3 Easy Steps to Lower Your Cloud Bill With Automation

Cloud computing has revolutionized how businesses operate, offering incredible scalability, flexibility, and accessibility. However, the costs can quickly stack up if not managed appropriately. Today, we’re going to share three simple steps to cut down your cloud expenses, and the secret ingredient here is automation.

1. Identify and Eliminate Waste through Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

First and foremost, identifying waste is crucial in reducing your cloud expenses. This involves a thorough understanding of your resources, their usage, and the ability to track any inefficiencies.

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a game-changer in this regard. IaC tools, such as Terraform and CloudFormation, allow you to programmatically manage and provision your cloud infrastructure. Instead of manually setting up and configuring resources, you write code that automates these processes. This not only makes your infrastructure setup more efficient and repeatable, but it also offers several advantages in identifying and eliminating waste:

Efficient Tracking and Management

IaC tools can help you keep track of all your resources, providing a centralized view of your cloud environment. You can use these tools to define your infrastructure requirements, monitor their usage, and detect any instances of over-provisioning or under-utilization. If a resource is idle or not performing as expected, it’s easy to identify and address.

Consistency and Standardization

With IaC, you can maintain consistency and standardization across your infrastructure. It ensures that every resource is configured in the most efficient manner, adhering to your defined parameters, reducing the risk of incurring unnecessary costs due to inconsistencies or misconfigurations.

Resource Optimization

IaC tools allow you to use templates or modules to create and manage resources. You can design these templates to adhere to best practices for cost optimization, ensuring that every new resource provisioned is as cost-effective as possible.

Simplified Infrastructure Changes

With IaC, making changes to your infrastructure is as simple as updating your code. This means you can quickly scale down resources or decommission them altogether when they’re not in use, helping to avoid the cost of unused resources.


The principle of IaC aligns perfectly with automation. You can use these tools in combination with continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines to automate the creation, management, and decommissioning of resources, ensuring you’re always using (and paying for) only what you need.

Action Steps:

  • Implement Infrastructure as Code practices using tools such as Terraform, or CloudFormation.
  • Regularly review your infrastructure code to identify and remove any unused resources.
  • Automate infrastructure updates through a CI/CD pipeline to ensure optimal usage and prevent waste.
  • Use IaC tools to standardize and optimize your resource provisioning, eliminating the risk of over-provisioning and under-utilization.
  • Include alerts to notify you of sudden cost increases or underutilized resources in your IaC.

2. Leverage Autoscaling

One of the key benefits of cloud computing is its scalability. But if you’re manually scaling your resources up and down based on demand, you’re not fully harnessing this power.

Autoscaling, a feature offered by most cloud providers, can help you automatically adjust resources based on the real-time needs of your applications. It eliminates the need for guesswork, reduces waste, and can significantly cut down your cloud bill.

Action Steps:

  • Implement autoscaling for your cloud applications. Make sure to properly configure the scaling policies to avoid unnecessary costs.
  • Monitor your autoscaling activities regularly to ensure they’re working as expected.

3. Optimize Your Storage

Storage can be a significant portion of your cloud bill. Most cloud providers offer several storage types, each with its own cost structure. Using the right type of storage for each task can help you optimize costs.

For example, storing infrequently accessed data in hot storage can be a wasteful practice. Instead, you can automate the process of moving this data to cold storage, which is much cheaper.

Action Steps:

  • Review your data access patterns and automate data lifecycle management. Use tools provided by your cloud provider or third-party solutions.
  • Regularly check for orphaned or unused data and automate its deletion.


Cutting down your cloud bill goes beyond mere cost-saving; it’s about optimizing your resources and implementing efficient practices. As we’ve highlighted, these processes can be straightforward, but they require continuous monitoring and hands-on management, which can quickly become overwhelming. This is where the true power of automation and Infrastructure as Code (IaC) shines.

