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Cloud Cost Management Vendor Profile: IBM Turbonomic

Amalgam Insights continues to present its list of Distinguished Vendors for Cloud Cost and Optimization Management. This matters because analysts assessed nearly 30 providers for this effort; only a third were able to demonstrate genuine differentiators and approaches that satisfied Amalgam Insights’ requirements for achieving Distinguished Vendor status. To that point, we already have posted profiles on SADA, Spot by NetApp, Apptio Cloudability, Yotascale, Kion, and CAST AI . We next discuss IBM Turbonomic.

WHY IBM TURBONOMIC FOR CLOUD COST AND OPTIMIZATION MANAGEMENT

  • Focus on application performance, which leads to savings
  • Platform configuration is automated, saving IT time and effort during deployment
  • Software learns from organizations’ actions, so recommendations improve over time

ABOUT IBM TURBONOMIC

IBM Turbonomic is an Amalgam Insights Distinguished Vendor for Cloud Cost and Optimization Management. Founded in 2009, Turbonomic was acquired by IBM in 2021. IBM Turbonomic now acts as Big Blue’s solution to ensure application performance and governance across cloud environments, including public and private. Turbonomic has two offices in the United States — its headquarters in Boston and a satellite location in Newark, Delaware — as well as one in the UK and another in Canada. IBM does not publicly disclose how many Turbonomic employees it has, nor does it break out Turbonomic annual revenue or provide customer retention rates.

In terms of cloud spend under management, Turbonomic states that it does not track the amount of money its clients spend on cloud computing. Turbonomic serves Fortune 2000 customers across industries including finance, insurance, and healthcare. Turbonomic is typically considered by organizations that have at least 1,000 cloud instances or virtual machines; many support tens of thousands.

IBM TURBONOMIC’S OFFERING

IBM Turbonomic Application Resource Management targets application performance and governance throughout an organization’s cloud environment, which can include public cloud (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud), private cloud (IBM, VMware), and multi-cloud environments.

The platform optimizes cloud computing, storage, database as a service, reserved instances, and Kubernetes, but does not currently address spot instances). Furthermore, it optimizes and scales based on IOPs (input/output), reservations, and discounts. Overall, IBM Turbonomic aims to ensure spend aligns to applications, preventing cost overruns and keeping applications performing optimally. While Turbonomic mainly serves IT users, Turbonomic recently teamed with Flexera to add a detailed cost-reporting module that appeals to Financial Operations (FinOps) experts.

IBM Turbonomic charges for its cloud application optimization software based on the number of resources under management. Rather than offering individual add-on capabilities, IBM Turbonomic lets clients choose more advanced capabilities by buying different licensing tiers associated with integrations to other software and processes such as IT service management, orchestrators, and application performance management. IBM Turbonomic includes technical support with all tiers. IBM Turbonomic and its third-party channel partners offer professional services as needed.

IBM Turbonomic states that its top differentiator originates from artificial intelligence that matches application demand to underlying infrastructure supply at every layer of the stack continuously in real-time with automatable resourcing decisions. As more organizations use IBM Turbonomic, the automated recommendations provided to all of its customers improve. Cloud administrators gain insight into suggested actions, such as investments to enhance performance and save money.

IBM Turbonomic Application Resource Management is delivered as software-as-a-service. It works across public, private, containerized, and bare metal cloud environments. IBM Turbonomic’s reference customers include Providence Health, which has 120,000 employees; Litehouse Foods, which makes salad dressing, cheese, and other foods; and apparel maker Carhartt.

COMPETITION AND COMPETITIVE POSITIONING

IBM Turbonomic mainly competes against organizations’ in-house spreadsheets and mix of tools that are specific to the technologies in use. In these cases, IBM Turbonomic finds that organizations are over-provisioning cloud computing resources in the hopes of mitigating risk. Therefore, they are spending too much and only addressing application performance when something goes wrong.

IBM Turbonomic also often faces VMware CloudHealth in its prospective deals.

