How To Stay in Control of Cloud Costs

This is a guest post written and contributed by J.R. Storment, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer of Cloudability, a Rackspace Cloud Tools Partner. Cloudability helps businesses easily manage all their cloud spending, stop overages, and save money.

The Rackspace Cloud is awesome.  It gives you almost limitless scalability to handle growth and frees you from making huge capital expenditures in order to expand your business.

However, with all this great power, comes great responsibility.  That very scalable nature of cloud architecture provides lots of opportunities for the bill to get away from you.  It used to be that you had a pretty good idea of what your bill was going to be at the end of the month, now it’s often a surprise.

Fast Times, Big Bills On The Cloud

We’ve seen some monster overages due to everything from human error to spammers to bad API usage:

1. One small business fired up 50 extra servers on a Thursday for a project and was distracted a few hours later by an unrelated crisis.  They pulled an all-nighter to fix the problem then went home for the weekend.  They returned on Monday, remembered the servers and started the week with a totally unnecessary $5,000 bill.

2. Another small business accidentally enabled uploading of full-length videos for trial users of their video platform app.  Spammers in Japan and Russia found the bug, uploaded multiple GBs of anime and streamed 80TB of bandwidth in just three days. That bill: $20,000.

3. A third larger business had built an autoscaler to automatically turn on test servers in large batches using an API.  Unfortunately a glitch prevented the autoscaler from destroying those instances.  Over the course of the next month, the exponentially expanding number of servers ran up a $120,000 overage.

Billing horror stories aside, many businesses on the cloud lack basic visibility into their evolving costs.  Frankly, you don’t have the time to login every day to check on your bill.  As a result, small businesses with finite budgets are being caught off guard by their bill at the end of the month.  At larger companies, CFOs and CIOs struggle to regain control of organizational IT spending.

Getting Control Of Your Cloud Costs

We built Cloudability to solve these problems.  Setup takes just a few minutes and we’ll even pull billing data from multiple Rackspace Cloud accounts at once.

– We send our customers a daily email of their spending across all their accounts and services (even third-party SaaS services).

– We alert you to any spikes or sudden changes in your spending as they happens.

– There’s also an API to pull down your Rackspace Cloud cost and billing data into your own app or accounting software.

– Our dashboard provides visual trending of spending over time, provides an interactive spreadsheet of costs across all your accounts, and lets you set budget limits.

If you spend less than $2,500 per month on the cloud, Cloudability is free.  Get started managing your cloud costs now.

Bob Bardwell worked in Rackspace Corporate Development; his background includes financial statement and single audits. He enjoys golf, geopolitics, and networking.



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