web of complexities. This is mainly because of their inability to realize all-round visibility into every cloud function.

Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) are in a similar rocky boat. Although they provide value-added services to customers, they are unable to look at the big picture, often leading to management nightmares.

The reasons why CSPs need Cloud Management include:

  • To drive proper strategy and management for efficient productivity
  • Lack of holistic skills, knowledge, and expertise on the cloud
  • Managing and scaling applications and processes with repetitive tasks
  • Making monthly costs recurring and predictable to do away with surprises
  • Bringing down the response time with round the clock monitoring

End-to-end Cloud Management Platforms, such as Flint, pave the way for a number of pan-organization benefits:

  • Pay-per-service or payment plans, enabling the business to focus its funds on growth
  • Robust network and IT infrastructure with round the clock management
  • Unified accessibility that boosts employee productivity
  • More flexibility in terms of control over service levels, performance, and maintenance
  • Easy handling of vendor-specific service issues by mediating the involved contact process
  • Deployment of Service-as-a-code and other intuitive concepts such as DevOps
  • Management of role-based access to cloud services and efficient enforcement of the involved compliance
  • Collecting and auto-fulfilling requests from users to access and deploy cloud resources in a manner that makes sense to all the stakeholders

How a Multi-Cloud Management Portal Can Help

With all the hype surrounding the different types of cloud platforms, the true savior of the industry often gets left behind. By changing this and actually adopting a multi-cloud management portal, the strategy can add wings to your cloud management efforts by:

  • Lining-up your business requirements in a way that chooses the best-in-class cloud-hosting providers
  • Orchestrating multi-cloud strategies in a manner that automatically chooses the best cloud platform for a particular requirement

As a cloud service provider, all of these capabilities will only make your life easier. To learn more about how you can do this, visit this link!

Hybrid Cloud is Now Enterprise Reality

Hybrid Cloud is Now Enterprise Reality

Brace yourselves, compatriots of Cloudville. There is a new player in town. And it's winning the heart of the citizens.

Enter Hybrid Cloud - the hero of our story today.

Let’s begin by putting things in perspective. Live Mint reports that 88% of the leaders expect hybrid cloud to positively impact their businesses. In fact, the deployment of the hybrid cloud model is set to rise up to 26% in a year.

But the question now arises is what is driving this sudden change? Let’s look at the major benefits that are in play:

  • Better Security: Security is a common concern while moving to the cloud. Hybrid clouds do away with these via dedicated servers and network devices. Access can be restricted or granted in a jiffy.
  • Cloud Bursting: They pave the way for cloud bursting, which is a process that enables apps that are running in the data center or private cloud to burst into public clouds as and when the need arises. This even keeps cloud bills under control.
  • Better Control: With a hybrid infrastructure, enterprises that are leveraging Big Data can easily migrate to the cloud and serve their customers with increased efficiency.
  • Infrastructure Transitioning: Downtime elimination during transitions ensures that there is no loss of efficiency or interruption of critical business functions. Enterprises can strike a sweet chord where they get the best of both the public and private worlds.
  • Lower Costs: While public clouds are cheaper, private options are more secure. Hybrid cloud allows enterprises to find the right equilibrium and execute both short and long term game plans for being cost-effective.
  • Technological Harbour: Teams can create testing environments on specific servers and connect them to agile cloud resources.
  • Architectural Flexibility: Workloads can be aligned to the best possible fit and in ways that make maximum use of performance requirements. Moreover, contract term billing can help to meet compliance and regulation needs.

And according to a report from IDG, factors that are driving this move include the following:

With such benefits in sight, Hybrid Cloud is becoming such a hot property that managers cannot keep their hands off of it. If you have been craving to explore/implement the same, we, at Flint, can help you implement simplified Cloud Management solutions that can put your hybrid cloud resources on steroids.

Don’t believe us? Avail a free trial of our services and witness it for yourself.

Visibility is the First Step to Cloud Cost Journey

Visibility is the First Step to Cloud Cost Journey

Imagine driving an expensive car without ever knowing its mileage. Or handing over an ‘all-you- can-buy’ pass to your spouse during the festive season. The only words that come to mind are ‘unpredictable’ and ‘expensive’.

Cloud adoption is at a somewhat similar stage right now, being entirely driven by FOMO (fear of missing out). Everyone is eager to jump on the bandwagon without comprehending the gravity of its aftermath. And as it turns out, it can screw your budgets beyond control.

