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Network Nov 17, 2023

Bringing transparency and optimisation to cloud network costs

By Adrian Comley Senior manager managed network services, BT

As a cloud-centric approach opens up fresh horizons for organisations to succeed, one aspect of multi-cloud operation is becoming increasingly problematic - cost.

Cost optimisation is a huge challenge, made more difficult by inflexible commercials, inconsistent cost modelling across different hyperscalers and pricing structures that may be clear at first glance, but that get more complex upon deeper examination and can hide extra costs.

Leading analysts widely expect cloud usage levels to jump sharply over the next few years, with today’s approximate figure of 20% of all workloads sitting in the cloud growing rapidly to around 60%. Anticipating this, prudent organisations are building a projected view on total cost of ownership to identify and tackle any factors blocking cost optimisation now, so they don’t hold back cloud progress in the longer term.

This process begins with an investigation of what’s behind the current cost pain points in cloud services.

Building in any cloud flexibility is expensive

Whereas cloud operations are all about speed and agility, the long-term contracts that govern cloud services remain rigid and slow to adapt to changing requirements, and lock-in situations are common.

Typically, organisations have to specify their bandwidth requirements at the very beginning of a contract – and then it’s difficult to change that capacity. Lead times for commissioning new circuits or deactivating old ones are long, and the order process is often intensively manual. To get round this, organisations wanting the flexibility to test out new links and locations quickly and easily end up over-provisioning to cover ‘just in case’ scenarios - but can then end up paying for bandwidth that’s sitting idle.

And if an organisation wants to migrate workloads to improve provision, within today’s inflexible structures it can mean having to rip and replace, bringing extra hardware costs and pushing up the total cost of ownership. Understandably, this can put a brake on change and progress.

Bill shock wrecks cost optimisation efforts

The complexity and general lack of transparency around cloud costs means many organisations could experience bill shock. Partly, this stems from how easy it is for different teams to independently purchase hyperscaler services, without oversight from the central IT team. Only when the invoices come in do financial controllers know the extent of cloud usage and costs.

However, the biggest bill shock culprits are the charges to move data out of hyperscaler cloud environments. Many organisations eager to implement a cloud-first approach to new projects rush to upload their data into hyperscalers, without fully considering the impact of any future egress charges for data exiting using the public internet. Again, this can blind-side the IT and finance departments with unexpected costs at the end of the month.

As multi-cloud environments become the norm, delivering better cost visibility, flexibility and control is essential.

Optimise cloud costs with Global Fabric

Optimising costs as you evolve your multi-cloud environments will be a core part of our new global network that’s being built for the fast-changing multi-cloud world. With Global Fabric, you’ll be able to bring together public cloud, private cloud, and everything in between. It’s an end-to-end programmable platform with no lock to specific services, contracts or clouds. It’s already pre-integrated with 630 cloud product and partner services and over 700 data centres worldwide. This commercial flexibility will allow you to pay only for what you need, when you need it. This will free you up to reduce the amount of physical hardware you need, either through multi-tasking with some or by going for complete virtualisation – opening opportunities for cutting capex as well as opex.

You’ll be able to spin connections up or down easily in near real-time to move workloads and optimise opex costs. And alerts when your traffic increases beyond your set thresholds mean you can make informed bandwidth decisions. Our pre-integrated direct connectivity routes into hyperscalers will mean competitive rates and optimised egress costs. Plus, we’ve kept commitment terms for third party inputs to a minimum. Beyond that, there'll be no lock-in to specific clouds, services or contracts, leaving you free to choose the best options for your workloads, with clear performance and pricing information.

And everything will be managed from our Global Fabric app – where you can easily provision services, monitor your network and cloud environments, as well as see all pricing clearly up front.

Whatever your organisation’s needs; we can help.

Visit our dedicated webpage for more information, including our whitepaper and expert blog posts exploring the five transformative benefits of Global Fabric.