It should come as no surprise that Amalgam Insights believes that any organization supporting fast-growing cloud ecosystems must oversee those resources with proven software and/or managed or professional services. After all, the benefits typically outweigh any drawbacks executives might associate with partnering with yet another third-party provider. In fact, organizations spending more than $1 million each year on cloud infrastructure and platforms as a service are prime candidates for adopting cloud cost management and optimization solutions
Indeed, not doing so jeopardizes financial, operational, strategic, and governance initiatives. In the face of a global recession, the thread of double-digit inflation, and ongoing investor and executive pressure, controlling costs and making the most of technology will become even more of an imperative. And at a time when cloud computing costs often dwarf the net profit of an organization, rationalizing cloud costs can produce meaningful bottom-line results.
To that end, dozens of vendors specialize in providing software, tools, and services for managing and adjusting cloud computing resources. In some cases, they also deliver related managed services. However, choosing from among the multitude of possibilities does not present an easy task. Amalgam Insights has done the hard work so organizations may understand what makes one vendor different from another. Starting Sept. 15, we will publish a range of vendor profiles. That way, through our series on cloud cost management and optimization, and our report, Control Your Cloud: Selecting Cloud Cost Management in the Face of Recession, end users can gain the knowledge to make the ideal and differentiated choice.
In previous installments in our series on cloud cost management and optimization, we have covered why organizations need to implement these practices and pointed out the features that make vendors sound the same. Now it is time to understand five major differentiators that actually set providers apart from one another.
1. Automated Orchestration for Cloud Workloads
Some platforms automate the tasks that manage workload connections and operations, both on private and public clouds. This is important for easily enabling processes tied to specific workflows and business functions. Such software also provides automated, role-based accesses; this helps organizations better meet security and compliance requirements. And, finally, automated orchestration delivers cost savings — via greater efficiency — that likely will exceed the IT Rule of 30.
Recall, that Amalgam Insights’ IT Rule of 30 states that every unmanaged IT subscription spend category — cloud, mobility, telecom, SaaS, you name it — averages 30% in waste. If the organization spends, say, $1 million a year on technology subscriptions that are not proactively managed, odds are that $300,000 of that is going out the door unnecessarily. In other words, that money amounts to salaries and/or cash that could (should) have been conserved.
Accordingly, automated orchestration for cloud workloads features a great deal of capabilities that contributes to goals for spending wisely and saving money.
2. Budgeting Sources and Forecasting
IT and finance leaders need to understand cloud spending so they can adjust infrastructure and services and forecast accurately. These have grown into even more critical requirements as the world emerges from COVID-19 and faces a global recession. Therefore, Amalgam Insights recommends that companies with little to no experience in managing cloud expenses, accounting, and finance incorporate principles and best practices from organizations focused on cloud cost optimization such as the FinOps Foundation, an industry association that has focused on financial operations for cloud infrastructure and platform.
With that in mind, one of the key capabilities to look for in cloud management software itself is the ability to perform continuous cost optimization. This must be an automated process that scales applications, instances, storage buckets, and other cloud resources to avoid over-provisioning and reduce waste. We say the process must be automated because there are too much data and resources for any human to track manually.
In addition, this automated process needs to happen on a constant basis, ideally meaning multiple updates per day based on real-time usage. Cloud workloads change so quickly that IT and finance need near-real-time visibility and alerts. This way, IT can make adjustments on the fly while finance gleans the information it needs for accurate budgeting and forecasting.
Organizations benefit the most from cloud management and optimization platforms that deliver continuous, rather than intermittent, optimization.
3. Continuous Kubernetes Container Optimization
Similar to the section above, organizations using container management such as Kubernetes will require continuous optimization. It’s too easy for Kubernetes clusters to be over-provisioned, lie idle, or go unmanaged altogether.
Furthermore, a lack of oversight potentially sets the stage for the organization to fall out of compliance with governmental regulations and corporate policies.
Continuous optimization applied to Kubernetes resources, in specific, will support an organization’s goals for trimming or eliminating waste and for shoring up compliance requirements.
4. Depth of Data to Support Machine Learning
Remember, IT and developers aren’t the only leaders who need to know what’s going on with the organization’s cloud environment. Other line-of-business heads — think finance, procurement, operations, even human resources — need visibility, too, for strategic decision-making. Cloud cost management is a team exercise with the cloud cost or FinOps manager as the hub of a center of excellence to support cloud resources.
This is where it becomes more vital that the cloud cost management and optimization platform gets feedback from the various inputs to improve recommendations over time.
5. Proprietary Intellectual Property
Finally, another differentiator among cloud cost management and optimization platforms comes in the intellectual property on which it’s built. Organizations with proprietary technology may have unique advantages in supporting and optimizing cost and may be able to prevent other vendors from pursuing a similar course of action. Organizations may experience tradeoffs between cost management and application performance or pursue more rapid cloud updates across hybrid cloud environments.
With this blog, and the previous four, Amalgam Insights has explained the need for cloud cost management and optimization, discussed the challenges in front of organizations, presented the areas in which vendors come off as similar, and why, and, here, identified true differentiators. The remainder of this blog series will focus on our profiles of 10 Distinguished Vendors. These independent assessments show how each company sets itself apart from the crowd. These evaluations will come in immensely handy for end users and resellers trying to solve cloud cost management issues. Expect the first profile on Sept. 15.
Need More Guidance Now?
Check out Amalgam Insights’ new Vendor SmartList report, Control Your Cloud: Selecting Cloud Cost Management in the Face of Recession, available for purchase. If you want to discuss your Cloud Cost Management challenges, please feel free to schedule time with us.