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How to save on cloud costs by leveraging DevOps

PostsSoftware development
Guest Post

Guest Post

March 25, 2024

More and more businesses are making the decision to migrate their operations to the cloud. In fact, by 2026, Gartner predicts that 75% of organizations will adopt this digital transformation model. 

Making the decision to switch to cloud-based services for your business eliminates the need for in-house servers and the maintenance costs that go along with them, allowing you to expand your reach while increasing security.  

But with substantial growth opportunities for businesses and organizations comes growing cloud expenditures. Spending on public cloud services is up substantially — with the same study finding that $491 billion was spent across the world in 2022 — and projections for continued growth year over year.

Many businesses are caught off guard by growing cloud costs as they move additional workloads to the cloud. In actuality, they fail to monitor and observe the process until it’s presented as a large number behind a dollar sign. Licensing fees, IP addresses, and inappropriately sized storage spaces are just some of the many ways companies experience skyrocketing cloud costs. 

So, how can companies ensure they’re getting the most bang for their buck? Enter DevOps. By marrying development and operations teams and fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation, DevOps is key for optimizing your cloud costs.

Imagine cutting back on wasteful spending and leveling up your resource utilization — that’s the power of DevOps in action. Ready to revolutionize your cloud strategy and unlock untapped savings? Let’s dive in.

What is cloud cost optimization?

You can streamline costs for your cloud services by embracing cloud cost optimization, a critical component for organizations to stay on budget and maintain overall efficiency. Cloud cost optimization refers to the process of selecting the appropriate cloud services for your business to avoid extra spending on storage and use.

For considerable cost benefits, start by selecting the appropriate instance types and sizes. Tools like AWS Cost Explorer and Trusted Advisor can guide you in making the best choice based on your usage patterns. As you examine those patterns, be sure to release idle elastic IP addresses. Keep in mind that AWS charges for these addresses even if they are not in use.

A best practice is to create a technical team that is entirely responsible for monitoring such things in addition to fine-tuning your cloud infrastructure and financial operations. The team will also spread cloud spending awareness throughout the organization to help build proper practices that reel in overspending. Education is key; looping all stakeholders in on clear budgeting, close monitoring, use of cost management tools, and policies intended to keep spending in check.  

How to choose the right cloud services 

When it comes to selecting the right cloud services for your business, the overarching goal is to avoid extra costs for storage while maintaining maximum efficiency. A DevOps engineer will be a crucial partner and resource who can help you understand your options and fine-tune your cloud infrastructure to best meet your business needs. 

Before you can reduce cloud costs, it’s also beneficial to understand AWS pricing models. From pay-as-you-go pricing to savings plans and spot instances, there is a wide range of options. Each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, which can significantly affect your monthly bill. 

Reserved instances, for example, involve pre-purchasing compute capacity for a fixed term, offering cost savings for predictable workloads. These are ideal for predictable workloads and come at a lower cost than on-demand instances. Spot instances, on the other hand, are often best for workloads that are not time-sensitive and can be terminated at any point. They are substantially cheaper than on-demand instances. These allow bidding for spare capacity, providing potential cost reductions for non-critical or flexible workloads.

What is DevOps?

DevOps, a portmanteau of “Development” and “Operations,” is a collaborative approach to software development and IT operations. At its core, DevOps aims to streamline and automate the processes involved in building, deploying, and managing software applications.

Traditionally, software development and operations (managing infrastructure and deploying software) have been treated as separate silos within organizations. This separation often led to inefficiencies, delays, and miscommunications between teams. DevOps was created to break down these barriers by fostering a culture of collaboration, communication, and shared responsibility.

Overall, DevOps is not just about implementing specific tools or practices; it’s a holistic approach to software development and delivery that emphasizes collaboration, automation, and continuous improvement. By adopting DevOps principles, organizations can achieve faster delivery cycles, higher-quality software, increased reliability, and ultimately, greater business agility

In practical terms, DevOps involves implementing various practices, tools, and cultural norms to achieve its goals. These may include:

Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD)

Practices where code changes are frequently merged into a shared repository (CI) and automatically deployed to production environments (CD), enabling faster and more reliable software releases.

Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

Treating infrastructure provisioning, configuration, and management as code, allowing for automation, consistency, and version control of infrastructure resources.


Automating repetitive tasks such as testing, deployment, and monitoring to increase efficiency and reduce human error.

Collaboration tools

Utilizing tools and platforms that facilitate communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing among development, operations, and other relevant teams.

Monitoring and feedback loops

Implementing robust monitoring systems to track application performance, gather user feedback, and continuously improve software quality and reliability.

