Often, users who want to host their projects on a physical server face a high-cost problem. Many companies cannot afford to buy equipment for information storage and management, so they choose to rent. Such an approach opens many opportunities. It provides a variety of options that become available to you remotely. Except for hardware, you can use software products; plus, pick what 100% suits your business needs.
Cloud computing will serve you best if you want to launch a big website or a complex mobile app. However, to gain the most out of it, you should use it wisely. This post will talk about cloud services and advice on how not to overpay for them. Read ahead if you want to get financial advantages both in short-term tasks and in long-term prospects.
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing is the provision of computing services over the Internet – “the cloud.” These services represent a complete ecosystem for hosting and maintaining apps and websites of any type and complexity. They include servers, storage, databases, networks, software, analytics, and data mining. Thanks to them, you can be super flexible in choosing the technological base for a running project. You yourself decide what to pick up and what to pay for. This way, you scale resources as business needs change and cut operating costs.
Working in the cloud implies renting servers and all related technologies to support the project from an outside agency. The cloud provider takes care of technical details needed to ensure a stable work or your app or website. Computer clouding frees the owners from dealing with related matters and helps focus on more strategic problems. Companies can quickly access computer power without making a huge upfront investment. Thus, they get what they need in shorter terms for less money.
What are the benefits of cloud computing?
There are a few reasons that motivate enterprises to migrate to the cloud. First of all, they look for a business model responsive to changes in the IT world. A growing number of digital solutions make data storage more advanced and expensive. The cloud allows owners to use cutting-edge technologies right away and evolve with changes in the sector.
Here is how organizations benefit from switching to cloud computing.
Cloud computing obviates the need for buying specific hardware and software. The owners don’t have to rig up on-prem data centers and 24/7 electricity for power and cooling. Besides, there is no need to hire staff to control the infrastructure. Of course, all of the above does not come for free from providers. Yet, if you know the tips and tricks, you won’t overpay.
Imagine that you started your business from a humble site, which later grew into a vast marketplace. While it is growing, you need to maintain site operation: make sure it does not slow down or crash due to visitors’ inflow. It is rather challenging with a self-hosted site: you need to keep an eye on the equipment state and update it shortly. Things are easier with the cloud – you can grow or narrow down your business by paying for the resources you need.
Cloud providers offer state-of-the-art toolset available right away. Their equipment is regularly updated to the latest generation. Hence, you are guaranteed to have the robust computing power and run your app in the most advanced infrastructure. This isn’t easy to achieve if you host locally, because you yourself will have to keep track of innovations and update hardware.
Cloud systems use sophisticated encryption techniques that securely protect data. The protection technology is built from many layers, so it is almost impossible to hack it. Of course, any system is in some way vulnerable. Yet, in the case of cloud computing, the risk is minimal. Potential attackers would need enormous processing resources, forensic software, and loads of time to reach the data.
Self-service and on-demand cloud computing tools give owners great flexibility in decision making. When there is a need to increase resources, you can do it in a few clicks. Such an approach frees companies from the necessity to plan load and schedule production nodes. Thus, they can concentrate on business-specific goals while being sure of the technical set-up
What are the types of cloud computing and top providers?
Before we highlight the top providers, let’s get clear that cloud computing is divided into three main categories. They are:
Software as a Service (SaaS). This model implies using software developed by someone else. Examples of such software are email, storage services, shared workplaces, and others.
Platform as a Service (PaaS). With this model, businesses access servers or databases. The client manages the apps; the provider manages the operating system.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Such a model gives owners the widest variety of options. It allows renting a complete IT infrastructure, including virtual servers and a virtual network, where the client can install any software and apps.
Gartner Magic Quadrant says AWS is an absolute leader in provisioning cloud services. The second and third places are occupied by Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud respectively.
Let’s review in detail the top three. The table below illustrates the main services, regional coverage, and the market share of the biggest cloud providers.
Why we choose AWS
At Softensy, we work with enterprise-level apps and corporate clients, mainly banks and financial institutions. To ensure stable app work, we choose AWS. The project we migrated to the AWS cloud is the mobile banking Ecobank. Even though other providers offer similar services, we trust our projects to Amazon for several reasons.
