How to monitor and optimize Google cloud costs

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According to a Gartner report, more than 70% of companies have migrated at least some of their workload to public cloud, and this momentum is only expected to increase in the coming future. Enterprises are preferring cloud technologies due to the several advantages that it offers – ease of installation, easy management and cost effectiveness, to name a few. Most companies today are moving to cloud native solutions to reduce maintenance efforts on their infrastructure and reduce cost. However, cloud data management and optimizing the cost of cloud computing is an ongoing challenge. If the billing performance is not monitored or the services that it is running on are not kept in check, it can end up incurring unnecessary and inefficient business costs.

While the benefits of cloud are apparent, the types of cloud architectures, in particular, can be pretty confusing for companies that are new to adoption. For instance, the difference between multi-cloud and the hybrid cloud can baffle companies because both terms are often changed interchangeably. It’s important to note that both these architectures differ in purpose and definition and have a few critical dissimilarities that can be critical to understanding several companies.

Multi-Cloud vs Hybrid Cloud – The Key Differences

Both these terms refer to enterprise cloud deployments involving the integration of more than one cloud platform. There is also a significant difference in the infrastructure setup that these cloud deployments have.

With a multi-cloud architecture, an organization has the liberty to leverage multiple cloud services delivered by multiple providers. In this setup, multiple cloud solutions are often aligned to multiple processes to drive best-of-breed results and reduce cases of vendor lock-in. For instance, the needs of the sales and finance function are often starkly different from the needs that an R&D function would have. And, it is here where a multi-cloud setup can help companies drive efficiencies by aligning standalone cloud solutions to meet process-specific requirements more effectively.

This model allows companies to reduce dependencies on a single cloud provider. That way, it becomes easier to control costs and enhance operational flexibility. Multi-cloud strategies across organizations often include a combination of multi-public cloud vendor platforms such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and IBM. On the other hand, the hybrid cloud also combines public and private clouds for the same purpose, but it differs from multi-cloud on the following grounds:

  • Hybrid cloud deployments leverage public and private clouds. However, the deployment strategy of multi-cloud involves multiple public clouds and virtual and physical cloud infrastructure in private clouds.
  • In a multi-cloud infrastructure, separate cloud services are aligned to separate processes. In a hybrid cloud setup, however, the components typically work in unison.

The Benefits of Multi-Cloud Infrastructure

Though the benefits of the cloud are tangible irrespective of the infrastructure that a company embraces, several aspects make a multi-cloud setup beneficial in the long run. According to Gartner, more than 75% of mid-sized to large organizations will have adopted a multi-cloud strategy by the end of 2021. Now, some key factors have resulted in this increased push for multi-cloud adoption, such as:

1. The Liberty to Opt for Services from Multiple Vendors

Companies cannot expect to get the best-of-breed cloud services from a single vendor. It is here where multi-cloud adoption can help them select the best services for specific requirements from multiple vendors. For instance, a company might go with a particular cloud vendor to run fully managed (PaaS) workloads but leverage a different cloud provider’s robust AI and ML services to drive standalone analytics initiatives within processes. A multi-cloud infrastructure infuses flexibility in the cloud infrastructure, allowing companies to optimize their analytics workloads better. Data analytics involves a meticulous data engineering process such as data discovery, data integration, data processing, data warehousing, and more. Shifting to a multi-cloud infrastructure provides a company with the opportunity to select specific cloud tools to manage each of these processes.

2. Negate the Risks of Vendor Lock-In

A multi-cloud infrastructure allows companies to opt for cloud services from multiple vendors and helps distribute workloads on multiple cloud platforms depending on requirements while reducing vendor dependency. With multi-cloud, companies have the option to migrate to a different cloud service provider depending on changes in strategy, pricing models, or service level agreements (SLAs).

3. Enhanced Network Performance

By allowing companies to extend their networks to multiple cloud providers, a multi-cloud infrastructure leverages fast and low-latency connections to enhance application response times and deliver a satisfactory user experience. In this setup, companies can opt for cloud services from a provider based on their proximity to the provider regions for maximum speed and network uptime.

4. Infrastructure Resiliency and RobustDisaster Recovery Mechanism

Multi-cloud environments make it easier for companies to allocate redundant workloads across different cloud platforms to manage disaster recovery effectively. In a multi-cloud setup, companies can create workload replicas across two or three cloud platforms. During downtime, anyone of these replicas can continue to function.

5. Data Sovereignty

A multi-cloud setup makes it easier for companies to comply with data sovereignty laws and regulations because it allows data storage within the same country or region from where it was collated.

The Challenges of a Multi-Cloud Environment

While the benefits offered by a multi-cloud environment make it a compelling proposition for companies looking to operate a diverse range of applications, a multi-cloud strategy can turn out to be highly complex if not properly managed. Multi-cloud environments come with some inherent challenges that companies need to be prepared for. For instance:

1. Escalating Costs

With multiple cloud providers, companies may find it challenging to manage ad-hoc service costs, subscription costs, etc. Cloud services providers often come with distinct billing and subscription models that can become too complex to manage. Without proper cost management and consumption plan, companies may lose a significant amount of money due to wasted resources.

2. Complex Management

In a multi-cloud environment, companies need to monitor application setup and configuration across diverse cloud platforms constantly. Managing applications, especially when application components are stored in different clouds and workloads are scattered across cloud resources, can be challenging. Big data management and operating a data pipeline in the best of circumstances where data sources are scattered remains an arduous task for many companies. Now, when data teams are asked to maintain data pipelines in an environment where huge clusters of constantly changing diverse data sets across multiple clouds and on-prem platforms, this essentially becomes a nightmare. To ensure that a multi-cloud infrastructure performs to its full potential, companies need to train IT adequately staff about all the cloud platforms implemented and create necessary integration channels wherever required. Ultimately successful management of multi-cloud infrastructure boils down to how well a company evaluates the key attributes of the cloud solutions at its disposal and aligns the same to serve specific needs.

Suggested readings

How to monitor and optimize Google cloud costs

Best Practices for Adopting Multi-Cloud Strategy in your Organization

ETL on Cloud: How is cloud Transforming ETL for Big Data Analytics

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