Delivering the best, most efficient managed IT services requires more than choosing the right software.
You also need to monitor your software for cost optimization.
Software monitoring falls into several categories.
First, there is uptime and quality-of-service monitoring, which involves scanning for anomalies or disruptions that could lead to downtime or poor service.
Second, there is security monitoring, which is important for detecting security vulnerabilities and breaches.
There is also application performance monitoring, or APM, which developers and admins use to help ensure that software runs as efficiently as possible.
Last but not least, there is cost monitoring.
Cost monitoring helps you to ensure that you are not paying for services or resources that are not necessary.
How Cost Monitoring Works
Cost monitoring improves cost efficiency by identifying resources that you are paying for but not fully using.
For example, you may be running virtual servers in the cloud whose load never exceeds 50 percent of capacity.
In that case, you could consolidate your servers or switch to a less expensive type of server instance.
Such a change would lower your cloud hosting costs without sacrificing performance.
Of course, the tricky thing when optimizing for costs is to ensure that you leave yourself enough spare capacity to handle unexpected spikes in demand for a service without paying for more reserve than you need.
This is why cost monitoring can get complicated.
You need an analytics-based approach to do it right.
Why Cost Monitoring Matters
Uptime monitoring, security scanning and APM are common parts of most software delivery operations.
There are plenty of open source and commercial tools available for these types of monitoring, like Nagios, Zabbix, Pingdom, PagerDuty and VictorOPs, to name just a few solutions.
Cost monitoring, however, is easier to overlook because fewer tools cater to this market.
You can also use billing reports from cloud hosts like AWS and Azure to get a sense of how efficiently you're using your infrastructure -- although those reports don't offer direct recommendations for optimizing your costs (after all, cloud providers don't have incentive to help you pay less for their services).
Cost monitoring solutions exist, but you have to seek them out more than you would other types of monitoring tools.
The time it takes to find the right cost monitoring tools, and to act on the insights they provide, is worth it.
You'll save lots of money in the long run (especially if you make extensive use of the cloud) without compromising the reliability of your services.