IBM Turbonomic states that it draws customers because of automation and recommendations that tend to result in the following business outcomes:

  • Reduction of public cloud spend by 30%
  • Increase in team productivity by 35%
  • Improvement of application performance by 20%
  • Increase in speed to market by 40%

IBM TURBONOMIC’S PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

IBM Turbonomic keeps its roadmap private, so details about upcoming enhancements are not public. However, Amalgam Insights believes that IBM Turbonomic will pursue improvements in sustainability reporting and GitOps resizing in the near future, and may soon pursue a deeper relationship with Microsoft Azure, given that three of these areas are of interest to IBM Turbonomic’s current client base.

AMALGAM INSIGHTS RECOMMENDATIONS

Amalgam Insights recommends that organizations with a minimum of 1,000 cloud instances or virtual machines, and residing within the Fortune 2000, consider IBM Turbonomic Application Resource Management.

Because the platform automatically configures during deployment, provides ongoing recommendations for application and cloud-configuration improvement, and continues to learn from users’ actions, organizations can observe how cloud environments are continuously optimized. This allows IT teams to support cloud consumption needs while also ensuring the organization does not overpay or underresource. In addition, FinOps professionals gain the information they need to track and budget digital transformation efforts without burdening their IT counterparts.

Combined, these capabilities are critical to organizations’ goals of delivering stewardship over their cloud environments while maintaining fiscal responsibility that best serves shareholders, investors, and staff.


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Cloud Cost Management Vendor Profile: CAST AI

Cast AI - Amalgam Insights' 2022 Distinguished Vendor for Cloud Cost Management

Managing cloud infrastructure is no easy task, especially when containers such as Kubernetes come into play. In our ongoing effort to help organizations understand what they need to do to make the most of their cloud environments, Amalgam Insights this year briefed with a number of management and optimization vendors. We continue to publish our findings, which include analyst guidance complete with a series of vendor profiles. This installment focuses on CAST AI, a company that takes a different approach to cloud cost and optimization management by homing in on containers. Read on to learn why that is so important and to understand Amalgam Insights’ resulting recommendations for enterprises.

WHY CAST AI FOR COST CLOUD COST AND OPTIMIZATION MANAGEMENT

  • Optimizes Kubernetes containers on a continuous basis
  • Company claims to save users an average of 63% on cloud bills
  • Cost reporting and cluster analysis provided as a free service

ABOUT CAST AI

CAST AI is an Amalgam Insights Distinguished Vendor for Cloud Cost and Optimization Management. Founded in 2019, Miami-headquartered CAST AI employs 60 people in Florida and Lithuania. It raised $10 million in Series A funding in fall of 2021, following its $7.7 million seed round in late 2020. CAST AI does not look for a specific customer size; some of its users have fewer than two dozen virtual machines, while others run thousands. The privately held firm does not disclose annual revenue or how much cloud spend it manages.

CAST AI’S OFFERING

CAST AI automates and optimizes Kubernetes environments on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Kubernetes Service, kOps running on AWS, Microsoft Azure Kubernetes Service, and Google Cloud Platform Google Kubernetes Service as well as Kubernetes clusters running directly on CAST AI.

Cast AI users — who typically are DevOps (Development Operations) experts — may run cost reporting that includes cluster analysis and recommendations. FinOps (Financial Operations) professionals can take the reporting results and incorporate them into their practices.

The CAST AI engine goes beyond cost reporting to rearrange Kubernetes environments for the most effective outcomes. To do this, CAST AI connects to a specified app, then runs a script that installs agents to collect information about the app. After that, a report pops up that can provide recommendations for reducing the number of Kubernetes machines or changing to a different compute platform with less memory, all to cut down on cost.

If a user accepts CAST AI’s recommendations, he or she can click a button to optimize the environment in real time. This button sets off a continuous optimization function to give orders to Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), or Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) to rearrange itself, such as autoscaling in real time and rebalancing clusters. Users set their desired automation and alerting thresholds. CAST AI pings the app every 15 seconds and produces an hourly graph. CAST AI claims its users save an average of 63% on their cloud bills.

