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Dominic Ayres

Common Cloud Pricing Challenges and 5 Calculators That Can Help You Figure It Out

With enterprise cloud adoption continuing to soar, it’s easy to buy into the cloud hype while forgetting the challenges your business will inevitably encounter along the way. Among the numerous benefits of enterprise cloud adoption is the prospect of a marked reduction in IT costs for capital expenses as well as for operational costs.

However, moving some or all of your IT functions to popular cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure brings an entirely new set of pricing challenges. A Forbes article on corporate cloud expenditure highlighted statistics from a report which found that large enterprises spend more than $6 million a year in the public cloud, but 30-35 percent of this—roughly $2 million—is wasted.

There is clearly a real need to get a firm handle on cloud costs and optimize your cloud usage in line with realistic, accurate estimates that reflect your proposed cloud workloads. Read on for the specific pricing challenges in the public cloud and five cloud calculators that can give you an accurate estimate of your cloud costs.

Cloud Pricing Challenges

  • Unused resources—You can easily lose track of unused resources and you still get charged for them by the cloud vendor. For example, unless you specifically delete your unused Amazon EBS storage volumes, you continue to get charged for them even if you stop running the instance to which they were attached.
  • No centralized management—Enterprises frequently combine the use of multiple cloud service providers, such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. A lack of centralized management can cause companies to lose track of what they have paid for.
  • Overprovisioning—It’s common to overprovision cloud resources to incorporate unexpected spikes in data/traffic or future growth in workloads. However, because most services are scalable on demand with no downtime, overprovisioning cloud resources adds unnecessary expenses.
  • Not accurately calculating prices—It’s important to calculate cloud costs in advance so that you can choose the service that meets your use cases at the right price. This is where cloud cost calculators can help you out.

Useful Cloud Pricing Calculators

CloudStorage Calculator

The wide availability of cheap storage is a great appeal of the cloud. Whether for disaster recovery purposes, as primary storage for apps, or as storage for Big Data analytics engines, you’re probably considering the likes of AWS S3, AWS EBS, Microsoft Azure Storage, and more.

The calculator at CostStorage.com is very useful for comparing prices for cloud storage between up to six service providers. Instead of having to go through the nightmarish task of browsing multiple pricing pages, you simply input the main details about your storage needs, including frequency of access, storage amount, and both read and write requests.

The result is a simple table displayed which recommends the cheapest service based on your specific storage needs.

AWS TCO Calculator

A cursory glance at just the pricing page for Amazon’s S3 storage service reveals a complex maze of different price points, including storage pricing, request pricing, S3 standard-IA, and S3 One Zone-IA. Some of these terms are meaningless; what you need when weighing up your options is a simple answer to the question—how much is it going to cost compared to running your apps on-premise?

Thankfully, the AWS TCO calculator answers this question without getting you bogged down in vendor-specific jargon. In the basic view on this calculator, you input details of your app workload including details on your servers and the storage your application needs. The advanced view facilitates a more accurate answer by letting you add details on IT labor costs and network bandwidth.

NetApp Azure Calculator

The NetApp Azure calculator is helpful for getting a quick estimate of how much it’ll cost for persistent storage for use with Azure virtual machines. This Azure calculator, similar to the AWS calculator, has basic and advanced input options.

The basic fields include capacity and VM type while the advanced choices let you specify details on uptime percentage, daily data snapshot amounts, storage efficiency, and disk type etc.

Unigma Calculator

Unigma has provided a decent calculator for comparing cloud costs across AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. You enter details on the cloud instances you need, including CPU cores, operating system, gigabytes of memory, closest datacenter, and how many hours per day you need to have the instance(s) running.

The estimated cost you receive can be adjusted per day, week, month, and year.

Google CloudPlatform Calculator

Google’s cloud calculator is a tad more technically demanding to get to grips with than the other calculators here. However, it makes the list because of the comprehensive range of services for which it gives an estimate and because it can incorporate free usage into your estimate.

You can choose between Google cloud services such as compute engine, app engine, cloud storage, networking, and lots more that you might use as an enterprise.

Conclusion

These calculators should give you a good platform for getting an accurate estimate of cloud costs from the main public cloud service providers. After you’ve got your estimate and chosen the right mix of services, it’s imperative to develop a culture of cost transparency within the enterprise, otherwise, your costs can spiral out of control, causing you to become part of that unwanted statistic on wasted money in the cloud.

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