Guest post originally published on the blog by Pravanjan Choudhury

In this blog, we will explore how Platform Engineering revolutionizes ‘Cloud Cost Management by-Design’ to eliminate cost overruns. Learn how a unified cost strategy boosts developer autonomy and cuts unexpected costs.

As enterprises transition to cloud technology, they seek to leverage scalability, flexibility, and cost efficiency. However, it is essential to be aware that cloud computing can also lead to cost overruns for an organization if not handled correctly.

This is particularly true when proactive cost optimization strategies are not in place. According to a Gartner report, “Through 2024, 60% of infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders will encounter public cloud cost overruns that negatively impact their on-premises budgets.” 

Cost overrun is a common issue, and many organizations are still searching for a solution that would require least time and effort. While there may not be a “silver bullet” to solve this problem, cost overruns can be controlled with a proactive approach to DevOps.

Traditional DevOps Practices

A traditional DevOps approach appears effective for many organizations, as the development and deployment process may seem to be moving smoothly. Tools are being developed, products are being shipped, and customers seem satisfied. However, a closer look may reveal an underlying problem.

In an ideal setup, the developers are empowered with autonomy and self-service capabilities while Ops have automated processes and workflows which prevent them from reinventing the wheel. This optimization of DevOps workflows helps teams work more efficiently and effectively towards their objectives.

However, the reality is far off from this ideal set up. For example, the development teams write the code and hand it over to the operations team to run it. Cost is not even a factor that’s considered in these discussions, mainly due to the siloed nature of the process. This lack of cost focus by the Ops teams can lead to audits revealing inconsistencies and bloated costs in cloud environments, resulting in a reactive approach to damage control.

Modern DevOps with Platform Engineering

In response to the increasing complexities of DevOps, Platform Engineering is emerging as a new discipline. A key aspect of platform engineering is reimagining DevOps Automation, which aims to enhance developer productivity and streamline modern software delivery. When implemented effectively, platform engineering can address significant challenges in scaling DevOps.

To avoid endless audits to identify gaps and bloated costs in cloud environments, a proactive approach is advocated – the approach of implementing a cost baseline across the DevOps pipeline.

‘Cloud Cost by Design’ with Platform Engineering

A cost-by-design approach enables developers to have complete transparency and control throughout the DevOps lifecycle. In this approach, a centralized cost strategy and baseline are established throughout the pipeline, empowering developers with transparency and autonomy to manage cloud costs independently. Developers can assess their service costs and optimize requirements based on cost over time.

Cost by Design – The Process

  1. Setting up cost baselines – The platform engineering team builds tools with cost as the central theme and baseline, enabling developers to understand the overall cost of a project, the environment, and how incremental changes affect the cost baseline. Developers are allowed to break down costs in Dev, Test, QA, and Production environments.
  2. Assigning budget – The platform engineering team provides high-level constructs to the development team, including the assigned budget for the team and organization, and how new services can be attributed back to revenue and business goals, providing visibility into team goals, performance, and the overall footprint.
  3. Correlating cost with workload characteristics – Development teams gain access to visible metrics, allowing them to correlate their cost with their workload characteristic to make trade-offs. Developers can see whether a specific workload is critical and whether it would be acceptable for it to be down for a set time period. Development teams can also identify which services are consuming more resources and which services have changed drastically.

Organization-Wide Benefits

cost-by-design approach introduces a fundamental shift in how traditional DevOps functions. But there are broad organizational-wide benefits to this approach as well:

Visibility: The cost-by-design approach transforms the siloed pods and decision-makers into one centralized platform wherein Ops teams have visibility and control across the pipeline. Cost overruns are drastically reduced when an organization takes a proactive approach and builds DevOps for the future.

Alignment: The endless loops of audit and amendment to the DevOps lifecycle end up adding to the overall cost that is oftentimes overlooked until the boardroom raises eyebrows on the bloated cloud costs. With this design-first approach, the cost is predefined, and every team needs to align itself before committing to a change within the varied cloud environments.

Developer Autonomy: Platform engineering teams play a critical role in enabling the developers within the organization to gain autonomy over their environments and abide by the cost baseline.

Facets.Cloud – Empowering DevOps with Cost by Design

Facets.Cloud has introduced and is successfully implementing a ‘cost-by-design’ approach across several organizations. The shift towards building for the future and implementing a collaborative platform is enabling developers to achieve autonomy across the DevOps pipeline.

By leveraging Facets’ sophisticated DevOps solutions, Purplle achieved a remarkable 70% reduction in non-production cloud costs. The platform’s out-of-the-box automation and spot optimization for all non-production environments not only saved costs but also streamlined the entire infrastructure management process. This enabled Purplle’s DevOps team to focus on strategic, high-value tasks, transforming them into a more efficient Platform Engineering Team.