Cloud Waste
Cloud Computing, Other / September, 02 2020

Cloud Waste Is Not a Myth: It is a horrifying reality

Over the years, organizations have shifted to cloud computing seeking all the convenience it offers. With the increasing traffic, cloud waste has significantly increased. Estimates show that cloud waste cost was $26.6 billion in 2021 and $17 billion in 2020. This drastic increase is alarming and has forced organizations to take immediate measures. 

While 90% of organizations using cloud computing have reaped its cost-saving benefits, a severe hidden component can decrease its cost-effectiveness if not overseen as soon as possible. It also decreases its efficiency and performance. 

When organizations try hard to prevent cloud waste, several factors can contribute to cloud waste like over-provisioning, idle assets, orphaned objects, etc. It is crucial to avoid any form of cloud wastage to increase the efficiency of cloud computing and improve cost savings.

What causes cloud waste?

Cloud waste can happen when organizations least expect it. Different ways contribute to cloud waste, including

Overprovisioning resources: 

You might wonder what is wrong with some extra storage space. Often organizations believe they might need extra space as they progress and buy more space than they need. With more spaces available, organizations tend to allocate more resources to VMs than needed. This results in cloud waste, latency, increased cloud spend, and delayed access to the data on the cloud. Remember, cloud storage is always scalable. 

Idle resources: 

The major contributor to cloud waste is idle resources, over $8.8 billion every year. Idle resources are those that are provisioned but not used. It occurs during testing, staging, and other development procedures and rarely in production. This clogs up the cloud space and exhausts budgets. Idle assets are one of the significant concerns organizations consider avoiding today. Idle resources can be 

  • Unscheduled VMs: 

Organizations must develop the habit of shutting down the VMs when their work is complete. Running VMs when it is not needed adds up the cost to the cloud spend as most of the vendors follow pay-as-you-go model where you pay typically every hour, week, or month

Non-production purpose resources used for testing, development, QA, tagging, etc., can be running without bringing in value. Under these circumstances, organizations can use the parking feature provided by the vendor or the third-party provider. Park these resources when not in use to save some considerable cloud waste.

  • Load balancers:

While load balancers increase the capacity and reliability of applications, when they are not in use, they become idle assets. The only way is to remove it when it is not used. Alerts can be set on tools like Azure metrics, CloudWatch, and Google Stackdriver to indicate the presence of any idle load balancer.

  • Databases: 

Proper planning and understanding of the cloud infrastructure are essential when storing your databases on the cloud. You may have databases for years that may not add any value to your organization. Any running but not used databases also forms cloud waste. Enterprises should prioritize reviewing database infrastructure regularly and remove databases that do not add value.

  • Containers: 

When you use containers, you have to pay utmost attention to every detail regarding the container’s lifecycle. Since they hold all the software and related applications, they might occupy colossal space and become cloud waste if they are not removed at the required time.

  • Unused Capacity: 

A recent study showed that at least 40% of instances use one size larger than the necessary storage space. Capacity and cost estimation are initial steps we perform towards migrating to the cloud. Failing to do so can cause chaos where you opt for a subscription plan or own a cloud storage space with more than the needed capacity. This leads to cloud wastage and costs billions. This is why we do thorough cost estimation, and we provide a strategic roadmap to help you avoid any pitfalls.

  • Snapshots:

VMware’s way, copy-on-write, and redirect-on-write are three types of snapshots. When VMware takes a snapshot, a new location is created for new writes. In the case of an OS upgrade, Users take a snapshot before upgrading to the latest version; this helps them go back to the older version. After testing the latest version, they might forget to delete the older version, which is no longer needed but keeps running, causing resource waste.

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Mishandling on-demand services:

On-demand resources should be opted for only during an emergency and not for general use. Many organizations find it easy to deploy but forget that it is not cost-effective as spot resources or reserved resources. Matching your need with the proper service can be challenging, but if you set priorities, which is where your answer lies.

Orphaned resources:

These are resources that are forgotten resources as the name goes by. Deprovisioning these should be done at regular intervals.


Organizations tend to migrate their entire data from on-premises to one private or public cloud without proper strategy. They should understand the sole difference between on-premises and cloud data centers. Moving to one cloud is not a preferred option When they can leverage the advantages of multi-cloud or hybrid cloud. Several factors like region, class or tier, cloud infrastructure, etc., should be considered beforehand.

Ways to avoid cloud waste:

We have carefully crafted a few points and the tools that can save you from overspending your cloud budget. 

  1. Right-sizing virtual machines or instances can help you to overcome the over-provisioning of resources. There are tools and software that can benefit organizations to right-size the VMs and resize them automatically if needed. Tools like AWS Cost Explorer and AWS compute optimizer provide recommendations on resizing.
  2. Use Auto-scaling tools like AWS auto-scaling that can automatically adjust the cloud capacity. Auto-scaling improves availability and security and reduces cost.
  3. Exercise Cost allocation tagging helps directly map costs to applications or features and right-size the resources.
  1. Improving the visibility of the resources is the key. Most vendors provide analysis features that project what is happening in your cloud environment. With the help of these features, the resources that should be parked or shut down can be identified and required action can be taken. Amazon CloudWatch collects and monitors data to help you optimize resource utilization.
  2. Use Auto parking features to park the resources when they are not in the contributing phase. This helps avoid any idle resources, and you can save on costs.

With the drastic increase in cloud usage, cloud capacity management and cost optimization will help organizations reduce cloud waste. Microsoft Azure provides features like Azure load balancer to ensure high performance, Azure Archive storage to store less accessed data, Azure Container registry to manage containers, Azure Kubernetes service gives you tools to manage containers, Azure advisor to optimize workload, and much more tools that give you transparency and visibility to your cloud data. Other cloud platforms also offer similar features and tools you can choose from as per your needs. Moreover, organizations should monitor their cloud space regularly and deprovision the resources that do not add value to them.

One crucial step every organization should perform when migrating their data to the cloud is cloud capacity planning. Capacity planning helps you understand where and what to put on the cloud. Peter Drucker states, ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.’ A strategic roadmap with proper capacity planning will help you save on budget and avoid cloud waste.

How can we help you?

At Saxon, We help organizations get a better picture of capacity planning with our strategic approach and help them utilize their cloud space efficiently. Get in touch with us now.

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