Culture shift

Encouraging a culture of shared ownership, accountability, and continuous learning, where teams work together towards common goals and embrace experimentation and feedback.

How to leverage DevOps to save on cloud costs

After migrating your operations to your chosen cloud services, it’s highly beneficial to utilize DevOps methodologies to enhance your cloud infrastructure. This includes automating the right-scaling of your resources with Infrastructure as Code (IaC) using DevOps CI/CD pipelines. This practice not only sizes the infrastructure to your needs but also avoids manual tasks and errors in the process.

While you organize your AWS resources, rely on tagging to help you understand why and how your cloud spending changes. There are two types of tags: AWS-generated and user-defined cost allocation tags. Both types require activation via the Billing and Cost Management Console. This allows you to pinpoint areas in your AWS cost and usage report to reduce unnecessary expenses and maximize profitability.

So, how do you go about using a DevOps approach in your cloud cost optimization strategy? An AWS Advanced Tier Services Partner can help implement your cloud cost optimization and modernization initiatives through DevOps tools and techniques  — plus more.

Why you should embrace automation 

At its core, a fundamental principle of DevOps is automation. CI/CD pipelines enhance the speed of software delivery while ensuring that resources are provisioned and de-provisioned efficiently based on workload demands.

When you automate repetitive tasks to accelerate the development process, you also reduce the likelihood of manual errors. By implementing these robust pipelines, you’re able to seamlessly integrate changes, run tests, and continuously improve performance. Built-in monitoring and observability further enhance the reliability of real-time insights into the performance and health of the system.

Why modernization is key

Modernization refers to the ongoing process of updating and improving software development and IT operations practices to align with contemporary standards, technologies, and business needs. It involves leveraging modern tools, methodologies, and cultural shifts to enhance efficiency, agility, and innovation in the software delivery lifecycle.

Modernization should be emphasized as a means to bring the latest technologies and services to existing applications and cloud platforms to make them cloud-native, adaptable, scalable, cost-optimized, and secure.

Key aspects of modernization within DevOps include:

Adoption of cloud-native technologies

Embracing cloud-native architectures and services to build and deploy applications that leverage the scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness of cloud platforms.

Microservices architecture

Breaking down monolithic applications into smaller, independently deployable services to enable faster development cycles, easier maintenance, and scalability.

Containerization and orchestration

Implementing containerization technologies like Docker and orchestration tools like Kubernetes to streamline application deployment, scaling, and management across diverse environments.

Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

Treating infrastructure provisioning, configuration, and management as code to automate and standardize infrastructure deployment processes.

Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

Implementing CI/CD pipelines to automate software delivery processes, enabling rapid and frequent releases while maintaining quality and reliability.

Automation and DevOps toolchains

Leveraging automation tools and integrated toolchains to automate repetitive tasks, streamline workflows, and enforce best practices across the software development lifecycle.

Shift-Left Testing and security

Incorporating testing and security practices earlier in the development cycle to detect and address issues sooner, reducing time-to-market and minimizing security risks.

Cultural transformation

Promoting a culture of collaboration, transparency, and continuous improvement, where teams work together across silos to achieve common goals and adapt to changing business requirements.

Final thoughts

To drive home the importance of DevOps when it comes to cloud cost optimization, we’d like to share some examples of this partnership in practice:

  • Airbnb achieved a 27% savings in storage costs and a 60% savings in Amazon OpenSearch service costs, two key cost drivers in their platform.
  • Working with AWS, AdRoll was able to seamlessly scale its infrastructure, better serve its customers around the globe, reduce its fixed costs by 75%, and reduce its operational costs by 83%.
  • Lyft was able to cut costs by 40% in six months using AWS Cost Management solutions and by gaining insight into their use of EC2s, S3 storage, and DynamoDB.

By integrating cost optimization considerations into the development lifecycle, DevOps empowers teams to make informed decisions and drive sustainable cost reductions over time.

DevOps and project management

To add an extra layer of efficiency to your DevOps, consider using a project management tool. Developers can stay on top of issues or breaches thanks to real-time alerts, while automatic tracking and data storage means compliance is under consideration when it comes to audits.

Backlog — Nulab’s own project management tool — has built-in Git and SVN repositories. It also comes with private repositories and real-time updates, helping you and your team stay up-to-date throughout the entire development pipeline.

Author bio

Mike Prevost is the co-founder and CEO of VividCloud, a US-based software development company focused on Cloud and IoT, where he oversees business development and marketing. Before VividCloud, Mike founded and lead a software development company with commercial clients and classified projects with the Dept. of Defense.



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