Cloud computing and cloud management services are not just any terms per service. They are accompanied by a gamut of benefits and challenges at the same time, some not even known to the user. Cloud services will most often highlight the positives, but businesses should also know about the impact it may have on businesses. Cloud computing offers businesses an affordable way to obtain the software and the services they need, if not used properly, they can also lead to what one calls- cloud waste. In other words, cloud waste occurs when more cloud resources are consumed than what your businesses actually need.

Technically, cloud waste hurts the bottom lines that erode the businesses’ return on assets, return on equity and the net revenue. It is not just corrosive for businesses but also hurts cloud providers real bad. Cloud management is more profitable for them as they can oversubscribe their data centers. However, when they cannot oversubscribe, they have to build more data centers than they need to, which is a very expensive affair. This, apparently, may not seem to be affecting the users, but cloud providers are charging them an amount that also covers the charge for the loss, which inadvertently becomes costly for consumers.

Cloud Waste and the Future

According to rough 2019 estimates, the number of cloud wastes is staggering. 2019 alone is estimated to have seen losses worth $14.1 billion.  This is expected to only grow when cloud management becomes more pertinent. A study by ParkMyCloud found that about 40% of all cloud development environments are oversized. In fact, they are said to have more computing capacity than is required for the usage they are meant for, which inadvertently leads to cloud waste. It has been observed that a typical cloud system actually utilizes only 4.9% of available CPU on average, indicating that companies may be overestimating their necessity for cloud management.

How Cloud Waste manifest themselves?

  • When VMs are left running, consuming CPU-hr costs and network charges
  • Volumes that are not attached to any of the servers and are incurring monthly $/GB charges
  • Old snapshots of orphaned volumes
  • Old and out-of-date machine images

While the above-mentioned are the most common ways cloud waste happen, there are other means too, which clearly lead to the waste of cloud resources:

Idle Time and Resource: In order to be safe rather than sorry, most companies buy the maximum computing load, not the actual computing load. Numerically, while companies are paying for 100% of the load capacity, they are only using 5% of the entire volume that has been bought. This has been observed in storage, memory, network and even software licenses. Development companies are the best example of such an environment. Once an app has been released, the DevOps teams may keep both the test and the development environments running, even if they are no longer needed. These wasted resources consume processing, storage, network, and memory capacity at the expense. Due to the inefficiency of management, a company spends more money getting new resources rather than reusing the idle infrastructure.

Excessive Centralization: Companies choose to centralize all their data in a single data center.  They also prefer high-grade infrastructure and costly equipment blades such as server blades, SANs (storage area networks), prime network equipment, state-of-art virtualization software and more. This not only increases the cost to the company but also increases the risk of getting an oversized infrastructure. Another issue is when employees and customers access cloud services from different locations at different times. When they have a single data center, they may boost the infrastructure capacity to handle peak loads on all cloud services at a time.

How to Avoid Cloud Waste?

Consider Distributed Computing: Distributed computing, which is also known as fog computing, allows the distribution of computing loads more evenly across multiple, geographically-distinct data centers. Companies especially can avoid expanding their infrastructure across multiple branches across continents and countries.

Gauging Capacity and Buying: Companies should not overestimate their requirements. They should gauge their requirements properly and pay for the right amount of resources required. Companies should find ways to identify and reuse idle capacity, avoiding overbuying cloud computing resources.

Run only what is Necessary: Companies should calculate the unused development environments, track the used and the unused resources and the idle CPU time. Necessary requirements are required to minimize cloud waste.

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