How AWS Helps MSPs Deliver Well-Designed Clouds
… that customers select compute resources that are too large for their needs. One customer we worked with had set up its own cloud environment using a couple of large instances. We changed this so that the workload was spread across many smaller instances and across different availability zones. This not only saved the company more than 20% on monthly consumption bills, but it also lowered their risk in the event of outages. Here are some tips:
- Purchase only what you will use: Most companies have general ideas about demand and downtime with each application, but making assumptions isn’t accurate enough. The MSP will need to load-test the customer environment to get a better read on requirements. Using AWS Auto Scaling is another smart step; the customer can set thresholds for performance so that when demand changes, cloud resources automatically scale up or down accordingly. This way, customers pay only for the resources they use and nothing more. Reserve instances are another strategy for cost savings, allowing the customer to purchase one or three years of infrastructure ahead of time at a discounted price. However, with reserve instances, you’re locked in, which isn’t great if you wind up needing significantly less infrastructure than you had purchased. As a result, spot instances are a more popular choice.
- Monitoring: AWS Cost Explorer provides usage and cost trend data to help customers optimize spending and predict future costs. Most customers use CloudWatch for overall infrastructure monitoring, but it’s also helpful to manage resource utilization. CloudCheckr is a third-party tool that can discover cloud resources which are hidden or being underutilized. That’s critical in these times of shadow IT, which can account for up to 10% to 20% of cloud spending. Without central IT governance and management of the cloud environment, companies are certain to overspend, along with introducing unneeded security risks to the business.
Operations: Monitoring and visibility tools, as mentioned above, are taking a lot of the grunt work out of keeping cloud-based systems up and running, according to SLAs. Increasingly, though, IT managers won’t have to learn all these technologies to maintain a high-performing environment. More of this backend work is being offered and delivered efficiently by AWS.
- Operations as Code allows everything to be done in software. For IT operations, this is a game changer, especially regarding automating procedures which reduce the risk of human error. A key AWS service for Operations as Code is CloudFormation. AWS CloudFormation provisions your resources in a safe, repeatable manner, allowing you to build and rebuild your infrastructure and applications without having to perform manual actions or write custom scripts. CloudFormation takes care of determining the right operations to perform when managing your stack and rolls back changes automatically if errors are detected.
- Frequent, small, reversible changes: Changes to your environment traditionally came from bulky releases, which introduce a lot of change to customers at once and can negatively affect the dependent systems and components. AWS recommends an approach to designing systems which uses small, focused components that are highly resistant to failure and are composed together into a single holistic system. This allows organizations to quickly roll out changes and reverse them quickly if needed.
Performance: Monitoring and visibility tools, as mentioned above, are taking a lot of the grunt work out of keeping cloud-based systems up and running, according to SLAs. Increasingly, though, IT managers won’t have to …