And research backs it up! 80% of companies increased their cloud workload in 2018, but only 20% of the respondents believe that their company was actually able to monitor the changes.

It is true that monitoring cloud resources can sometimes feel like chewing rocks. Why? Because their architecture can change quicker than the weather outside. Being dynamic in nature, new workloads can be deployed in a jiffy, giving rise to blind spots. And under dangerous circumstances, these spots can grow into the likes of data breaches, compliance nightmares, and cringing customers.

But does this necessarily mean that your cloud journey will end before it sees the light of day? Not if you aim to achieve holistic cloud visibility with Flint. Here is the usual workflow that Flint commences:

  • Flint integrates all apps, services, and infrastructure.
  • Application transactions are communicated across networks.
  • Executes continuous end-to-end cloud monitoring.
  • Simple and intuitive dashboard allows you to analyze data and make quick decisions to reduce cost and optimize resource consumption.

All this and more adds wings to the cloud ecosystem, setting it up for its next phase. And with a pumped-up architecture on steroids, many benefits can be drawn by putting those demons to rest:

  • Monitoring of application performance.
  • Easier identification of cloud costs.
  • Identification of unused cloud resources.
  • Pinpointing any billing irregularity.

With all this on the table, what should be the traits of an ideal cloud management solution? To begin with, it should be witty enough to sniff an oncoming cost mountain, just like Spider Man’s tingling senses. This includes diagnosing the type of issue and notifying users with relevant metrics.

In the end, it all ties up with the business value that your cloud partner provides. At Flint, we function as a one-stop-solution for all your cloud needs so that you don’t have to hop from one digital store to another. Whether it is about Cloud Management, Service Automation, or ITOM Orchestration. We have something in store for every cloud need, especially when it comes to having a transparent window-pane view of your cloud resources!

For more information on how we can paint a promising future for your cloud computing needs, visit our website!

Don’t Let the Public Cloud Snatch Away All Your Budget

Don't Let the Public Cloud Snatch Away All Your Budget

“Never put all your eggs in one basket.”

This adage perfectly sums up the advice any veteran cloud manager would pass on to a novice. And it is required more than ever today. Why? Because Gartner reports that global spending on public cloud services hit an insane mark of $214.3 billion this year.

As things stand, spending all your resources on public cloud is the worst decision that you can take. Controlling this is an even harder feat in case you have a multi-cloud strategy in place.

If you have been a victim of wasted resources and higher than appetite costs, here’s what you have to do to keep your cloud environment under check:

1. Analyze Your Monthly Cloud Bills:

If your organizational culture reflects the callous attitude of a rich and spoiled brat, you will be in trouble the moment you get out of bed. The faster your hand reaches for your pocket, the deeper will its hole be. You need to be stingy with your spends, analyze your cloud bills, and narrow down any unexpected services and regions that are in use.

2. Drill Down on Spikes and Anomalies:

But before that, do you have a blueprint of your cloud strategy in place? If not, you should not even be reading this. The next step is to map the frequency and intensity of your cloud resources on a wall (figuratively) and look for instances where they hit the ceiling or the floor. These are the points of inflection that can do with some smart optimization.

3. Compute the Costs of Your Network Traffic:

You don’t bring a needle to a sword fight. And, of course, vice versa. Cloud resources are billed on the hourly rate of machines. And as logic dictates, smaller machines are cheaper than their larger counterparts. While using smaller machines is an obvious initial reflex, you can even deploy a scale-out architecture that makes use of multiple and smaller resources.

4. Consider Cost Differences by Location:

Have you ever been to two different McDonald’s and paid different prices for the same happy meal? The same is possible with Cloud services. Prices are naturally dependent on input variables labor costs and market fluctuations. Whatever the case, don’t jump the gun without a fair share of due diligence.

5. Design Workloads for Scalability:

Before making any decision, time-travel into the future. What would be your cloud needs 2, 5, or even 10 years from now? The efficiency with which you answer these questions is directly correlated to cloud costs down the road. With cloud orchestration, containers, and microservices in the picture today, tipping the decision in favor of one factor may enrage another.

Which is the most nagging issue related to public cloud costs that you are facing? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Step One to Cloud Adoption: Overcoming the Transformation Fear

Step One to Cloud Adoption: Overcoming the Transformation Fear

If you haven’t already done so, imagine moving all your sensitive data onto the servers of a third-party. Chances are that as an executive in the C-seat, it freaks you out more than you expect it to. And you’re not alone! Cloud computing and newbie jitters go hand-in-hand.

