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Managing Azure cost optimization is all about balance. Security, scalability and efficiency, none of these can be compromised. At the same time, they can all span the range of affordable to astronomically expensive. Paying more doesn’t necessarily mean getting more either. Neither end of the spectrum will contain everything necessary to optimize every system.

Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s inferior and just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean it is best suited for the work you do.   

Too many people give up on controlling infrastructure costs altogether, wary of the more extreme risks that come with compromising on quality. But when approached correctly, cloud costs can serve as a guide to getting more of what you want. At Deft, we see cost as just another data point. Helping our partners navigate the tradeoffs and avoid the common cost vs quality pitfalls in managing Azure cloud infrastructure requires matching our knowledge and experience to their circumstances and goals in a few key ways.

Cost optimizing doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality

Often, workload owners are apprehensive about volunteering a workload to be “cost optimized.” Cost increases are incremental, but infrastructure can fail all at once. If systems go down — or if their jobs become harder and the infrastructure less efficient — they’re more likely to take heat than if bills are coming in above where they could be. But following best practices for Azure cost optimization doesn’t have to introduce risk, or hinder anyone’s workflow. In fact, it can create a more stable infrastructure that sparks creativity.

There is a balance between deferring to the owner of a workload within a system and securing the most cost-effective settings for security, scalability and efficiency. Finding that balance is the ongoing and ever-evolving work of Azure cost optimization. 

Cost optimization is, of course, great for budgets, but you cannot sacrifice overall performance for a lower bill. If you can save the company a thousand dollars a month that’s good — but if it takes the CEO 20 seconds to load a page — that lower bill won’t save you and your team from scrutiny. 

There are two main fears when it comes to cost savings — performance and security. Each area is full of decisions, but not necessarily tradeoffs. As long as you navigate them alongside an experienced Azure advisor, you can save costs without compromising quality. 

Balancing cloud costs vs. performance

It’s easy to push for power at the expense of all else — cost, yes, but also performance. On paper a muscle car may close the distance from point A to B in the quickest time, but if the route is full of hairpin turns, it’s probably not going to be the best option. Considering cost will help you get optimal performance, ensuring you’re not buying power without a purpose. 

Getting the absolute best performing Azure system isn’t about working cheaply. It’s about getting the best performing Azure cloud setup for your specific needs — and it’s achievable on a budget. 

Knowing the ins and outs of every choice is one of the benefits of setting up and managing an Azure cloud system with an experienced advisor. Those can include: 

  • fixed vs. consumption-based provisioning
  • cost optimizing Azure regions
  • caching to reduce the load on servers 
  • batch vs. real-time processing

Each variable has distinct positives and negatives based on the needs of your company. Thinking about those positives and negatives in terms of ROI — what benefits will be worth what costs — can help to make those decisions more clear-cut. 

Balancing cloud costs vs. security

If you wouldn’t buy a lock based solely on price, you also shouldn’t make decisions about cloud security based on the cheapest option. Often, greater security — either through increased defenses or more durable backups and DR processes — comes with greater costs. If watching costs means opening your business up to something as potentially expensive as a ransomware attack, however, anyone would choose to pay up. 

Understanding the true cost of every risk, from natural disaster to cyber attack, is critical to spending that money effectively instead of fearfully. An Azure advisor can also help you find the cost savings that don’t increase risks, like using native security features. 

Azure cost management doesn’t have to stifle innovation

Giving your team unlimited access to Azure could lead to a big breakthrough, but one thing is certain — it will give you a large bill. It doesn’t have to be a tradeoff between innovation and resources, though. Your team can still tinker with test environments — you just need to put the right rules in place to keep costs reasonable. 

Setting up moderately sized sandboxes with guardrails in place will ensure that no one has the capabilities to push your storage budget over the edge. Letting your team run wild with storage and compute isn’t likely to earn their best work. After all, for innovation to be viable it has to work within business constraints. 

You don’t have to navigate the numerous choices for Azure cost optimization alone. We can assist your team whether it is thinking of migrating to the Azure cloud or already has made the move and needs some extra attention. 

Identifying and mitigating risks alongside Azure cost management 

Azure cost optimization is all about identifying the risks and rewards in the work you are doing, then assigning value to them. Knowing how you want your Azure cloud to function will help you understand which areas are open for cost cutting and which are not.  

Looking for only the cheapest Azure cloud setup will leave you vulnerable and without the performance you need. A more functional way to approach your cloud migration budget is to analyze your business needs and identify the best case scenario for meeting them. This way, you can develop a give and take in terms of what areas need more focus (and often a greater percentage of the budget). 

As your work scales up and down with demand, these needs will adjust. Mitigating risk and managing cost is not a set-it-and-forget-it situation. It grows and evolves as time goes on. Let us help you find the right balance


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