Pricing for CAST AI varies. CAST AI does not enforce a minimum spend requirement. Rather, it charges by the number of active, optimized CPUs. That starts at $5 per CPU per month and there are tiered discounts from 1-5,000 CPUs, then 5,001-15,000, and so on. Base subscriptions start at $200 per month and go up to $5,000 per month or more, depending on volume discounts. CAST AI provides cost reporting and cluster analysis for free, with no time limits. Users also can buy cost management as a standalone service.

COMPETITION AND COMPETITIVE POSITIONING

CAST AI competes most frequently against the Ocean platform from Spot by NetApp in competitive deals. For the most part, though, CAST AI “competes” against DevOps professionals trying to reduce cloud costs manually — a difficult and time-consuming effort.

CAST AI finds that it gains customers because of its engine’s ease of use and ability to make changes in real-time. This further frees DevOps experts to focus on innovative projects.

CAST AI goes to market via its website and, in Europe, Asia, and the United States, also through third-party partners.

CAST AI’s reference customers including La Fourche, a French online retailer of organic products, and ecommerce consultancy Snow Commerce.

CAST AI’S PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

CAST AI plans to build an air-gapped version of its engine disconnected from the Internet and fully supported within the customer’s internal environment for private cloud users in vertical markets including government and banking. Because CAST AI collects metadata to optimize Kubernetes environments, CAST AI is working on this capability to support more governed industries and organizations.

AMALGAM INSIGHTS’ RECOMMENDATIONS

Amalgam Insights recommends that organizations with Kubernetes containers try CAST AI’s free trial to understand how the platform might help save money and optimize resources. Although Kubernetes has largely won as the software container of choice in DevOps environments, businesses still have not standardized on strategies to optimize the compute and storage associated with containerized workloads and services. Amalgam Insights believes that Kubernetes optimization should not be a long-term direct responsibility for developers and architects as tools emerge to define the resources that are most appropriate for running containerized applications at any given time.

Organizations worldwide are struggling to control cloud costs, especially as they pursue containerization and cloud refactorization projects associated with digital transformation. Organizations also are cleaning up pandemic-spurred cloud deployments that quickly got out of hand and have proven difficult to keep in line since then. CAST AI’s technology provides an option that DevOps engineers should consider as they seek to tighten and optimize the spend tied to applications containerized in the cloud.

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.

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VMware Aria Transforms the Technology Lifecycle Management Market

At this year’s VMware Explore, VMware announced the launch of VMware Aria based on three product families: VMware vRealize, CloudHealth by VMware, and Tanzu Observability. Aria brings these three solutions together with a shared graph data store, VMware Aria Graph, to support a combined Aria Hub that provides automation, cost, and observability capabilities across multiple clouds.

VMware was already an Amalgam Insights Distinguished Vendor for Cloud Cost Management prior to this announcement as the market leader in Technology Expense Management with over $20 billion in annual spend under management.

But with this platform, VMware has now created a new category of cloud management that competitors will struggle to match. To read more about this announcement, check out our Market Milestone report, available at no cost until the end of this week.

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Cloud Cost Management Part 4: Why Cloud FinOps Vendors All Sound The Same

Too often, the process of selecting a technology provider — of any kind — unearths more questions than answers. In many instances, vendors’ sales and marketing messages confuse, rather than clarify, because they all sound so similar. This puts IT, procurement, and finance leaders in the frustrating position of trying to identify real differentiators, all while hoping for the best outcomes.

Choosing a cloud computing cost management and optimization vendor offers no exception. As we noted in the third installment in our blog series, most (although not all) of these providers make the same benefits statements to potential customers. So, instead of leaning on hope, Amalgam Insights recommends enterprise buyers use our ongoing guidance to identify important differentiators. We begin by presenting similarities Amalgam Insights has noted in vendor messaging that prove confusing to potential buyers.

4 Areas of Confusing Messaging Among Cloud Cost Management Vendors

Recall that, in the previous blog, we pointed out continuous optimization and automation/artificial intelligence as the first two examples of similarities shared among cloud cost management vendors. The remainder of this installment covers the four additional issues we have pinpointed as challenges for evaluating Cloud FinOps providers. Keeping these aspects in mind will allow executives and line-of-business heads to spot providers’ true differences more easily rather than reinventing the wheel. This will go a long way toward arming organizations with the knowledge needed to develop a vendor selection process that will help narrow down the ideal choice.

