With a relatively technical background myself, and certainly with being an absolute gadget-nut, I find the new, exciting, shiny services that the cloud provider keep releasing hard to resist.  This in itself can be a great thing, firstly it keeps me up to date with the modern movement of technology, it means I can find solutions to problems that previously have been very difficult to fix.  However, on the other hand, it can lead to me over-engineering the solution sometimes because I want to try new technology – I am still trying to find a project that will let me use AWS Ground Station!

I am not alone in this, and as I said, it can be a really great thing.  I would say most engineers and developers in organisations probably have a similar desire to try new things.  This can be absolutely brilliant for innovation within your business.  The complication comes however in control, governance and sometimes… price. 

Now if you have a good Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCOE) in place, then the governance should be fine, as should the control.  The costs are often the most overlooked.  Why is this?  Well, it’s two-fold, firstly it is generally true that newer technologies offer cost efficiencies.  If you look at Function as a Service (FaaS) you will find in most cases the actual cloud cost of this is significantly less, and when used well so is the operational cost.  However, if used poorly, managing the mess of microservices you’ve created can actually cost more than the simpler option.  

Another thing to consider is that as it stands, the cloud providers have cost-saving solutions for the more understood/standard service offerings they have.  An example of this would be Reserved Instances or Committed Use Discounts.  These can dramatically reduce the cost of what may be considered more old-school technology.

So how do we manage this at Strategic Blue?  How do we keep me from linking crazy technology to simple problems?  Well, the answer is simple – Cost-Conscious Design.  We look at the problem, listing out the functional and non-functional requirements and find the more cost optimised solution.  This means sometimes I do get to play with all the new shiny things, and sometimes I don’t.  But when I do, I know that it’s the right thing to do.  

This all sounds very simple, and in-premise it is, however, the complication comes from working out the estimated costs of some of these services can be very difficult.  This is when our Financial Solution Architects (FinSAs) come into their own.  They are certified solution’s architects who have been trained to care about the money, they use a mixture of our tooling and their own technical expertise to help our customers and partners make the right decisions on when to use what technology to get the best return on investment

You can find more about Cost-Conscious Design in our white paper written by my colleague Jon Bryant about Sustainable Cloud Adoption, specifically in the Design for Cost Section.  If you’d like to learn more about this, or anything else in how to handle cost optimisation in the cloud this is a great place to start.