In our final article for the 3-part series “Controlling Cloud Spend: Avoiding the Steep Cost of Unchecked Cloud Growth”, we will explain the four best practices of cloud spend optimization and how to implement a successful cloud spend optimization strategy. 

Whether launching a cloud spend optimization initiative on their own or engaging an expert partner, more businesses are adopting a new set of best-in-class tools and strategies to truly make the most of the cloud transformation. These cloud spend optimization best practices fall into four categories: 


Before cloud usage and spending can be controlled, it must be understood. And to be understood, it must be visible. Cloud usage optimization platforms offer a purpose-built tool designed to monitor cloud usage. Best-in-class cloud usage optimization platforms enable an even more detailed level of disciplined and comprehensive cloud spend tracking. This includes capturing all cloud instances across all environments, providing the core data necessary to optimize costs, as well as creating a critical accountability mechanism. Businesses can track cloud usage back to specific users, teams, departments or projects, thereby enabling accurate calculation of total cost of ownership (TCO).


Seeing cloud usage and spending is one thing; making sense of reports and creating action plans requires a much greater level of understanding and expertise. This is where many businesses’ internal cloud spend optimization efforts sputter and stall. To be effective, optimization must effectively hone in on the signal amid the noise of cloud usage data, recognizing instances of waste—from lingering temporary workloads to the over-provisioning that plagues almost 40 percent of all virtualized machines.1 Optimization also includes effective forecasting and strategic planning to take advantage of tiered cloud pricing. Critically, it requires an understanding of how the elasticity of various workloads relate to their defined infrastructure requirements. In practice, this means a more balanced approach weighing the benefits of cloud against those of existing private infrastructure. As BMC CIO Crowder explains, “The first question to ask is: Can it be run internally? Because private cloud is still usually the cheapest option.” Predictable, inelastic workloads will almost always be cheaper when run on internal infrastructure; volatile and seasonal workloads, or those targeted for growth, are best suited to yield benefits on cloud infrastructure.


Preventing the “too much of a good thing” problem requires policy that is both easy and enforceable. Controls must strike a delicate balance, providing a check on the creation of unnecessary or redundant cloud instances, without impeding the innovation, agility and growth of the business. Those tasked with creating CSO policy must have an interdisciplinary understanding of everything from regulatory and compliance requirements, to cloud security best practices, to procurement and contractual considerations, accounts payable and more. Navigating this complexity presents another major barrier to many internal CSO efforts.

Real-Time Governance

Given a focused, supported effort, most IT professionals will find that executing a point solution for CSO is achievable. But the cloud landscape evolves on a minute-by-minute basis in the modern digital business, and that single point of optimized operations is quickly replaced by new waste and new sub-optimal usage. If the promise of the cloud is instant scalability, then effective oversight and governance must also be instant. As mentioned, this requires a level of vigilance and dedication of resources that most IT teams are unable to achieve. Best practice is to monitor cloud usage in real time, establish a design process that controls and addresses issues daily and conduct optimization workflows on a weekly basis.

The Cloud Dream: All the Power, None of the Waste

With the help of experts like Advocate, businesses in every sector are leveraging these new best practices to realize the full potential of their cloud computing strategy. Implementing intelligent policy and controls can reign in unchecked cloud expansion and wasted spending, while real-time transparency into cloud utilization can both optimize existing cloud usage and strategically plan for the future. Most importantly, with the resources and expertise necessary to sustain a vigilant, real-time CSO effort, businesses can gain the agility, scalability and computing power to drive innovation and growth—without losing control of costs.

Advocate Delivers Proven Cloud Spend Optimization Expertise for AWS, Azure, Google and More

With over 15 years of proven experience helping enterprises make significant gains in technology spend optimization, Advocate applies its spend management DNA to solve this challenge. And with most cloud spend occurring with AWS, Advocate has developed a set of AWS-specific solutions to meet our clients’ needs. However, our proven methodology works equally well in evaluating Microsoft, Azure, Google and other cloud deployments. Our comprehensive cloud spend assessment, leveraging the best-in-class cloud usage optimization platforms, delivers an in-depth look at a business’ cloud environment and usage trends, as well as cost and performance improvement opportunities, usage insights and reserved instance planning recommendations. We draw on a long and proven track record in cloud architecture, strategic sourcing and cost optimization to help businesses create a comprehensive cloud spend optimization strategy.


To schedule your free Cloud Spend Assessment with Advocate, click here.

1 RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Report