1. Container and Service Management

With the emergence of Kubernetes as a mainstream containerization platform, cloud computing can now be deployed more granularly. This makes cost and resource tracking even harder. When a workload is not attached to a specific resource or service, IT has more difficulty assigning it to a project or cost center. Organizations supporting stateless apps need to figure out how to track cloud usage. To meet this challenge, vendors will toss around the buzzphrase “Kubernetes management.” The tracking of containerized compute can be done proactively, optimizing nodes in expectation of workloads or reactive ways that look at the usage. Get insight from the vendor on how they support consumption below the application layer as “container management” is being used in a variety of ways to describe cost, operations, technology, workflow, and/or infrastructure accounting in various ways.

2. Single View of Multiple and Hybrid Clouds

Another commonality among solutions in our Amalgam Insights’ new report, Control Your Cloud: Selecting Cloud Cost Management in the Face of Recession, is that of the single interface. In this report, we focused on cloud cost management and optimization providers that bring together multiple cloud vendors and hybrid cloud resources (e.g., Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, niche players, private clouds, on-premises hardware) under one roof. Rather than forcing users to access each cloud provider’s interface separately, third-party vendors’ management platforms deliver insight and reporting into each cloud through one portal. This reflects one of the basic benefits of using an independent cloud cost management and optimization platform. A variety of companies in the cloud cost management marketplace are still specialists in one or two cloud platforms. Make sure that your proposed vendor for cloud costs is aligned with your IT architects’ vision for cloud and data center usage.

3. Reporting and Analytics

Every cost management and optimization platform — cloud or not — contains reporting and analytics. The detail to look for is the depth and granularity of analytics, including the out-of-the-box alignment to IT, DevOps, finance, procurement, and other relevant cost and inventory management departments. Analytics can also be supported by algorithmic and machine learning models that help to predict future demand for resources, or that proactively detect potential opportunities for optimization. However, the presence of analytic and reporting capabilities that provide financial and operational visibility into multiple clouds is not in itself a differentiator within the cloud cost management world.

4. Managed and Professional Services

In addition to software, most cloud cost management and optimization vendors offer some level of professional or managed services, as well as help desk. While none of this is unique, the ways in which the services are delivered could be. Organizations will want to vet variances including the following:

  • Hours of Operation
  • Human vs. automated assistance
  • Dedicated or named account resources
  • Cloud provider certifications

Some organizations will require around-the-clock support availability while others will not. Some will have no issue using chatbots to resolve problems while others will want a human. Some will operate well with general assistance while others will opt for personnel dedicated to their account. Finally, some cloud cost management and optimization vendors may not certify all their staff on the various cloud platforms the organization uses.

Knowledge Is Power

Knowing what makes many cloud cost management vendors the same will equip IT, procurement, finance, inventory, and other leaders to pinpoint meaningful differentiators and therefore choose an ideal fit. Amalgam Insights has done much of the footwork for readers. In that spirit, the next blog will cover the key differentiators that analysts have identified among providers. From there, we will publish a number of vendor profiles. Combined, all this information will support organizations’ quests to most ably manage their cloud computing environments, especially as a global recession threatens to hit.

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.


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Cloud Cost Management Part 3: Exploring Why Cloud Cost Vendors Sound Similar

We Look at Two Ways in Which Providers Message Similarly to One Another

In the first two blogs in our series on cloud cost management, Amalgam Insights dove into why cloud costs are hard to manage and the challenges that impede many organizations from implementing disciplined cloud cost management and optimization. Those installments set the stage for this post, which lays out the value of relying on third-party software and services for cloud cost and lifecycle management. From there, we begin to explore the similarities observed among vendors, so organizations may spend less time and energy identifying the best fit(s).

Wait — Why Use a Vendor at All?

