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How DevOps Can Create a Culture That Prioritizes Cost Optimization

Jacob Simkovich

Brand and Content Manager, Intel Granulate

The nature of the DevOps methodology is to increase an organization’s ability to deliver software in the most efficient way possible. This has a knock-on effect throughout the entire business but also sets the stage for best practices that prioritize cost optimization. In fact, according to the State of DevOps Report, the most highly evolved teams are able to deploy whenever they want, make changes within an hour, and reduce the failure rate of changes to less than 5%. 

All of this has an impact on cost. When you can automate these process improvements, costs can be optimized even further. By reducing failure rates, improving lead times, and getting updates out quickly, the organization saves money on developer time, customer support, and more. When a business begins to prioritize efficiency and optimization in this way, it creates a culture that has all employees thinking about how they can improve.

Cloud Optimization

How DevOps Can Improve Cost Optimization

When it comes to developing and releasing new applications, DevOps helps in three ways: time, quality and performance. Whether it’s through decreasing loads on a server, improving response times, or automating repetitive processes, a DevOps team can drastically reduce time to market.

This reduces server costs, saves developer time, and may even reduce the need for freelance developer support during busy periods. On top of this, a quicker time to market means the application can not only become profitable almost immediately, but changes and updates can also be made more quickly.

As well as reducing the cost of maintaining legacy systems and increasing the efficiency of available resources, optimization also reduces customer service costs too. For example, if a newly launched application has a bug, customer service staff could be inundated with inquiries until it’s fixed. For companies with less developed DevOps teams, this could take weeks to resolve — all the while leaving the customer support team to answer the same questions.

With a more mature DevOps team and a company culture that prioritizes cost optimization, developers can deliver updates more quickly. This saves on the costs associated with running a customer support team, as well as reducing the amount of churn from unhappy users.

With improved performance, applications are able to run with more stability and resiliency, while delivering at a faster pace and with fewer resources. Between this combination of increase throughput, faster job completion time and lower CPU utilization, application performance optimization allow DevOps teams to reduce costs while meeting SLAs and improving user experience.

How to Establish Successful Cost Optimization Practices

Cost optimization goes beyond simply thinking about different areas that need to be streamlined, it should be built into different areas of the business. 

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Set clear goals

Cost optimization goes beyond the realm of DevOps. In fact, it sits at the intersection of FinOps, architecture, and traditional operations, as such it should be worked into the strategic goals of the business as a whole.

Empower developers

Encouraging employees to look for ways to optimize processes and cut costs helps a business to find areas for improvement that might otherwise be overlooked. Give employees the tools and processes needed to make these suggestions to those at the top who might only be able to see the big picture.

Nominate cost optimization champions

Within each team, a nominated champion can ensure there’s always someone keeping cost optimization at the forefront of the team’s work. These individuals can communicate the importance of optimization to others while also identifying opportunities that could bring a boost to efficiency or a reduction in costs.

Use data

Data is powerful and it can support business leaders in making decisions. For example, if you can see from your data that a particular database partition is running out of memory, this could tell you that you need to optimize your query patterns — as opposed to simply paying out for a larger database.

Track your progress

It’s only possible to tell if you’ve successfully optimized costs if you’re tracking that progress. While tracking outgoings is a good start, these will fluctuate as the business grows. Instead, look at how the costs for specific services and teams have changed, as well as how much time has been saved by automating processes.

Cost Optimization KPIs Depend on Cloud Operational and Architectural Maturity

Organizations with good cloud operational and architectural maturity will better be able to manage resources and see opportunities to optimize usage. This is because more evolved DevOps teams are able to deploy more frequently, reduce lead times, minimize change failure rate, and increase deployment success rate — all KPIs you should be measuring when it comes to cost optimization.

Cloud Optimization

All these metrics are based on a mature system that’s already well-optimized. For example, an organization running cloud-based servers is going to have quicker access to relevant databases than those who are still running siloed legacy systems. 

Organizations with high levels of maturity are able to make better use of their resources in order to avoid bottlenecks and many will use additional tools to help keep on top of this. One such solution is Granulate, which provides DevOps teams with autonomous, continuous optimization on the application level.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how Granulate can help your DevOps team with cost optimization, book a demo here.

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