October 23, 2020

How to Optimize IT Infrastructure Costs

A typical IT project requires constraint management to ensure optimal solutions for a product or service. The most common conflicting constraints are cost versus quality. Higher quality solutions lead to higher project costs and vice versa, something especially significant in the case of IT infrastructure costs. To enable our clients to opt for both reduced project costs and high-quality projects, we developed an IT optimization checklist.

How To Update IT Infrastructure

1.  Create a cross-functional techno-managerial team. This team needs complete access to IT data dating back several quarters to make informed decisions about specific needs. 
2.  Analyze the data to identify which elements of infrastructure contribute to rising infrastructure costs. Evaluate which elements are critical, and which can be replaced. 
3.  Identify lower cost alternatives to the existing system. Strategize with the team to balance important one-time costs and necessary recurring costs.  
4.  Identify potential repercussions of the proposed changes. Before implementation, coordinate with the development, support, and maintenance teams to ensure all possibilities have been considered.  
5.  Implement your solution.  

IT Cost Optimization Checklist

We identified common IT cost optimization opportunities based on our experience with clients and with internal operations. The following strategies focus primarily on organizations that use the Microsoft product suite. That said, many of the methods on this checklist are universally applicable.

  Downgrade low-importance servers (based on VM utilization). 
  Decommission unused or obsolete servers. 
  Downgrade low importance SKU clusters in production. 
  Update the data storage mechanism to a more cost-effective solution. For example, you can replace Azure Data Lake Storage (ADLS) with Blob storage for data back-ups. Blob storage is a convenient and cost-effective way to store static data. 
  Delete unused Azure Databricks (ADB) assets. Ensure your subscription covers only required assets. 
  Use the trial version of ADB on lower-impact environments. The pre-trained version of ADB operates for 30 days and doesn’t charge for running high-end jobs. Systems like a Dev environment function equally well on a pre-trained trial version of ADB.  
  Automate metadata deletion in ADLS. Ensure you are not wasting storage space on duplicate or unnecessary data. 
  Automate servers and VMs based on active usage (shut down during non-business hours). 
  Automate disk clean up on servers.  
  Establish daily automated alerts on monthly cost forecasts. Alerts enable you to immediately address abnormal cost spikes, forecast cost trends, and continuously optimize.  
  Ensure resources are only available where they need to be available. Many projects occur exclusively in a local environment, but still get pushed to global duplication. Cut down on resource use by ensuring local projects only push local duplication. 

Why Optimize Your IT Infrastructure?

Optimizing your IT infrastructure is an easy way to cut down on costs without impacting business operations. One of our clients, an international technology giant, became concerned about spiraling IT infrastructure costs. The cost of cloud usage was skyrocketing due to higher volumes of data, but the project budget remained fixed.

We recommended our client transform their IT infrastructure. We have worked closely with this client for several years, and already had an established DataOps team within their organization. We analyzed our client’s subscriptions over the last two years, informing our cost optimization opportunities with trends displayed over the last year. After evaluating our client’s ~80 VMs, we developed an optimized solution that reduced costs by over 25%. Between April and September of this year, we have increased IT cost savings for our client by almost 30%.

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