4 Important Considerations To Avoid Wasted Cloud Spend

Growth for cloud services is at an all-time high in 2020, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses scrambling to migrate to the cloud as soon as possible. But with that record growth, wasted spend on unnecessary or unoptimised cloud usage is also at an all-time high.

Wasted cloud spend generally boils down to paying for services or resources that you aren’t using. You can most commonly attribute wasted spend on services that aren’t being used at all in either the development or production stages, services that are often idle (not being used 80-90% of the time), or simply over-provisioned resources (more resources than necessary).

Wasted cloud spend is expected to reach as high as $17.6 billion in 2020. In a 2019 report from Flexera, they measured the actual waste of cloud spending at 35 percent of all cloud services revenue. This highlights how crucial it can be, and how much money a business can save, by having an experienced and dedicated AWS management team looking after their cloud services. In many cases, having the right team managing your cloud services can more than repay any associated management costs. Read on below for some further insight into the most common pitfalls of wasted cloud spending.

Lack Of Research, Skills and/or Management

A lack of proper research, skills or management involved in a migration to cloud services is probably the most frequent and costly pitfall. Without proper AWS cloud migration best practices and a comprehensive strategy in place, businesses may dive into setting up their services without realising how complex the initial learning curve can be to sufficiently manage their cloud spend. It’s a common occurrence for not just businesses, but anyone first experimenting with cloud, to see a bill that’s much higher than they first anticipated. This can lead a business to believe the cloud is significantly more expensive than it really needs to be.

It’s absolutely crucial to have a strategy in place for all potential usage situations, so that you don’t end up paying much more than you should. This is something that a managed cloud provider can expertly design for you, to ensure that you’re only paying for exactly what you need and potentially quite drastically reducing your spend over time.

Unused Or Unnecessary Snapshots

Snapshots can create a point in time backup of your AWS services. Each snapshot contains all of the information that is needed to restore your data to the point when the snapshot was taken. This is an incredibly important and useful tool when managed correctly. However it’s also one of the biggest mistakes businesses can make in their AWS cloud spend.

Charges for snapshots are based on the amount of data stored, and each snapshot increases the amount of data that you’re storing. Many users will take and store a high number of snapshots and never delete them when they’re no longer needed, and in a lot of cases, not realise that this is exponentially increasing their cloud spend.

Idle Resources

Idle resources account for another of the largest parts of cloud waste. Idle resources are resources that aren’t being used for anything, yet you’re still paying for them. They can be useful in the event of resource spike, but for the most part may not be worth you paying for them when you look at your average usage over a period of time. A good analogy for this would be paying rent for a holiday home all year round, when you only spend 2 weeks using it every Christmas. This is where horizontal scaling comes into play. When set up by skilled AWS experts, horizontal scaling can turn services and resources on or off depending on when they are actually needed.

Over-Provisioned Services

This particular issue somewhat ties into idle resources, as seen above. Over-provisioned services refers to paying for entire instances that are not in use whatsoever, or very minimally. This could be an Amazon RDS service for a database that’s not in use, an Amazon EC2 instance that’s idle 100% of the time, or any number of other services. It’s important to have a cloud strategy in place that involves frequently auditing what services your business is using and not using, in order to minimise your cloud spend as much as possible.


As you can see from the statistics provided by Flexera above, wasted cloud spend is one of the most significant problems facing businesses that have migrated to the cloud. But with the right team of experts in place, wasted spend can easily be avoided, and even mitigate management costs, leaving you in a far better position in terms of both service performance, reliability and support, and overall costs.