Optimizing The Cloud for Cost-Efficiency and Performance 

  • By Manal Zarik
    • Feb 20, 2024
    • read
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin

Cloud computing has transformed the way businesses manage and scale their IT infrastructure and operations. This transformational impact can be seen in how organizations manage and use their resources, store and process data, and ultimately provide services to their customers (1)(2). The challenge, however, is to optimize resource allocation in order to balance performance while minimizing costs (4). In this article, we will delve into the complexities of optimizing cloud resource allocation

The Cloud’s Impact on Resource Allocation

The cloud fundamentally changes how computing resources are provisioned, accessed, and managed. Organizations can now access a pool of shared computing resources delivered over the Internet rather than relying solely on on-premises infrastructure (5). This model allows for resource allocation flexibility, allowing organizations to scale up or down based on demand while only paying for resources consumed (2). This contrasts with traditional IT models, which frequently necessitate large upfront investments in hardware and infrastructure that may or may not be fully utilized. In this context, resource allocation is critical because it allows organizations to avoid resource waste and over-provisioning (5). The cloud’s dynamic nature caters to varying workloads, ensuring resource availability during peak demand without the burden of maintaining excess capacity during low-demand periods. (5) (6) 

Cloud resource Allocation Models

Cloud service providers provide a variety of resource allocation models, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) (3). Each of these models caters to a different level of resource control and management, allowing organizations to select the best fit for their requirements. Resource allocation strategies are critical for optimizing the performance and cost-effectiveness of cloud computing environments. Auto-scaling and load balancing are two key dynamic allocation strategies that have gained traction (7). These strategies enable organizations to manage resources efficiently based on real-time demand, ensuring optimal utilization while remaining responsive. 

  • Auto-scaling is a strategy that automatically adjusts the allocated resources based on the workload. When the workload increases, the system scales up by provisioning additional resources, such as virtual machines, containers, or server instances. When demand falls, the system scales down to make room for excess resources. This dynamic approach prevents underutilization and overprovisioning, allowing organizations to precisely match resources to demand, resulting in cost savings and improved performance. (8) 
  •  Another critical strategy is load-balancing, which distributes incoming network traffic across multiple servers or instances. This ensures that no single server is overburdened while others remain idle, resulting in better resource utilization and response times. Load balancers make intelligent decisions about where to route incoming requests based on factors such as server health, capacity, and response times. (9) 
cloud computing

In addition to these dynamic allocation strategies, predictive algorithms and machine learning are becoming increasingly important in forecasting future resource requirements. By analyzing historical data and patterns, predictive algorithms can anticipate periods of increased demand and automatically trigger resource scaling to accommodate the expected workload (10). This proactive approach ensures that resources are available in advance, preventing performance degradation during spikes in demand (11). Machine learning algorithms can further enhance predictive capabilities by learning from historical data and adapting to changing patterns. These algorithms can recognize complex relationships between variables and provide more accurate predictions, allowing organizations to allocate resources more efficiently and improve their resource management strategies over time. (11) (12) 

On another hand, multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments introduce complexities in resource allocation, involving multiple providers or private-public combinations (13). Although they offer flexibility and redundancy, they demand meticulous resource management due to interoperability, data transfer, and performance concerns (13). Tools like cloud management platforms and orchestration tools help manage these environments efficiently (13).  

The trade-off between cost-efficiency and performance drives resource allocation decisions (14). Overprovisioning results in underutilized resources, which incurs additional costs, whereas under-provisioning has an impact on application performance (14). A thorough understanding of workload characteristics and resource utilization patterns is required to strike a balance (14). Containerization and serverless computing are two innovative paradigms that optimize resource utilization (15). Containerization encapsulates applications and dependencies, ensuring that they behave consistently across environments (16). Serverless computing abstracts infrastructure management by allocating resources on a demand basis (17)

Economic models and tools play a pivotal role in cost reduction (18). These models are built on concepts like pay-as-you-go, aligning expenses with actual resource consumption (19). Additionally, reserved instances offer discounted pricing for committed usage, while spot instances capitalize on excess capacity to deliver cost savings (20). Notably, AWS Cost Explorer offers a practical example of a tool that grants insights into spending patterns, thereby enhancing the optimization process  (20)

For real-time insights into resource utilization and application performance, tools like New Relic and Dynatrace are invaluable (21). In the journey towards continuous improvement, iterative adjustments are essential to accommodate evolving workloads (22). In this realm, machine learning and predictive analytics provide valuable assistance, aiding organizations in accurate resource forecasting (22)

Companies that are innovating in this sector are likely to be eligible for several funding programs including government grants, and SR&ED.

