Several years ago I joined a company that was in the middle of a frantic architectural transition that prioritized speed over cost. During my first few months I watched our Amazon Web Services bill creep from $100K per month to over $350K. While at first our CEO was accepting of the growing costs as a necessary one-time expense, when the AWS bill surpassed $350K, he realized we were putting our business at risk. The result: a new mandate to optimize the cost, usage, performance, availability and security of our cloud infrastructure.
What followed in the next year was a journey that took my team through what I call the Four Stages of Cloud Optimization. By the end of the journey we had slashed our monthly AWS expenses in half while simultaneously doubling our customer base. We also had learned how to effectively and securely operate thousands of cores of compute and petabytes of storage in the cloud with high efficiency.
In this article, I’d like to outline the Four Stages of Cloud Optimization in order to allow others to assess where they are at, and what is required to take them to the next level.