Cloud sprawl: manage and prevent uncontrolled cloud growth


Cloud computing has become integral to modern business, providing scalable and flexible solutions for various tech needs. However, with the boom of cloud services, there’s arrived a new problem: cloud sprawl.

Cloud sprawl is more than a mere inconvenience; it can lead to significant cost overruns and management nightmares. Below we explore what cloud sprawl is, why it occurs, and how to prevent it.

What is cloud sprawl?

Cloud sprawl is the uncontrolled increase of cloud resources, services, and instances within an organization. It happens when an organization neglects to oversee or track its cloud environment.

If left unchecked, it can lead to serious issues, including:

  • Increased costs: more cloud resources mean more expenses. This can be particularly problematic if these resources are underutilized or unnecessary.
  • Complexity: managing a large number of services can become complex and time-consuming.
  • Security risks: uncontrolled expansion can lead to vulnerabilities if not adequately secured, potentially exposing sensitive data.
  • Compliance challenges: keeping track of all cloud instances and ensuring that they adhere to regulatory requirements can be difficult in a sprawling cloud environment.
    Operational inefficiencies: managing a large number of disorganized cloud resources can lead to operational headaches and reduce overall efficiency.

What causes cloud sprawl

  • Lack of governance: without proper rules and processes, users can easily create cloud instances without understanding the overall impact on cost and security.
  • Decentralized management: if each department or team manages its own cloud resources independently, it may lead to duplicate resources and increased complexity.
  • Rapid deployment: the ability to quickly launch cloud instances can lead to the creation of more resources than necessary if not managed with care.


How to prevent cloud sprawl

  1. Implement a cloud governance strategy: creating a clear set of rules and processes for the use of cloud resources helps ensure that they are used wisely.
  2. Centralize cloud management: establishing a centralized team or using a cloud management platform to oversee all cloud resources helps in maintaining consistency and avoiding duplication.
  3. Monitor usage and costs: regularly reviewing cloud resource usage and costs helps identify underutilized or unnecessary instances.
  4. Establish clear communication channels: ensure that teams and departments communicate and coordinate their cloud needs to prevent duplication and inefficiencies.
  5. Use automation and orchestration tools: automation can help manage the lifecycle of cloud resources, ensuring that unnecessary instances are terminated, and resources are allocated optimally.
  6. Employee education: educating employees about the consequences of cloud sprawl and the importance of proper cloud management can foster responsible usage.
  7. Implement chargeback and showback models: by attributing costs to departments or teams, organizations can encourage accountability and responsible usage.



As companies expand their cloud infrastructure, they often encounter the issue of cloud sprawl. This can result in inefficiencies and potential risks if left unaddressed.

However, by establishing strong governance, centralized management, and ongoing monitoring, organizations can prevent cloud sprawl, reduce costs, and ensure that their resources are aligned with their objectives. This approach helps to regulate and maximize the benefits of using the cloud in a controlled and advantageous manner.

Do you have questions about optimizing your cloud costs? Let Revolgy help you! Contact us to schedule a free consultation.