Dear Dr. Cloud,


My datacenter is entering that post-thanksgiving period of overeating remorse. I feel like every cloud service has piled too many resources onto its plate and is now feeling guilty for that second helping of storage. How can we slim down, and nip this seasonal resource gluttony in the bud? If it helps as motivation, we’re going to need those resources free for some holiday sales ramp up soon!


-Overeating in Omaha


Dear Overeating,


It’s a common problem. Cloud services get provisioned with WAY too many resources and before you know it, you’ve got a million empty storage luns and you’re wondering why you took on so much. It seems like such a good idea at the time. And as always, you worry that if you don’t take a piece of the pecan pie, there won’t be any left.


Truth is, it takes a while to learn that there is always some left in the cloud. That’s the point. What’s even harder is to understand portion control. Why? Because without the reference point of your standard 10-inch dinner plate, cloud services have no standard serving sizes. But, just like dieting, if you have a smaller plate, you might eat less. So, how can we fix this problem of eyes bigger than stomach?


  • Consider translating resources and services to common portion sizes. Rather than 100GB, maybe say “enough storage for 1000 typical health records”
  • Offer seconds. At the time of provisioning, remind your users that they can always come back for more.
  • You touch it, you pay for it. Consider different pricing models, if you have a chargeback model internally. Maybe folks would slim down their requests if they paid by their request-size rather than their utilization.


Watching your weight is hard work, regardless of the domain – but just like weight loss, cloud service capacity is an activity best pursued in groups. Everyone can do this  - they just need to be given the tools to succeed!



Dr. Cloud answers cloudy questions on Tuesdays (or when he's late, Wednesdays). To reach the good doctor, email