Rightsizing Cloud: Optimize Performance and Manage Costs

March 16, 2021

Rightsizing Cloud: Optimize Performance and Manage Costs – What is rightsizing? Rightsizing is an effective method to achieve cloud cost optimization across various cloud environments (public, private, hybrid). By continually matching cloud instance types and sizes to specific cloud workload capacity and performance requirements, cloud rightsizing is achieved. Especially in pay as you go public cloud environments like AWS, Azure and GCP with in-built autoscaling capabilities, effective rightsizing prevents over provisioning and idle instances.   

First, let’s discuss in detail the rightsizing of a cloud environment and subsequently dive into the benefits and best practices of cloud rightsizing.

Righsizing Cloud

Principles of Cloud Rightsizing

Rightsizing is the process of upgrading, downgrading, or terminating the cloud resources based on its utilization. This is done based on the type and size of the workload handled by that particular cloud resource or virtual machine. The type and size of the workload determines the required capacity of the virtual machine on your cloud. This helps to understand if you have to upgrade or downgrade your virtual server. Rightsizing is also dependent on the duration of utilization of your virtual machine. The active time period of your virtual machine determines if and when it has to be terminated. This helps in removing unnecessary cloud instances that are created to complete certain tasks. For example, your developers and testers would have created some instances to develop and test certain functionalities based on project requirements. These instances may not be used later. Such instances have to be terminated.

Importance of Rightsizing Cloud

The rightsizing of cloud is important because it helps in:

  1. Analyzing the right cloud infrastructure such as cloud servers, virtual machines, instances, and volumes for you based on the size of your on-premises infrastructure.
  2. Determining the efficiency and efficacy of your cloud.
  3. Continuous cloud monitoring of your cloud environment.
  4. Upgrading, downgrading, or terminating your cloud infrastructure based on its utilization and performance.
  5. Understanding your organization’s resource usage and pattern of resource usage.

Factors Leading to Wrong Sizing of Cloud

  1. Moving all the resources from on-premises server to cloud without analyzing their optimal on-premises resource usage.
  2. Over provisioning resulting from calculating the resources based on peak usage rather than average usage capacity.
  3. Over provisioning also results from assuming that their on-premises infrastructure is distributed properly.
  4. Failure to identify inefficient resources before migrating to the cloud.
  5. Due to time constraints some organization skips to right size their infrastructure. This helps in faster migration, but leads cost wastage until they right size their resources.
  6. Organizations underestimate the power of cloud resources. The cloud resources are more powerful and efficient than the on-premises servers. This leads to oversizing of cloud resources when the resource size is calculated based on on-premises resource size.

Benefits of Cloud Rightsizing

Rightsizing of cloud helps in:

  1. Reducing cost by saving up to 70% of your cloud cost.
  2. Improving performance and resource utilization.
  3. Providing better visibility and accountability of the resources used by the respective team.
  4. Optimizing usage of your cloud resources.
  5. Determining the number of cloud resources needed by your organization from time to time.
  6. Reducing the number of additional resources that you have added while migrating and provisioning your cloud space.
  7. Decluttering of your cloud environment.
  8. Estimating the monthly, quarterly, and annual cost that helps in planning your overall cloud budget.

Best Practices for Rightsizing of Cloud

You should not just consider cost as the main factor in rightsizing your cloud infrastructure. If you choose the least expensive option, your cloud infrastructure might face performance and availability risks. Instead, you have to consider the average usage of the resources along with the core metrics for the VMs. The core metrics for the VMs include vCPU utilization, network utilization, memory utilization, and disk use. You can’t downsize your VMs based on just vCPU utilization when the utilization of other metrics are on the higher side. If you do so, it will lead to poor performance of your VMs on the cloud.

The other best practices include:

  1. Estimating monthly costs that include compute cost and storage cost. This helps to plan your monthly, quarterly, and annual cloud cost.
  2. Right size the VMs because scaling up in a particular class of VM is limited. You must scale up your VM to the next class when your requirement changes. So, it is better to choose a VM that suits your business needs based on your near future requirements. This will prevent upgrading cost in the near future.
  3. Select the right storage based on your data. Classifying your data based on its confidentiality and criticality helps in storing highly critical data alone in the higher tier of data storage and less critical data in the lesser tier of data storage. Which in turn saves cost and protect your data as well.

Rightsizing Cloud Environment Strategies and Examples by AWS, Azure, and GCP

The most common strategy followed among all the cloud providers is to provide a range of instances to choose from based on your requirements. These VMs come in different combinations of CPU, disk capacity, memory, and network resources. They also provide tools to monitor and gauge the average resource utilization over a period of time to find out the right-sized instance required for your cloud environment.

AWS Rightsizing Recommendations

The rightsizing recommendations feature in AWS Cost Explorer and AWS Trusted Advisor are two useful tools to help manage cloud costs by identifying opportunities to right size cloud provisioning. These tools scan for underutilized EC2 instances in member accounts and help downsize or terminate them.

Azure Cloud Advisor

Azure Cloud Advisor is similar to AWS Trusted Advisor but for the Azure Cloud. It analyzes cloud resource and usage data to help make recommendations that help performance, cost, reliability and security of your Azure provisioning and deployments. The performance and cost recommendations specifically are targeted to help right size cloud usage.


Rightsizing of your cloud environment is essential to optimize performance and cost. This will help improve your operations, development, and testing activities. You can also serve your customer in a better way as all the VMs will perform at optimum level. AWS, Azure, and GCP provide many instances and innovative technology to help achieve rightsizing of your cloud environment.

For more information you can refer to the following articles:

  1. Top 6 Popular Cloud Monitoring and Management Tools to consider
  2. Cloud Monitoring Best Practices For Digital Platforms
  3. 7 Cloud Cost Optimization Challenges
  4. The 7 Pillars of Cloud Cost Optimization