Getting on top of spiraling cloud costs

Cloud dollars

Cloud computing has revolutionized the way organizations operate, enabling scalability and helping businesses remain agile in ever-changing landscapes. However, what may have originally been touted as a cost-saving solution has become increasingly difficult to manage. 

Hyperscaler cloud services have the potential to offer huge cost savings due to their economies of scale. However, these savings may not always be passed down to customers. Moreover, the opaque pricing models of the larger service providers make the accurate estimation of costs difficult. The ease of provisioning resources in the cloud can also lead to significant overspending if not properly managed. Yet there are a variety of methods that can help cloud users better manage their increasing costs. Through the correct management, users can both reduce their cloud spend and better anticipate their monthly bill. 

Understanding the hidden drivers of cloud cost:

The first step towards addressing spiraling cloud costs is gaining a comprehensive understanding of the factors that contribute to them. There are three common areas that risk increasing a cloud bill; compute, network, and Kubernetes. 

There is a common misconception that when compute is deleted, its volume is automatically removed. This is not always the case, and users need to be proactive in making sure that there are no limbo volumes remaining after the resource has been deleted. 

Network charges can increase significantly due to the costs associated with every IP address. A service provider will charge for deleted reserved IPs or any deleted instance with a remaining reserved IP. Again, it is the same story with data transfers between cloud services and regions, as while they can be expensive, these costs are not always visible on pricing calculators. 

When using Kubernetes, users have to be diligent. Even if workloads and nodes are not being run, users can still be charged for the control plane charge, making the overprovisioning of nodes very costly. 

As companies expand their cloud footprint and leverage additional services, it becomes increasingly challenging to manage expenses effectively. By analyzing cost drivers and being aware of instances in which costs are not so obvious, businesses can identify areas where optimization efforts need to be focused. 

Implementing Effective Cost Optimization Strategies:

In tackling spiraling cloud costs, organizations must adopt an array of proactive measures that account for the needs of the business and focuses on efficiency. Here are several strategies to consider:

Continuous Monitoring:

Implementing robust monitoring tools and cloud cost management platforms is crucial to gaining visibility into resource usage patterns. One such tool is Komiser, which is a provider-agnostic open-source cloud resource manager.  Continuous monitoring allows for the identification of idle or underutilized resources, and with real-time insights, businesses can make decisions regarding areas of overspending or of minimal use.

Rightsizing and Resource Management:

Rightsizing involves matching cloud resources to the actual requirements of applications and workloads. By analyzing usage patterns and performance metrics, companies can determine the appropriate resource allocation, avoiding unnecessary overspending on overprovisioned instances.

Automation and Scalability:

Leveraging automation tools and practices help streamline cloud operations and lower costs. Automated provisioning and de-provisioning of resources, along with dynamic scaling based on workload demands, ensure optimal resource utilization. Cloud-native technologies like containers and serverless computing further enhance scalability and cost efficiency by allowing cloud customers to pay for resources only when needed.


Implementing effective cost allocation and governance policies is essential to foster accountability and cost awareness across teams. By assigning budgets to specific departments, projects, or users, organizations can promote responsible application of resources. Additionally, establishing governance frameworks that define policies, guidelines, and approval processes helps control cloud spending and prevents unnecessary expenses.

Cloud computing offers immense potential for organizations to develop and scale. However, costs can act as a significant barrier. By implementing a holistic understanding of cost drivers, and a data-driven approach to optimization, companies can foster a culture of improvement and responsibility. These practices are essential for ensuring long-term stability and maximizing the positive impact of cloud computing.

Photo Credit: ImageFlow/Shutterstock

Saiyam Pathak is Field CTO at Civo.

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