Vast experience. Amazon is the most experienced player with a long history and developed ecosystem. Its data centers are located worldwide, so no matter where you are, you can be sure of your app’s stable operation.
High capacity. Amazon never stops investing in its servers and developing its technical base. According to UpGuard, the power of AWS servers is six times more than that of competitors, so they are suitable for really complex apps.
Latest innovations. Amazon is working on expanding the range of its services, introducing the latest innovations and trends. Their services cover game tech, AI and ML, Satelite, robotics, quantum technologies, and IoT.
Safe storage. Amazon S3 takes industrial leadership in storage indicators. The reliability level reaches 99.999999999%. You can use admin tools to arrange your data and assign roles with different access rights to suit your business or regulatory needs.
Flexible prices. If you compare AWS vs. Azure vs. Google Cloud, you won’t find a direct answer to which one is cheaper as the fee depends on the chosen combination of services. Yet, Amazon gives excellent flexibility in this matter. In the next section, we’ll see how you can get more and pay less with AWS.
How not to overpay for AWS services
The official AWS page indicates pricing for various services and enterprise sizes. If you click it for the first time, you may get lost in the variety of offers. Indeed, there are proposals for every taste and budget. At Softensy, we’ve been working with Amazon for a long time and have a strong experience running big and small projects in their infrastructure. Further, we want to share our expertise and show how to make the most effective use of AWS products.
Before starting a project, you need to calculate everything carefully. To do this, you can use a special AWS calculator. It will help you understand how much a migration or business expansion will cost. You can also enter the minimum requirements and get the best tips for practical cloud usage. For maximum savings, check the prices for different regions and see how they can vary.
Use free trial
A free trial is a handy option that allows you to test the services and decide if they work for you. Moreover, Amazon offers permanently free tariffs for small and medium projects which consume a limited number of resources. To see the available options for your business line, simply use the filters by type of activity on the AWS page. In most cases, you will e offered with three start plans. You can choose one, depending on the goals you want to achieve:
- Always free
- 12 months free
- Trial access
Deactivate unused services
When you apply for a particular service, it is regarded as active until you indicate the opposite. Therefore, as soon as you stop using some tools, immediately disable them. Also, do not forget to set up notifications if the account exceeds the defined amount. This will enable the system to inform you at the very moment you go into the red.
Rent long-term services
This is only true for long-term projects that are to run for 1,2,3 years or more. You can buy servers for a long time, and it will be cheaper than paying for every short period. Also, pay attention to the AWS savings plan. It allows using a certain amount of computing power (measured in USD / hour) for one or three years. You can access performance reports and account alerts in AWS Cost Explorer, making management much easier.
If you have services that are used at a specific time, adjust a scheduled launch. For example, if you make reports at 00:00 and it takes about three hours, switch on at 23:50 and switch off at 3:50. Remember, the fee is charged for one hour, even if you use 15 minutes.
You can remove unused disks if you have some but don’t forget to snapshot before deleting. The snapshot will help you return the system to its original working state if required. It should not be confused with the backup. The latter is not enough since it only creates copies of individual files, while snapshots can restore the entire system. You can delete snapshots if they have not been used for more than 2-3 years.
Revise resources in use
After you make any changes to the project infrastructure, make sure no idle resources are left. For example, if you use temporary load balancers or elastic IP to test a new network configuration, remember to turn them off after you finish testing. Also, review all the instances when you close the project and deactivate the live ones.
Sort out data
In the process of launching and maintaining your project, you will work with different types of data, such as general-purpose data, rarely accessed data, archived data, local data, and so on. In order not to overpay for storage, select the appropriate storage class for each data type. You can read more about AWS Storage classes on the Amazon official website.
About 90% of companies operate in the cloud. This is because cloud providers give high-tech equipment and a developed IT ecosystem eliminating the necessity to invest in your own data centers. At present, there are three major players in the cloud market. At Softensy, we work with AWS. Our experience proves the reliability of its system for running projects of any complexity. If you want to migrate to the cloud, consider ASW, and remember to use our tips and trick for extra savings. If you need expert help in setting up a cloud environment, get in touch. We’ll be happy to assist.