True cost optimisation in Microsoft Azure

As more companies look to move to the cloud, solutions that enable remote productivity and reduce the burden of cloud costs will help shape the future of remote and hybrid workforces

Brian Garoutte
By Brian Garoutte on 10 July 2020
True cost optimisation in Microsoft Azure
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Cloud desktops are not a new concept. The technology has been around for years, but for many, Covid-19 presents a new reality. True business continuity needs to enable users to work from anywhere, any device, at any time. For one well prepared MyCloudIT customer, Covid-19 provided an opportunity to help maintain productivity for users and reduce unnecessary Microsoft Azure costs via optimisation.

With 1,000 users dispersed across Southeastern USA, a cloud desktop solution was the perfect fit to deliver a critical line of business software to remote workers during a time of mandated work-from-home orders. Our platform helped deliver a robust, scalable Azure infrastructure in hours and reduced their monthly costs by 30 per cent.

To do this, we first helped the company right-size their virtual machines (VMs). Azure VMs come in many different series, generations and sizes and it is difficult to determine which is right. Since Microsoft continues to release new VM series regularly, it is also important to re-evaluate size versus usage regularly and compare costs for potential reductions. For this specific Azure customer, we were able to provide valuable metrics and recommendations to ensure proper sizing of VMs, which resulted in a reduction in resources and cost.

Auto-scaling ensures that only the necessary VMs are running at any given time based on user demand. A proper auto-scaling strategy ensures that performance is never sacrificed for cost, but most VMs can be stopped automatically during off-hours. In the case of this partner, auto-scaling provided a 50 per cent reduction in VM usage versus an always-on approach.

For most savvy Azure customers, Reserved Instances and Azure Hybrid Benefits (AHBs) are not new. However, they are often misapplied. As a general summary, Reserved Instances lock in reduced compute costs and AHBs eliminate the hourly costs of operating systems for Windows Server and SQL licensing. It takes proper analysis and planning to ensure both strategies are applied appropriately based on actual usage metrics and available purchase options for licensing. We analysed the Reserved Instance and AHB strategy for the customer and applied this on top of its right-sized VMs and auto-scaling to provide an overall cost saving of 30 per cent. 

By leveraging the MyCloudIT platform during the Covid-19 pandemic, we were able to save our customers hundreds of thousands of dollars while maintaining high-performing connectivity to users working from home. 

Brian Garoutte is the CEO of MyCloudIT

This article was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.

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