Any technology calls for proper oversight to ensure its best use and to assure optimal financial stewardship for the organization. To meet this need, dozens of companies provision software, and/or professional and managed services. When it comes to cloud cost management and optimization, these third-party offerings intentionally replace in-house counterparts. Surprisingly, a number of global organizations still rely on internal staff and piecemeal technologies to oversee and monitor their cloud environments.

Given the rapidly growing amount of cloud computing consumption, and the cost overages that easily accompany that usage, a homegrown approach must evolve, and quickly. Organizations must gain financial and operational visibility into their cloud environments. That starts by implementing a cross-departmental practice Amalgam Insights frames as Technology Lifecycle Management.

Figure 1: Technology Lifecycle Management

A Cautionary Note

Newcomers to the world of cloud cost control often are surprised to learn that using a cloud cost management and optimization platform may not inherently save substantial amounts of money on an ongoing basis.

In many cases, that is not, in fact, the overarching point.

Rather, the software will give IT — and finance and engineering — the data and recommended actions to make sure all cloud environments are running at their most optimal, are in use, and that they serve the organization’s needs.

Think of the matter this way: managing cloud computing does not mean cutting spending to the bone. Rather, organizations thrive when they support employees with the correct infrastructure and applications. (And, yes, that can call for putting more money into the cloud budget as tech serves as a driver for revenue creation.)

Many enterprises experience significant savings after first deploying a cloud cost management and optimization platform. Ttransforming an uncontrolled or poorly controlled environment into an efficient one will naturally lead to that outcome at first based on the IT Rule of 30. But as optimization continues, those gains fade because the platform is keeping the cloud environment at its most efficient.

Contrary to how it might sound, watching those gains disappear over time by creating an optimized environment actually is the goal. The right vendor will enable the organization to achieve that aim.

With that in mind, we now explore the first two ways in which many cloud cost management vendors end up sounding the same. The next blog will present more similarities among these providers. Amalgam Insights takes this approach so enterprise buyers are empowered to make their vendor selection processes more efficient and productive.

Sifting Through the Benefits Statements

With a couple of exceptions, cloud cost management and optimization vendors tend to make the same benefits statements to potential customers. Yet, once enterprise buyers understand those similarities, they will be better equipped to pinpoint important differentiators. In fact, later in this series, Amalgam Insights will publish a number of vendor profiles. The intent is that, by the time those go live, organizations will have the knowledge to create a matrix that will help narrow down the ideal choice.

Similarity 1: Continuous Optimization

Cloud management platforms must support continuous optimization as cloud performance and transactional activity accelerate, and as companies become increasingly susceptible to peak usage and other cost challenges associated with the flexibility of cloud computing.

The greatest benefits of an always-on optimization effort that pulls billing information directly from the cloud provider are the prevention of overspending and the right-sizing of consumption.

Unless a vendor delivers professional services rather than an actual platform, enterprises have the right to expect the cloud management software to perform constant right-sizing actions on a daily basis, or even more frequently, leading to the best use of the cloud environment. This capability has become table-stakes within any technology management platform and a vendor that overemphasizes continuous optimization may be lacking in other important areas.

Similarity 2: Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Continuous optimization relies on some level of automation, which is vital in a cloud cost management and optimization platform. After all, reducing human intervention is key to achieving more accuracy and efficiency. Given the massive volume of cloud computing billing and usage data, it is not humanly possible to manually check all of the data that comprise a cloud bill — at least, not without automation and an algorithmic-checking approach.

Note this important caveat: Most vendors will refer to their automation as “artificial intelligence,” largely because of the sophistication and modernization the term calls to mind. However, most of the automation in question is actually algorithmic processing with some aspects of basic regression to identify correlation and trends. Amalgam Insights sees that the majority of “AI” in this particular market typically lacks the feedback mechanisms, model training, and ongoing data science required to be considered modern AI. This isn’t necessarily an issue, as cloud computing usage is often driven by discrete and specific business needs or by the developer team’s needs. But the obvious advice here is to always follow up on AI claims, as there is no current standard on what constitutes AI in this market.

Enterprises would do well to inquire about how each platform automates data, and how it learns from recommended and implemented actions. If the software just imports information and populates fields, that — while handy — is rudimentary and standard.