Although there are many strong cases in favor of cloud migration, apprehension still commands the front seat. Here are some major cloud-related fears and how you can handle each of them:

1. Fear of Ceding Control

This is perhaps the most common fear due to data storage units being remote and non-tangible. This fear particularly compounds for managers who do not have any idea about the type of Cloud infrastructure that they need. If you are one of them, you need to realize that cloud storage offers more flexibility due to standardization and control through APIs.

2. Use an Appropriate Storage Class

Managers who go through the terms of service of cloud providers get a reality check when they read that the provider takes no responsibility for any loss of data whatsoever. To overcome this, they need to keep these in mind:

  • Cloud providers are simply protecting themselves from legal liabilities.
  • The terms are not a reflection of their service quality.
  • There are similar risks associated with maintaining local data drives.
  • Timely data backups can always be an effective risk mitigation strategy.

3. Fear of Data Security

Another common cloud-related anxiety, data security is something that is completely dependent on the cloud partner. Hence, the choice of your Cloud service provider is critical to bypass this risk. An ideal cloud platform includes:

  • Requisite firewalls and security norms.
  • Locks on all network applications.
  • Emergency data backup protocols.

And whatever you do, realize that the entire business of the cloud provider depends on the robustness of their platform. They are likely to take it more seriously than you ever will!

4. Fear of High Expenses

Managers often underestimate or overshoot the costs of moving data to the Cloud. This leads to an uncertain ROI, improper planning, and inaccurate expectations. The end result is often either sunk costs or resources. But this does not mean that Cloud computing itself is to be blamed. With a pay-as-you-go payment model, you can ensure that you shell out your hard-earned cash only for the resources that you actually use!

Looking for a one-stop solution that meets all these needs? Flint is a simplified and all-in-one Cloud management platform that can solve all your Cloud-related woes. Know more about the platform here!

5 Ways in Which You Can Reduce Your Cloud Bill

5 Ways in Which You Can Reduce Your Cloud Bill

Multi-cloud strategies are quickly becoming the cloud computing norm in 2019 as organizations continue to explore new avenues to bring down cloud-related costs. According to reports, about 50% of the respondents spend more than $1.2 million every year on Public Cloud. And 13% of them spend as much as $12 million!

As evident, an un-optimised cloud strategy can spiral costs out of control before you know what went wrong. So let's get to the chase and take a look at the checklist that will help you avoid such a mayday:

1. Drill Down on Unused Resources

While this is an obvious one, some important checks/solutions here can include:

  • Turning off temporary servers when the job is done.
  • Removing the storage attached to instances that are terminated
  • Using AWS OpWorks and Elastic Beanstalk to quickly deploy and redeploy apps

2. Use an Appropriate Storage Class

Cloud Providers include different tiers of object storage classes. For every tier, costs are broken down according to the actual storage, number of HTTP PUT and GET requests, and the volume of transferred data. To optimise cloud data storage costs, your develop or cloud manager needs to leverage object life cycle management that automatically transitions data between storage classes.

3. Select a Relevant Instance Type

To reduce costs, it is crucial to deploy the most cost-effective practices for your application workload. Consider variables such as the amount of required memory and the type of processing unit. Further optimisation can also be realised by tagging instances and setting up ‘No Tags, No Instance’ policies with dedicated tools.

4. Constantly Monitor Cloud Usage

Using cloud usage monitoring and management tools, such as TrustedAdvisor and CloudWatch, is mandatory if you plan to scale. Not only do they collect crucial cloud usage data, but they can also identify idle cloud resources via configuration checks. Such tools can even help you leverage the best cloud management practices, set up alerts, monitor log files, and automatically react to changes.

5. Use Reserved and Spot Instances

Instead of one-time buys, use reserved and spot instances to significantly bring down your cloud costs. Even though it would make you commit to the cloud platform for a period of 1-3 years, the resulting savings are totally worth it if you have large-scale cloud dependencies. By selecting the right reservation, you can even pay cloud costs on a per month basis.

Conclusion

When it comes to cloud savings, always keep in mind that numerous small gains will eventually amount to big differences in your cloud bills. This is especially true for organisations who are in the scaling stage. Leveraging all of these tips cohesively can significantly help your case.