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Saving Cloud Costs

Posted at — Oct 27, 2021 by Abishek Muthian

Cloud infrastructure costs form the significant part of the operational costs of our Internet product and if you're a solopreneur then it likely takes the largest chunk.

Here are some tips and tricks to save cloud costs which I've learnt over the years.

Budget

One of the easiest way a fledgling entrepreneur can blow up the cloud costs without even realizing it is by not setting the budget limit on the dashboard of their cloud infrastructure provider .

We can set a reasonable budget based on our estimated usage of resources and we'd be intimated when the billing costs are over that threshold.

We can also set a withdraw limit on our credit/debit card through our bank website as a secondary layer of prevention from unexpected cost overruns like for when the cloud providers charges us for $46 Billion .

Free Resources

Major cloud providers have two kinds of free resources, One which are available during the trial period when we first sign-up, startup credits etc. like low-tier instances and the other which are always-free for certain number requests/month e.g. cloud functions, managed services etc.

Though the always-free generally do not include instances, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure(OCI) begs to differ by offering 2 x86 compute units and 4 Arm based compute unites with up to 24 GB memory !

But OCI is rife with quirks and getting access to those sweet always-free instances could be tricky, But I've got you covered; Checkout the quirks and tricks for getting access to OCI instances on my personal blog .

Such always-free resources can be used effectively to bring down the cloud costs when validating MVPs or while scaling up.

Diversification

Diversifying the usage of resources across different cloud providers can not only save costs but could also prevent downtime for our products if a cloud provider is down.

e.g.

Backups are usually charged exorbitantly by the cloud providers since backups are quintessential for safeguarding our data. Storing our backups on different cloud provider can help us reduce backup costs to a great extent.

Egress bandwidth for object storage is another such area where cloud providers have typically charged exorbitant fees , Newer entrant to object storage services like Cloudflare R2 has promised to do away with egress fees completely.

Storage

There are several ways cloud storage costs could go out of control, Here I detail one such often ignored mechanism which increases storage costs.

When we use managed services for deployment then the cloud provider would store previous releases for aiding roll-back which depending upon our release cycles and expiry of previous releases could put a deep hole in the pocket due the increasing deployment data size.

Limiting the number of previous releases to kept can resolve this.

Architecture

Designing the application architecture with reducing the cloud infrastructure costs as one of the goals can help us manage the cloud costs efficiently.

Every aspect of the application architecture from database to the choice of programming language can affect the scalability and thereby the cloud costs.

I've found that choosing languages which offer native concurrency like Go has directly reduced the instances needed for horizontal scaling as single instance could handle more number of users when compared to Node.js or Python.

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