By Lauren Dunnevant (@CTXLDY), Enterprise Architect, Entisys360

Within the last two years, Entisys360 has seen a major increase in our customers moving to or preparing to move their virtual app/desktop workloads to the public cloud. Challenges with planning a traditional on-premises architecture are very well-known, and typically include things such as time to procure resources and the inability to scale quickly. One often overlooked challenge with the public cloud is cost management due to sub-optimal configurations with the lack of ongoing maintenance.

While the benefit of public cloud infrastructure is the ability to start quickly, a lot of assumptions are typically made during the start of projects about instance sizing, which can result in sub-optimal sizing. Then, over the course of time, usage and application changes add to the equation further resulting in sub-optimal configurations (either over provisioning resulting in extra costs or under provisioning resulting in poor end user experience).

Although traditional infrastructure is more “forgiving” of sub-optimal sizing of resources, with cloud providers, you are going to pay for every minute of compute, storage, and networking whether you need it or not.  In fact, for certain services such as storage, you will pay for it even if you aren’t using it!

Additionally, with rapid advances in cloud technology, it can be challenging to keep up with the performance enhancements that can be provided by simply enabling a new feature or rebuilding VMs to take advantage of a new feature (easier than it sounds!). These performance enhancements often come with cost-positive outcomes as well.

We recently had the opportunity to work with a customer on a cost savings initiative for their Citrix Virtual Apps environment, which was hosted 100% in Microsoft Azure. Over the course of that project, we reviewed several key components to determine the best ways to realize cost savings while balancing the performance requirements of the environment.  Here’s a few of the items we came up with:

  • Reserved Instances. Infrastructure VMs at a minimum should be reserved since they will run 100% of the time.
  • Azure Hybrid Benefits. Don’t pay for licenses that you are already entitled to.  Leverage Azure hosted VMs to receive Extended Security Updates  through Jan 2023 for Windows 7/10, Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 and SQL 2008/2008 R2 rather than pay for it.
  • Cleanup of Unused Resources. There are several artifacts that exist even when virtual machines are removed that are often overlooked.  This also provided an opportunity to assess whether all resources within the environment are still being utilized.
  • Right Sizing Resources. There are several third-party tools that can assist with this as well as some tools native to Azure.  Instance sizes are constantly changing to provide better performance at a better price.  It’s important to point out that rightsizing can also cause cost increases for under provisioned resources in some cases.
  • Storage Tier Updates. We leveraged Standard HDD and Standard SSD, where possible.
  • Automation. Power off a majority of VDAs at night and power them back on prior to morning logons.  This can even be extended to automatic provisioning and deprovisioning of VMs (i.e. auto scaling) depending on usage.

For each item on the list, we assessed their environment and leveraged tools such as the Azure Pricing Calculator to estimate cost savings.

The results of the cost optimization engagement were better than expected! Based on our recommendations, the client’s Citrix Virtual Apps deployment of 300 users, was able to save over $7,000 per month or $84,000 a year which is a reduction in cost by almost 33%! (see charts below).

Imagine what a cost optimization engagement with Entisys360 can do for larger deployments of virtual apps/desktops in the public cloud?

Entisys360 has a team of cloud certified architects and consultants who can help to review your environment in the public cloud for cost optimization.  Contact your Entisys360 Account Executive or sales@entisys360.com for more information on how Entisys360 can help you save money in the cloud!

Monthly cost before optimizations:

Cloud Cost Before Optimziation

Monthly cost after optimizations:

Cloud Cost After Optimziation