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It is overdue to write about the virtue of saving money with public cloud. Frequently, I read articles and opinion pieces stating that public cloud is expensive and I am blown away by the reasoning. So time to explain how you can truly save money via public cloud. And how sometimes public cloud can be more expensive: but only if you “miss treat” public cloud and “rob the piggy bank”. - Let me start with the piggy bank and then I will shift over to cloud.
Not sure how common piggy banks are these days still. I grew up with them and my kids also still had a piggy bank. And did it help me save money? Yes, at times, but not always. Here are their flaws:
For quick wrap of my personal savings story: I was a terrible saver when young, but then when I set myself savings goals with a dream purchase, saving started working for me. Therefore, a piggy bank may or may not help you to save money; and that is exactly how public cloud is, but let’s not get too far ahead here.
Well, from the intro you know my opinion and experience that public cloud saves you money. Nevertheless, it can easily go the other way and here is why:
Public cloud makes it so easy to provision and consume resources. This is a key advantage of public cloud. Time, effort and cost spent with procuring infrastructure, deploying it within your data center and then maintaining it (remember space, power and cooling on top of resource cost) are all gone. – In many comparisons, the fully loaded maintenance cost block is not properly considered.
But saving on the management and operational cost of datacenters is only where the savings begin. Let’s look at the most meaningful sources for savings.
Traditionally, production systems are always sized with the growth of the next three to five years in mind. Hence, it is common to buy a system that is twice the size of today’s needs.
On public cloud, due to the ability to scale as needed, this is not the right approach. Nevertheless, we frequently see companies that apply traditional sizing methods to public cloud. Here a concrete customer example from the medical equipment space:
The medical company needed an SAP HANA with a size of 208 GB per the SAP Quick Sizer tool. In response, our sizing proposed a 244 GB instance on public cloud while all competitors sized this traditionally with a system of around 500 GB, so a factor of 2.5 of the required size per already careful SAP recommendation. This is too big and hence expensive.
With Ocean9, we always provision what is needed today and scaling up, out or down is a matter of minutes without the need for expensive cloud experts.
Mostly applicable to non-production development and test workloads, but also to certain types of production workloads; consider small and medium sized companies that only operate in a single time zone and local markets or productive optimization workloads that are run in-frequently. Examples are Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) or logistics re-scheduling during bad weather.
Savings potential with turning workloads off is enormous. But you may think to yourself:
“Now I have to remember to turn them off!”
Turning workloads of manually may be error prone:
At Ocean9, we have automated graceful shut down of and restart of all the workloads under management. We follow both start/stop schedules as well as detect idling resources that we then start down.
Lifting and shifting on-premise workloads to public cloud is a common first step to migrate into the new world. It is not a bad one, but again leaves savings on the table. Public cloud with its myriad of services truly invites its users to rethink all existing practices and approaches. That is at least what we do at Ocean9.
As a result, we are able to provide high availability with a KPI of 99.5% in a cost neutral fashion. And we can increase this KPI during critical business seasons to 99.95% and even 99.99%. This would not be cost neutral anymore for the higher KPIs. Still, having the flexibility to run higher uptime KPIs only for parts of the year is a huge source of savings.
Plus, we are able to provide true cross region disaster recovery in an almost cost neutral fashion, without permanently running redundant infrastructure in the recovery datacenter.
Public cloud providers offer multiple pricing models, typically tied to the consumption pattern and timeline for a workload. This is something that is handled between the public cloud provider and the end customer and requires case by case evaluation and optimization. Overseeing this step however will cost you significantly.
See this example from our HANA Configurator on how we break down the AWS consumption models for an SAP HANA workload. If you would attempt to calculate this manually, it would cost you significant time and effort again.
Lastly, like in the piggy bank example, you need to manage cloud use and consumption in an ongoing fashion. At times, your cloud bill will go up and if there are good reasons, like a growing number of concurrent cloud projects that are close to go-live, growing consumption may be ok.
But if your consumption does not correlate with deliverables and business objectives and is driven by the ease of deploying resources, you may want to intervene. Key requirement is to understand who deployed what kind of resources at what time, ideally summarized in a way that it corresponds with your enterprise workloads and not just granular cloud service consumption.
At Ocean9 we govern all activities on our platform. We always can easily analyze consumption patterns as well as project or users that drove them. - And while we do not believe in overly forceful control and governance, just like in the piggy bank example upfront, you need to know behavioral patterns of your team to start building sensible governance and control.
The time for smart public cloud adoption for your SAP workloads is NOW. Ocean9 can provide you with highly streamlined deployment and operations environment that makes your life easy, PLUS saves you money.
In turn, the time and effort you can save on deploying core SAP capabilities you can immediately invest into company innovation. Ideally on the same public cloud and as an extension to your Ocean9 environments. Nothing beats full system level access to all your cloud resources as provided by Ocean9. And this is truly different compared to other providers … and will be the topic of a future blog.