Want to learn about funding opportunities for your project? Schedule a free consultation with one of our experts today!

References: 

  1. Mell, P., & Grance, T. (2011). The NIST definition of cloud computing. National Institute of Standards and Technology, 53(6), 50. 
  1. Armbrust, M., Fox, A., Griffith, R., et al. (2010). A view of cloud computing. Communications of the ACM, 53(4), 50-58. 
  1. Buyya, R., Broberg, J., & Goscinski, A. M. (2011). Cloud computing: principles and paradigms. John Wiley & Sons. 
  1. Jin, H., Yang, J., Lin, Q., & Luan, H. (2012). On optimizing the cost for distributing applications across multiple clouds. In 2012 IEEE 12th International Symposium on Cluster, Cloud and Grid Computing (pp. 327-334). 
  1. Burns, B., Grant, B., Oppenheimer, D., et al. (2016). Borg, Omega, and Kubernetes. ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, 34(3), 10. 
  1. AWS Lambda. (n.d.). Serverless Compute – AWS Lambda. https://aws.amazon.com/lambda/ 
  1. Kusic, D., Kephart, J. O., & Hanson, J. E. (2008). Power and performance management of virtualized computing environments via lookahead control. Cluster Computing, 11(2), 155-168. 
  1. Amazon Web Services. (n.d.). Auto Scaling. https://aws.amazon.com/autoscaling/ 
  1. Xu, J., & Fortes, J. A. (2004). Load balancing a cluster of Web servers with distributed task queues. IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, 15(8), 706-720. 
  1. Farahnakian, F., Jalili, R., & Al-Fares, M. (2017). FLARE: Predictive Latency-Aware Resource Scaling for Real-Time Cloud Applications. ACM Transactions on Computer Systems (TOCS), 35(1), 1-28. 
  1. Tornatore, M., & Matrakidis, C. (2013). A survey of dynamic resource allocation algorithms in High Performance Computing systems. Computers & Operations Research, 40(1), 257-289. 
  1. Zhan, J., Liu, H., Zheng, X., & Wu, X. (2020). A survey of cloud computing cost management based on machine learning. Computing Research Repository, arXiv :2009.07701. 
  1. Armbrust, M., & Stoica, I. (2010). An open cloud manifesto. Communications of the ACM, 53(5), 22-23. 
  1. Sidi, M. N. M., & Sidi, F. M. (2016). Elasticity and Resource Management in Cloud Computing: An Overview. Computing Research Repository, arXiv:1611.05282. 
  1. Docker. (n.d.). What is Docker? https://www.docker.com/what-docker 
  1. Kubernetes. (n.d.). Kubernetes Architecture. https://kubernetes.io/docs/concepts/architecture/ 
  1. Amazon Web Services. (n.d.). AWS Pricing Models. https://aws.amazon.com/pricing/ 
  1. AWS Cost Explorer. (n.d.). Cost Explorer. https://aws.amazon.com/aws-cost-management/aws-cost-explorer/ 
  1. Google Cloud. (n.d.). Pricing and Billing. https://cloud.google.com/pricing 
  1. Microsoft Azure. (n.d.). Pricing. https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/ 
  1. Dynatrace. (n.d.). Performance Monitoring and Management. https://www.dynatrace.com/platform/application-performance-monitoring/ 
  1. Soundararajan, G., & Raman, A. (2017). Continuous Performance Monitoring for IaaS Clouds. In 2017 IEEE 10th International Conference on Cloud Engineering (IC2E) (pp. 1001-1008). IEEE. 

Author

Manal Zarik
Manal Zarik

R&D Consultant ICT

Explore our latest insights

More arrow_forward
Human-Machine Collaboration
Human-Machine Collaboration in IT-Enhanced Manufacturing Envir...

Human-Machine Collaboration has become an essential part of the manufacturing industry. This coll...

SR&ED Program Change
Is the SR&ED Program Changing?

Recent announcements demonstrate that the SR&ED program is now under review. The government w...

edge computing
Edge Computing as a Solution for Cloud Computing

Edge computing has emerged as a compelling solution by enabling localized data processing and red...

computer science
The Dynamic Relationship between Computer Science and Robotics

While the integration of computer science and robotics promises immense benefits, it also present...