As major cloud providers (AWS, Azure, Google, and IBM) continue to drop the prices of cloud instances, they have added discounting options, added instances, and dropped the billing increments, in some cases, to per second billing. Costs come down, but complexity increases. Understanding how to navigate this complexity is critically important. We estimate that companies will waste more than on their cloud spend.

So how do you begin to understand cloud costs? Which providers have the lowest cost options?

This primer provides the information you need to know to understand public cloud pricing options and optimize your cloud spend.

What’s changed in cloud instance prices

When you follow cloud pricing closely, you see how often things change. There have been a large number of changes in pricing for cloud instances in 2017 alone. Here is a quick summary.