18 Jul AVOID THE HIDDEN BILLS IN MULTI-CLOUD
One of the most complex concepts in the multi-cloud is network integration between cloud providers, yet it is vital that it is done correctly. Without careful planning you and your company could be up for a hefty bill.
WHAT IS THE ISSUE?
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are used in nearly all enterprises to connect their sites, users, applications and data center resources securely. Many of these enterprises also expect to use their VPN to connect to their public cloud resources, and with many providers having features to facilitate this, most of them do so. However, it is in the multi-cloud environment that the problem occurs, when users add a provider to their pool the overall network integration costs increase immensely. In some cases, adding a cloud provider leads to a 50% increase in deployment and redeployment costs.
Another issue that leads to unexpected costs in the multi-cloud environment is users not fully understanding what they are being charged for when using multiple clouds. By not understanding where the fees occur, users sometimes choose the incorrect service for their resources
UNDERSTAND THE TRAFFIC CHARGES
Public cloud providers charge partly on the traffic in and out of the cloud. For general traffic around cloud applications and between applications and data services, there is no charge, however the transfer over a cloud border into a VPN is billed. Most companies are aware of these charges, but the unexpected charges come from transferring data from one cloud to another via your VPN. This can more than double the traffic charges in your multi-cloud environment. The picture below graphically depicts where the extra charges occur.
UNDERSTAND WHERE THE PROVIDERS CHARGE
Before you can put methods in place to avoid the network integration bills, it is critical to understand when and where your cloud providers apply extra charges. Below are some common elements of cloud pricing, for exemplar purposes we will look at options from Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
The service type is what storage service you select from your provider. All three of the aforementioned providers have an extensive list of storage options all with different purposes. For example, Azure offers Blob for unstructured data while AWS offers Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) which is for user-generated data. In contrast, Google offers Unified Object Storage where your storage options are based on your location and access rates.
Cloud providers have data centers across the globe, therefore the pricing of a storage solution varies by region. For example, Azure Blob storage in the first 50 TB/month costs approximately $0.0192 in East Australia but only $0.0128 in Northern Europe. A map of the Azure data centers has been provided for a reference.
The capacity refers to how much storage you consume every month, pricing is often tiered. For example, AWS offers the first 50 TB/month of standard storage at $0.025 per GB, then the next 450 TB/month at $0.024 per GB and anything over 500 TB/month at $0.023 per GB in Sydney, Australia.
Providers tend to charge for interactions between cloud and data and also interaction between two clouds. For example, Azure Hot Blob storage with geographically redundant storage are charged an extra $0.10 per 10,000 container operations, $0.004 per 10, 000 other operations and another $0.02 per GB of georeplication data transfers.
HOW YOU CAN AVOID THE EXTRA BILLS
These hefty bills can be mostly avoided with a few simple steps. Firstly, ensure you choose the correct service for the data you are wishing to store, this alone can save you precious dollars. When using the multi-cloud strategy, you can align your data and resources with the services that will be lower in cost. For example, if you have some data you are planning to rarely access, choose a service like Azure Cool Blob which lowers the fees of data storage. If you have other data that will be accessed more frequently, put them in a services such as Azure Hot Blob which lowers the access fees for frequently used data. By simply researching your provider’s options and choosing the correct services given your location, type and amount of data being stored and how often you’ll be accessing or transferring it, you can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
Network integration costs can be easily minimised by not deploying components of an application in multiple public clouds. This eliminates the need to transfer and access data via your VPN and in-turn, removing those previously hidden costs. In cases where this is unavoidable, such as needing to host applications in certain locations, it helps to carefully plan the application workflows and relationships. This will reduce the traffic that crosses between the cloud boundaries.
Some users are using the multi-cloud environment for geographical reasons such as needing to host application in certain locations. If this is the case it makes it easier to treat each of the multiple cloud application instances as separate applications. Link these back to the company VPN rather than exchange work across the cloud boundaries. If you were to draw this relationship, it would form a star shape with the center being the company data center and the points being various multi-cloud front-end processes. This would mean workflows would only pass through one cloud provider boundary, making the cost comparable to that of a single provider.
The multi-cloud has major benefits as discussed in a previous article, however to receive these benefits it is crucial you understand the costs involved in the multi-cloud environment. If you believe you are being struck with these extra costs, ensure to follow the above steps to ensure you aren’t doing any processes that are costly. Any questions can be answered by either the provider or partnered experts such as CT4 who are Azure and AWS experts.