There are three advantages of using public cloud: cloud elasticity, agility, and cost reduction. However – most public cloud users are not (yet!) achieving all three of these. While you may be aware if your costs are out of control, what you may not consider is how directly that’s tied to a misuse of the idea of “elasticity”.

The True Meaning of Cloud Elasticity

There’s a reason “elastic” is in the name of EC2 and EBS. Users can provision what they want, when they want it, to easily scale up to meet demand. This ability is what has fueled the explosion of agility and enabled experimentation and innovation.

But the other ingredient in elasticity is shrinking or turning off resources dynamically to meet demand, which is not nearly as easily achieved… and is often neglected. The problem with only being “half” elastic is fundamental to the purpose of the cloud.

When you let resources in one direction only – up – in the name of “elasticity”, you neglect the promise of the cloud: only pay for what you need. You’ll be slapped in the face with rising costs. And yes – we’ve seen this happen time and time again. Organizations find that those easily-provisioned resources stick around, clogging their environments with waste.

Knowledge is Power, but Not Always Action

A recent Turbonomic survey found that optimizing existing cloud resources for performance and cost was the #1 goal for cloud users this year. The fact that this came in at #1 shows us that there’s certainly awareness among cloud customers that this is a problem they need to solve.

This is not news to you. You’ve perhaps seen the bill. You may have dashboards slicing and dicing your cloud bill. But too often, those dashboards are simply something to pull up for pretty data (or ugly, as the case may be) to share in a team meeting. The knowledge doesn’t

We get it. We’re all busy. Our priorities in the workplace are always shifting, and honestly, it can be hard to make ✨achieving the promise of cloud elasticity✨ one of them. It’s definitely hard to make “reducing costs” one of them.

But here’s the thing: knowledge – like the visibility you gain from cost dashboards – is power.

In our experience, most people do not act on that power.

When Elasticity Goes Two Ways, You Can Optimize

What would it look like to take that knowledge and turn it into action?

You would truly only use the resources you need, when you need them. You would take advantage of public cloud’s usage-based pricing model, and achieve a cost-optimized environment.

And ideally, this would be automated – so the action just happens and you can spend your time on those more exciting benefits of cloud infrastructure: growing and innovating. When you eliminate wasted spend from your cloud environment, you open up your budget to achieve the business goals that really matter.

Read more: Have You Discovered the Business Benefits of Cloud Computing?