Cloud Pricing Tips to Help Clear Up Confusion About Cloud Costs

If you are using multiple cloud services from multiple providers and have looked at ways to reduce cloud costs, you will no doubt have been confused by the different terminology used by each provider and differences in cloud pricing models, so here are some cloud pricing tips to help you get a better return on your investment in the cloud and shave money off your bills.

Cloud Pricing Tips to Help You Save Money

Various surveys on cloud usage have revealed the number one priority for businesses as far as cloud computing is concerned is how to reduce costs. The cloud offers many advantages over on-premise IT, including the opportunity to cut costs, but most businesses end up spending far more than they need to and are not getting a particularly good return on their investment.

One of the main reasons for this is cloud pricing is confusing. Cloud service providers are creating problems for users in a number of ways. These areas of confusion have been explained by Chris Parlette, Director of Cloud Solutions at ParkMyCloud in a recent video. Chris offers useful cloud pricing tips to help make sense of cloud pricing.

How Cloud Providers Make Life Difficult

There are many ways that cloud providers are making life difficult and why cloud pricing is so confusing.

Confusing Terminology

Comparing the services of different providers is difficult. Services and features are called different things by different providers. If you really want to compare the costs and choose the best priced solution, you need to be comparing apples with apples but that is not straightforward. For example Instances, VMs, and VM instances are essentially the same, only the provider is different. The same goes for on-demand resources, sustained use payment options, and pay-as-you go.

Variable overload

There is a myriad of different price points and a multitude of variables. Even one compute instance can have different pricing models based on use, generation, size, operating system, network, disc space, and region… the list goes on and on.

Troublesome dashboards

Cloud services providers use different dashboards. A common denominator is it is usually hard to find the information you need. Even determining something simple as how much you have spent can be surprisingly difficult. Many businesses have discovered they are actually overspending on their cloud resources, when they didn’t realize they were actually spending anything.

Time-based pricing

Cost overruns are common, which is partly due to a misunderstanding of time-based pricing. It is easy to miscalculate how much will actually be spent over the course of a month. The cost may appear low at a fraction of a cent per hour, but actual usage of multiple resources over the course of a month can result in surprisingly high costs. The costs per second, minute, or hour are not equivalent, and you are only likely to find that out at the end of the month when you get your bill.

Price changes

Cloud providers are constantly changing prices, and while there has been a recent downward trend in cloud costs as competition has increased, that may not always be the case. It is therefore difficult to plan and budget for future cloud costs. Amazon has changed prices over 60 times already. Further, many users are not aware when prices change.

Difficult to implement cost saving options

Cloud service providers want to keep you as a customer and one of the ways they do this is by offering cost saving opportunities; however, those options can be confusing and difficult to implement. Applying these options often requires advanced knowledge and familiarity with several internal tools.

Services are billed differently

There are many different cloud services on offer and they are all billed differently. The more you use the cloud, the more confusing the pricing and billing becomes and the harder it can be to determine how much you are spending, on what, and where savings can be made.

What is the Solution?

How is it possible to take full advantage of the cloud and ensure you get the best possible return on your investment, when cloud pricing is so confusing? Here are some cloud pricing tips and tricks to help you out.

  • One of the most important steps to take is to get a single view of all of your cloud billing. You could do this yourself or use external tools to do this. Unless you have all the information you need, you will not have a clear view of what you are spending
  • Make sure you understand how you are being billed for your services and how you are using resources
  • Make sure you close down resources that you are not using
  • Do not oversize resources and end up paying for capacity that will never be used
  • Plan in advance and determine exactly how many resources you will need, factor in growth, and keep revisiting your plan to update it as usage changes
  • Put limits in place for different users and departments, to restrict the regions that can be used and the functions that can be accessed. Keep tight control of your cloud instances.

Author: Richard Anderson

Richard Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief of