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Budget and costs can often be a painful issue. If it’s your case, look through this article, we’ve got some painkillers for you.
Companies all over the world are forced to respond to the COVID-19 disruption and reduce their IT costs. And they are looking for the most efficient ways to do it.
Thanks to the increasing number of cloud services, DevOps practices can help enterprises and tech companies optimize their costs involved in software development, deployment, and maintenance.
As a company that has been delivering DevOps services for many years (25+ successfully completed projects), we have accumulated a number of DevOps best practices for optimizing and reducing IT costs.
These practices allow you to have a clear picture of what resources you are using (Audit), analyze what areas can be optimized and how to do it (Plan), monitor spending of IT costs (Implement), and investigate new services that will help you reduce costs and optimize your infrastructure usage even more (Improve).
Automate the CI/CD process and provisioning of IT infrastructure. This way, developers won’t need to manually manage servers, operating systems, database connections, storage, and other infrastructure elements every time they want to develop, test, or deploy a software application.
Instead, infrastructure and CI/CD pipeline will be prepared and delivered to the development team as a kind of framework (a set of controls, protocols, templates), which can be further extended or adjusted. Using this framework, developers can configure a service with no DevOps involvement and launch a new service within a minute. Also, by using Infrastructure as Code, you can apply the same configuration to a single node or to thousands of nodes, which allows you to avoid huge amounts of rework. This way, developers can focus on more high-value tasks.
When we start working on a new project, and it calls for DevOps expertise, first of all, our DevOps team undertakes the infrastructure audit and planning to understand the needs, potential risks, and opportunities, and devise the most suitable road map.
The solution architecture is also planned and adjusted so that it is compatible with automation, IaaC, and allows for potential scaling.
DevOps team prepares core infrastructure resources ( e.g, configuration, compute resources, etc.) to support the management of the environment for CI/CD pipelines, logging, monitoring, as well as running and delivering services.
Once the infrastructure resources are ready, integration with services starts right away by preparing a pipeline configuration. Also, in most cases, the DevOps team analyzes the requirements and suggests the most suitable approaches to the service delivery, for example via Docker containers or Amazon Lambda ( a serverless approach).
Infrastructure as a Code allows you to use template-based solutions and stop spending precious development time on manually provisioning IT infrastructure. Software engineers are more focused on the development of new features rather than the way they are delivered and deployed. And it allows for saving a lot of time and money.
Analyze project requirements and if it is reasonable, use third-party services that help to reduce operational overhead and save costs.
Each cloud provider (e.g., Azure, AWS, Google Cloud) offers services you can benefit from in the development process.
A good example is Amazon RDS, which offers a managed database service with such great features as multi-regional setup, backup, monitoring, scaling, resilience, and reliability. It would take up a lot of money and time to build such a service from scratch.
However, in most cases, you can take advantage of both approaches. When creating an infrastructure plan, the DevOps team analyzes project requirements and the availability of different third-party services. Then, the team recommends in which cases it is more efficient to use a managed service, and when it is cheaper and more reasonable to build and manage the service on your own.
If the project is already underway, our DevOps team performs an audit of infrastructure resources and services that are being used. After that, if there is a way to reduce costs, they suggest some adjustments or using new services, while taking into account the cost of their integration into the currently used ones.
For example, our team had the following case: a client’s services were running on EC2 instances via the ECS service. However, after we’ve analyzed the service usage patterns, spike periods, and the environment management overhead, we offered the client to replace EC2 instances with Farate, a serverless solution, which doesn’t require managing underlying infrastructure of servers. What’s more, its overall setup is simplified. As a result, the solution has helped the client to save considerable costs.
You start using third-party services, which allow you to reduce operational overhead and save costs.
Reduce infrastructure usage in the areas where it can be reduced, shut down infrastructure resources when they are not used, and launch them again if needed.
In particular cases and when it is reasonable, the DevOps team prepares a solution that allows running cloud infrastructure on demand ( e.g automatically stopping or starting cloud infrastructure whenever you need it). Doing it manually will be highly time-consuming and inefficient.
For example, that is a good practice when launching an environment for a demo purpose ( for two hours, for example, instead of keeping it running the whole time).
Another use case is running a development environment only during the developers’ working hours, instead of using the resources 24/7. This way, you will be able to reduce costs on the development environment by two times.
Also, we can simplify the process and optimize only the most expensive components of infrastructure. This way, some components of the infrastructure are running 24/7, whereas other components run only at specific periods of time when they are needed.
Such a solution is often built on top of Infrastructure as Code. The environment can be launched with a scheduler or on-demand, and it can be destroyed once it is not needed anymore.
Clients pay for what is really needed at a specific period of time, which allows optimizing resource usage and costs spent.
Use optimal pricing types of cloud resources, which allows you to gain maximum efficiency for a lower price.
Cloud providers offer different types of compute and storage resources with different payment options and tiers. For example, AWS-based service, which provides compute resources called EC2, allows you to choose different types of instances: Dedicated, On-demand, Spot, or Reserved ones. Choosing the right type of instance for a specific case allows optimizing costs significantly.
For instance, dedicated instances run on hardware that is dedicated to a specific customer, and they are the most expensive ones. However, you should go for using dedicated instances if you deal with sensitive workloads, and when security and compliance are critical.
When using on-demand instances, you pay per hour, and they are a perfect fit for applications with short-term, irregular workloads that cannot be interrupted. They are also suitable for usage during testing and development of applications on EC2.
Reserved instances provide you with a significant discount (up to 72%) compared to on-demand instance pricing. However, they are better suited for long-running workloads. You should invest in reserved instances in case you need a capacity reservation and additional confidence in your ability to launch the number of instances you have reserved when you need them.
Spot instances are low-cost options. It is a good idea to use spot instances if the high availability of services is not needed. You can use these instances with up to 90% discount.
Here are a few more cloud cost optimization practices:
Deleting underused instances
Moving infrequently accessed storage to cheaper tiers
Exploring whether hosting in a different region or availability zone could reduce costs
Setting alerts for crossing predetermined spend thresholds
Using the most suitable types of cloud resources for specific tasks and components of infrastructure. That allows you to take advantage of available discounts and reduced costs for used services.
If you need any help with IT cost optimization, please drop us a line.