How to Save Your Cloud Budget with Service Credits

how to use cloud credits to save costs

In a hyper digitised world, almost every organisation leverages cloud technology. As more enterprises move their technological infrastructure up to the cloud, the fierce competition for their business will equal more savings for customers.

Google Cloud, for example, offers credits for potential customers to get a feel for their Google Cloud Platform for free. Like Google, both Amazon and Microsoft are also finding innovative ways to make it easy to get started. 

In this scenario, cloud companies offer what they believe are “sticky” services that users can try out for personal use or even as a proof-of-concept. While most of these services are provided with a spend and time limit, some cloud products are always free and do not count against your free cloud credits. 

The battle for your business creates many opportunities to save money (and sometimes you can save big!). However, startups and established enterprises must carefully explore ways to optimise the cloud balancing both cloud complexity and costs.

This isn’t always straightforward or cost-effective. The best-case scenario is to design your Cloud-native architecture to minimize costs as you move up to the cloud. 

How to save with AWS credits

Amazon Web Services or AWS, like other leading cloud services providers, offers a free trial to their cloud resources. This provides an excellent opportunity for companies to test different cloud services before making a commitment.

The AWS Free Tier has a variety of packages, but for the most part, you get a 30-day free trial or 250-750 hours of cloud computing.

AWS has a record of listening and working closely with their customers. So if you’re a startup struggling with rapidly rising cloud costs, it doesn’t hurt to ask Amazon for some credits.

According to George Batschinski, CEO and Founder of Back4App, the startup that didn’t have funding at the time, showed a business case to an AWS account manager about Google Cloud’s offer of $100,000 in credits. In response, AWS decided to match Google’s offer, and the startup was able to survive with its original cloud services provider.

Later, Back4App was also able to cut their AWS bill from $55,492/month to $20,074/month, achieving an annual savings of more than $500k.

Again, if you’re trying out a new AWS service, ask for credits from your AWS account manager. These credits will depend on your overall monthly expenses, your efforts for proof-of-concept implementations, and the company’s ability to accelerate deliveries within three months (while the credits are valid). 

How to save with Microsoft Azure credits

Microsoft Azure provides several ways to save money on cloud resources. In fact, there are substantial savings available to businesses willing to do their homework.

If you’re a Visual Studio subscriber, for example, you qualify for monthly Azure credits designed to encourage the testing of other Azure services. The number of credits on offer will depend on your type of monthly subscription.

If you sign up for the standard Visual Studio Enterprise subscription, your company is eligible for $150 in monthly credits. If you sign up through MSDN Platforms, you get $100 a month (Visual Studio Professional and Visual Studio Test Professional gets you $50 a month).

Azure also has a free trial for 12-months or a $200 credit to explore its cloud services over 30-days. Members of Microsoft Partner Network, especially those signed up with the Action Pack program, automatically qualify for $100 of Azure credits every month. 

Sign up to our Startup Growth Platform and save money on your software development and Cloud services without any compromise on your product quality!

These credits can be used any way you like across Azure services. The best part of this offer is that only a few usage scenarios will eat up your $100 credit. Furthermore, unused Azure credits are carried over every month (or can be transferred to other Azure subscriptions).

How to save with Google Cloud credits

Google Cloud offers a free trial to cloud resources. Over a predefined period, IT teams can test different Google Cloud services before committing. 

Google Cloud Free Tier can be broken down into two parts:

  1. $300 credit that can be used for any Google Cloud services over a 12-month free trial period
  2. Free (limited) access to several common Google Cloud resources

Before you sign up, it’s essential to read through the extensive list of eligibility requirements. For example, you’re only allowed to run eight cores or virtual CPUs at the same time. 

Furthermore, you’re not allowed to add GPUs to your VM instances, request a quota increase, or create VM instances based on Windows Server images.

Google Cloud products that fall under the “always free” category won’t count against your $300 free credit. If you’re happy with the experience, you can upgrade at any time during the 12-month free trial with the remaining credits applied to your bill.

Cloud companies also provide a variety of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that can be leveraged by businesses. There are two main remedies if an SLA is breached. 

The first relates to the accruing of service credits and the payment of penalties by reducing the number of billed charges. The second provides “service credits.”

Service credits are the percentage of applicable monthly service fees that can be claimed by customers. It’s a form of compensation for missed service commitments across their offering. However, these credits differ significantly across could services providers.

More cloud budget savings tips

Startup support

If your business is an early-stage startup, your startup accelerator, incubator, or Venture Capital firm might be able to get you up to $100,000 in credit. However, it’ll come at a cost as you’ll have to part with a significant portion of equity.

Startups can also take advantage of credits and trials offered by Microsoft Azure, and the like to explore their options extensively.

Vendor promotions and events

It can pay off to keep track of vendor promotions and events. Occasionally, these events can help your company score cloud credits that are much higher than what’s on offer, all-year-around. 

A few years ago, Cloudflare, for example, offered app developers $3,000 to $100,000 of credit for Google Cloud Platform for one year at no cost. So keeping an eye on these promotions by simply setting up a Google Alert could save you a ton of cash.

Make cutting cloud-costs a routine

Create a cloud culture in your organisation where reducing cloud-costs is part of your daily routine. The amount of time you invest will depend on the size of your company. 

For a medium to large enterprise, this could equal one to two hours a day. As every little helps, these savings could add up to a significant number by Christmas time.

Shut down or reduce unused instances and resources

One of the best ways to control your spending is to shut down unused instances. Whenever you depend on oversized resources, correct size, reduce the instance size, and increase the instance size when needed.

You can also save up to 70% by reserving an instance. However, it’s vital to note that you’ll be liable for 24/7 utilisation during the whole reserved period.

Shop around!

While the deal you got today might be the best in the marketplace, things can change in six months or a year. So it’ll help to always keep an eye on the new deals offered by different cloud vendors. Who knows, you might even save your company thousands of pounds in the new year.

As you can see from above, cloud budget savings start with free trials and cloud credits. However, to keep getting the biggest bang for your buck, you have to manage your cloud resources efficiently and have your finger on the pulse of the cloud market.

As a bespoke software house that’s been in business for more than 13 years, we have built solid know-how for cost-saving in Cloud as well as Cloud-native architecture. We know a lot of cost-saving tricks and workarounds that your internal tech leadership may not be aware of due to their daily routine or lack of experience.

At Evolve, we've developed a unique value proposition for startups looking to build a high-quality yet cost-effective digital product.

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