By employing automation, you save invaluable time, increase operational efficiency, and minimize human error. Incorporating IaC allows you to programmatically control your cloud infrastructure, bringing about an enhanced level of standardization, consistency, and efficiency. Not only does this enable you to identify and eliminate waste, but it also allows for strategic, data-driven decision-making about your cloud usage.

The journey to cost optimization in the cloud is unique for each organization. It involves constantly assessing your practices and adjusting where necessary. With automation and IaC, you’re better equipped to take control of this journey, making a significant impact on your cloud bills and your budget.

Use HAProxy to improve availability - A Simple introduction

HAProxy is an open-source project [http://www.haproxy.org/] that allows you to implement a high performance TCP/HTTP(S) load balancer without paying for dedicated hardware like F5, Cisco or Barracuda and the licences attached to it. HAProxy implements a very large feature set and is a very good fit for both low and high load scenarios where you want or need to implement high availability.

First things first – What is Load balancing?

Load balancing is a technique used to allow load distribution between several application servers.

This technique will allow you to spread the load of the application between multiple servers, thus, reducing reliance on a single server and improving performance. This brings multiple advantages, such as:

  • Performance – Spread the load between servers
  • Scaling horizontally and not vertically – Add more servers (more)
  • Reliability – By using two or more application servers
  • Serviceability – You can take servers down for patching without downtime

How does HAProxy work?

On a very high level, HAProxy acts as the entry point to your service [service is anything you need to load balance, like your web application]. This single entry point will be responsible for forwarding your traffic to the server(s) you declared to be responsible for serving that traffic. This is way easier to understand if you use an example so let’s jump right into it:

You have an HTTP application that returns the hostname of the server it is running on [dumb application but effective to show load-balancing]. Let’s see how this would look like:

Image 1 — A Very Simple HAProxy example

In this simple case [Image 1] we implement one HAProxy server as an entry point to our application servers. This means, if we want someone to reach our application, we need to provide them with the HAProxy server IP address.

Let’s look at how this looks like in terms of HAProxy config:

mode http
frontend main *:80
default_backend app
backend app
balance roundrobin
server appA check
server appB check

What this means:

First, lets define what a “frontend” and a “backend” are:

  • Frontend is an HAProxy concept to represent the entrypoints for HAProxy. A frontend defines the IP addresses and ports HAProxy listens for client traffic to forward to your application
  • Backends are the servers that serve your application: Nginx, Apache, IIS, Tomcat and so on.

Our config file implements the scenario we described above:

  • One entry point: a frontend, named main, that listens on all IP addresses, on port 80
  • One set of servers that can handle that traffic: a backend, named app, made of a couple of servers [appA and appB] which will be listening on their respective IP addresses, on port 5000. We are also stating we want to check that each server is able to get traffic — the ‘check’ entry

This will give us a “cool” app we can query using our HAProxy entry point, getting a response from each of the servers:

exoawk@pc-1: http
HTTP/1.0 200 OK
Connection: keep-alive
Content-Length: 8
Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2020 00:42:14 GMT
Server: Werkzeug/1.0.1 Python/2.7.5
Server B
exoawk@pc-1: http
HTTP/1.0 200 OK
Connection: keep-alive
Content-Length: 8
Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2020 00:43:25 GMT
Server: Werkzeug/1.0.1 Python/2.7.5
Server A

Here is what happened here:

Image 2- Step-by-step for the requests

This is just a very simple example but HAProxy is used in various, much more complex, scenarios. Here are a few examples:

  • You can setup HAProxy to redirect your visitor from HTTP to HTTPS — This has become more and more important as browsers are now marking HTTP traffic as unsafe
  • HAProxy can be used to balance requests across various servers using other strategies like hot/cold or least connection to help balance the load in other ways
  • TCP load-balancing is also easy to achieve with HAProxy so you can use it to sit in front of your email server or database servers with the right settings. Even for those who require a master/slave config

We will come back to this in the future to show how HAProxy can implement these, and other architectures. Stay tuned!

If you are dabbling with reliability and scaling issues and want some help reach out to: hello@exoawk.com we are always more than happy to do so!