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How to optimize your cloud infrastructure for 2023

Annual planning processes are in full swing as growing economic headwinds continue to impact businesses across industries. While many teams are experiencing budget cuts and hiring freezes, Gartner found that four out of five CEOs are increasing digital technology investments, placing bets that investing in the right types of technology can decrease the overall cost of doing business. DigitalOcean’s own Currents report also found that 85% of startups and SMBs believe investing in technology helps future-proof businesses. At the same time, Gartner reported that more than half of digital initiatives fall behind leadership expectations, with 59% taking too long to complete and 52% taking too long to realize value.

Technology leaders setting strategies for 2023 must balance short-term gains with long-term goals, delivering quick results for the bottom line without sacrificing the long-term technical vision. Optimizing cloud infrastructure costs and performance is a good place to start. Technology leaders have the unique opportunity to make their organizations move faster and run leaner by bringing agility to their infrastructure, ultimately freeing up both team members’ time and money in the budget. Leaders can then reallocate that time and cost savings to strategic business priorities.

Leaders seeking to optimize cloud performance can ask these key questions of their providers and their teams:

How can infrastructure costs be lower and more predictable?

As organizations grow, so do their cloud costs. Because cloud providers commonly bill by the hour or second and users are only charged for what they use, bills can fluctuate quite a bit from month to month. High bandwidth costs can lead to unexpected surges in pricing during peak traffic, making planning on an annual basis difficult at best. Bills for cloud services can be complex, so it’s worth asking the cloud provider to review both average costs and unexpected costs or overages. These conversations can enable teams to identify areas where performance can be optimized for cost. For example, if there are periods of high utilization and then periods of lower utilization, it’s likely that computing power may be underutilized during low utilization periods. Dynamic loads may benefit from automation like Kubernetes, ultimately saving the team time and cutting operation costs.

How can we make infrastructure easier to manage?

Every team battles technical debt and legacy processes. By evaluating the organization’s architecture internally and with providers, teams can identify areas where processes can be improved. Explore options for fully managed services through your cloud provider, and weigh the time savings with the likely additional cost of implementation. If internal teams weren’t bogged down with infrastructure maintenance, are there high-value initiatives they could work on instead? Additionally, internal teams can provide feedback on bottlenecks or cultural issues slowing down processes. Improvements in these areas can have a ripple effect across the organization.

How can we increase stability and reliability for our customers?

The potential for revenue growth—or loss—based on load times and application uptime is significant. Increasing the stability of your application can have an outsized impact on revenue performance for your organization. Evaluate the cloud provider’s Service Level Agreement (SLA) to ensure that it fits the organization’s needs, but don’t stop there. Confirm that data backups, network load balancing, autoscaling, failovers, and other fail-safe mechanisms suit the needs of your business. Internally, identify areas where resilience can be improved and prioritize improvements.

Are there ways to reduce development time with automation?

Cloud computing enables development teams to move faster, and automation takes those improvements a step further. Implementing things like Git for version control, CI/CD pipelines for quick updates, and Infrastructure as Code (IaC) for provisioning resources can free up significant time for teams. If they understand the business needs and goals, cloud providers should be able to recommend best practices for automation. Implementing these processes can help teams quickly resolve bugs, release new features, and, most importantly, provide a better customer experience.

Casting a vision for the business

Once teams have identified areas for optimization in the current architecture, leaders can lay the foundation for what’s possible. Communicate with leadership on anticipated value and timeframes, and work across the organization to establish priorities. By developing a clear strategy for technology investments and prioritizing the investments that deliver business value, technology leaders can cast a technical vision for their organization that excites teams in 2023.

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