Cloud IT Infrastructure – Common Customer Complaints & Solutions

After practicing server administration and DevOps for over 15 years, I am surprised that the complaints are still the same today as when I started. The most common customer complaints can vary depending on the cloud platform or hosting architecture. However, I have listed the most frequently reported issues and possible resolutions below:

1) Web Portal / Mobile Application Loading Slow

When customers access their cloud-hosted web or mobile applications, it takes ages to finish loading, or they see 50x errors. To improve web application/API performance, one can follow different strategies depending on their hosting architecture as follows:

Latency: Network latency can affect application performance. Ensure that you have chosen a cloud region that is nearest to your users.

Caching: Implement server-side caching mechanisms (e.g., Nginx Proxy Cache) to reduce the load on your server and speed up content delivery. You may need to carefully analyze this option depending on your use case, as proxy cache is not suitable for web applications that primarily serve dynamic or personalized content.

Load Balancing: Distribute incoming traffic across multiple servers using load balancers like Nginx or cloud-based load balancers to prevent overloading a single server.

Content Compression: Enable content compression (gzip) to reduce the size of data sent from the server to the client, improving page load times.

Implement HTTP/3: Upgrade to the latest HTTP protocol – QUIC to take advantage of improved multiplexing and reduced latency for faster content delivery.

Connection Handling: Optimize how your server handles connections. Configure the maximum number of concurrent connections, keep-alive timeouts, and connection reuse settings.

Server Resource Allocation: Properly allocate CPU, memory, and disk resources to your web server based on expected traffic and workload. Monitor resource usage and scale up as needed.

Database Optimization: Optimize database queries, use indexing, and consider database caching mechanisms (e.g., Redis or Memcached) to reduce the load on the database server.

Content Minification: Minify HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files to reduce their size and decrease load times. Tools like UglifyJS, Terser, and CSSNano can help with this.

Content Delivery: Serve static content (images, CSS, JavaScript) from a CDN (e.g., Cloudflare or Cloudfront) to offload these resources from your web server and reduce latency.

Security Measures: Implement security best practices like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular security audits to protect your server from attacks that could impact performance.

2) Server Outages

Many times, we receive panicked calls complaining that the applications are intermittently inaccessible. Intermittent outages can result from various factors such as traffic spikes or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. To improve the availability of your web application, you could take the following actions:

Traffic Spikes: A sudden increase in website traffic, such as during a viral marketing campaign or media coverage, can overwhelm the hosting infrastructure. If you are expecting a traffic spike due to a marketing campaign, please discuss it with your server administrator and request the allocation of appropriate resources during this period. You could also add more servers and distribute the traffic equally among them instead of overloading a single server.

DDoS Attacks: If you are certain that your web/mobile application does not have a lot of traffic but still experiences frequent outages, it may be due to bot or DDoS attacks. You can confirm this by analyzing your web server log files. The web server log files usually contain the requester’s IP address, user agent, and the URL they are requesting. By analyzing this information, you can determine whether you are receiving a lot of traffic from a single IP address or if someone is sending repeated requests to a particular API endpoint. If this is the case, you could implement rate limiting within your web server or configure a web application firewall to protect your server from these attacks.

3) High Cloud Costs

Customers are often surprised to receive a high cloud platform bill, expecting it to be half or even less than half of the actual cloud invoice for a particular month. Several reasons can contribute to these elevated expenses. Here are some potential reasons why customers might incur high cloud costs:

Resource Over-provisioning:
Running instances with more CPU, memory, or storage capacity than necessary.

Idle Resources:
Leaving unused or underutilised resources running, such as instances, databases, or storage.

Lack of Auto-Scaling:
Not implementing auto-scaling policies to dynamically adjust resources based on demand, leading to overprovisioning during peak times.

Data Transfer Costs:
High costs associated with transferring data in and out of the cloud, especially if data volumes are substantial.

Suboptimal Resource Sizing:
Using the wrong instance types or storage options for specific workloads, resulting in inefficient resource utilization.

Complex Pricing Models:
Not fully understanding the cloud provider’s pricing structure, leading to unexpected charges.

Uncontrolled Storage Growth:
Failing to implement policies for data retention, versioning, and cleanup, causing storage costs to escalate.

Inefficient Data Transfer:
High network costs due to inefficient data transfer patterns, such as excessive inter-region or inter-zone communication.

Unmanaged Snapshots and Backups:
Not properly managing snapshots and backup schedules, resulting in unnecessary storage costs.

Reserved Instance or Savings Plan Mismanagement:
Not leveraging reserved instances or savings plans effectively to obtain discounts on long-term commitments.

Inadequate Cost Monitoring:
Failing to regularly monitor and analyze cost reports and usage patterns to identify cost-saving opportunities.

Lack of Cost Accountability:
Not assigning cost ownership to teams or departments, leading to overspending without accountability.

Third-Party Service Costs:
Using third-party services or marketplace solutions without closely monitoring their associated costs.

Inadequate Cost Optimization Strategies:
Not implementing cost optimization best practices such as rightsizing, tagging, and cost allocation.

The above are some of the most common complaints raised by customers who run their workloads on cloud platforms. At Server Pundits, we take these situations into consideration when setting up a new cloud IT infrastructure so that our customers don’t need to worry about them at a later stage. You can contact Server Pundits if you need similar solutions or assistance in setting up cloud IT infrastructure at affordable rates.

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