How to keep cloud costs at bay in 2021

Johannesburg, 02 Feb 2021
Read time 3min 20sec
Nebula CTO, Andre Witte
Nebula CTO, Andre Witte

For most companies, going digital means moving to the cloud. While the benefits of cloud are clear, what many business leaders don’t realise is that tracking cloud expenses and keeping costs under control can be tricky. As part of our global expansion, Nebula CTO Andre Witte moved to Amsterdam to help European businesses make the move to cloud, without the risks. He recently chatted about cloud cost trends, explaining how Nebula can help companies accelerate their digital transformation efforts and empower IT teams to better control their technology spend.

“We have experience with mobile data being very expensive in South Africa. So you encounter situations where you have unexpected bursts of usage. This is how you end up with a shocking bill, one which you only know about two or three days later, when it’s too late to do anything about it,” he said.

“We notice European companies run into similar situations we recognise from South Africa, where bill shock is a real risk. The way we work with mobile data back home translates very well to the cloud here. That is something European companies can take advantage of straight away.”

COVID-19 and the rise of cloud

While 2020 may seem like an interesting time to expand overseas, Witte said the move was driven by changes in the market. The usage of cloud components across Nebula’s existing client base increased tenfold as offline businesses moved online. But with this move comes a decision – do you buy your own servers or move to host your apps in the cloud? As the year progressed, Nebula found that the latter was the preferred option.

“We noticed a shift in budget funds moving from cloud infrastructure migrations to app modernisation and more digital projects that were leveraging the cloud. This introduces a lot of complexity in cost management as, in general, PaaS cost and consumption forecasting and tracking are a lot more complex than infrastructure.”

This means it can be a challenge to keep track of cloud costs. “Providers are giving you more visibility around your cloud costs; the billing is more transparent. But the products themselves are now more complex. Seeing 100 000 lines of data, you have to know what to look out for.” So much so that one almost needs to be a cloud solution architect to understand it all, he suggested. “You need to have a degree on just that one thing. Turning on one feature can have a massive impact. CFOs are looking at the bills, while architects know more about the infrastructure and where the costs come from.”

To get European enterprises up to speed with cloud usage and expenditure trends, Witte hosted a webinar at the end of 2020 and highlighted the value of training. During the webinar, he explained why it’s so important to understand how cloud resources are deployed, how they are used and how they work. According to Witte, this understanding allows you to design and use different components more effectively.

Another important cloud cost trend, noted Witte, is the rise in availability of smaller cloud service providers (CSPs). These flexible ‘licensing’ programmes are so appealing because they’re based on monthly subscriptions. “Typically, you’d buy licences for Microsoft software yearly, and from other larger resellers, not from smaller CSPs. With these perpetual licences, clients can pay monthly and change or adjust their package monthly. So CSPs that are typically overlooked by enterprises will now come into focus. It’s a big game-changer,” he says.

Visit for more on Nebula’s cloud cost management solutions. 

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