Consider, as well, that a cloud cost management and optimization platform should remove the need for excessive manual manipulation, both to reduce the potential for human error and to foster any intelligence that will help the software learn from actions.

In the next installment, get more insight into more similarities among cloud cost management and optimization vendors.

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.

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Reviewing 2021 IT Cost Trends

IT Cost Management is one of the core practices at Amalgam Insights. This practice focuses on tracking both vendors and product offerings that help enterprises fight off the IT Rule of 30, Amalgam Insights’ observation that every unmanaged IT category averages 30% in bloat and waste and that this can be even greater for emerging technology areas such as cloud computing.

From our perspective, the demand for a more holistic technology expense capability has been in demand at the enterprise level since the mid-2010s and companies narrowly focused on managing telecom, mobility, software, and cloud computing as four separate IT silos will miss out on a variety of opportunities to optimize and rationalize costs.

In this practice, we tactically look at technology expense management vendors, including specialists in telecom expense, managed mobility services, cloud cost management, cloud FinOps (Financial Operations), Software as a Service management, IT finance solutions, hybrid cloud subscriptions and financing, and other new IT strategies that can lead to a minimum of 20-30% cost reduction in one or more key IT areas. In each of these IT areas, Amalgam Insights maintains a list of recommended vendors that have proven their ability to deliver on both identifying and fixing the issues associated with the IT Rule of 30, which are provided both in our published research as well as in our end-user inquiries with enterprise clients.

With that out of the way, 2021 was a heck of a year from an IT management perspective. Although a lot of pundits predicted that IT spend would go down in a year where COVID-driven uncertainty was rampant, these cost control concerns ended up being less relevant than the need to continue getting work done and the resilience of a global workforce ready and willing to get things done. In doing so, 2021 saw the true birth of the hybrid worker, one who is just as comfortable working in the office or at home as long as they have the right tools in hand. In the face of this work environment, we saw the following things happen.

The Rise of the Remote Employee – Amalgam Insights estimates that 30% of employees will never be full-time in-office employees again, as they have either moved home full-time or plan to only come into the office one or two times per week as necessary to attend meetings and meet with new colleagues and partners. Although many of us may take this for granted, one of the issues we still face is that in 2019, only 5% of employees worked remotely and many of our offices, technology investments, and management strategies reflect the assumption that employees will be centrally located. And, of course, COVID-19 has proven to be both a highly mutating virus and a disease fraught with controversies regarding treatment and prevention strategies and policies, which only adds to the uncertainty and volatility of in-office work environments.

Legacy networking and computing approaches fall flat – On-premise solutions showed their age as VPNs and the on-site management of servers became passe. At a time when a pandemic was running rampant, people found that VPNs did not provide the protection that was assumed as ransomware attacks more than doubled in the United States and more than tripled in the United Kingdom from 2020 to 2021. It turns out that the lack of server updates and insecure ports on-premises ended up being more dangerous for companies to consider. We also saw the Death of Copper, as copper wired telecom services were finally cut off by multiple telecom vendors, leaving branch offices and the “Things” associated with operational technology rudely left to quickly move to fiber or wireless connections.  Blackberry finally decided to discontinue to support of Blackberry OS as well, forcing the last of the original Blackberry users to finally migrate off of that sweet, sweet keyboard and join the touch screen auto-correct world of smartphone typers. It was a tough year for legacy tech.

Core Mobility Grew Rapidly in 2021 – Core spend was up 8% due to device purchases and increased data use. In particular, device revenue was up nearly 30% over last year with some of the major carriers, such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile (now the largest carrier in the United States). However, spend for customized and innovative projects disappeared both as 5G buildouts happened more slowly than initially expected and 5G projects froze due to the inability to fulfill complex mesh computing and bandwidth backfill projects. This led to an interesting top-level result of overall enterprise mobility spend being fairly steady although the shape of the spend was quite different from the year before.

Cloud Failures Demonstrated need for Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Management – Although legacy computing had its issues, cloud computing had its black eyes as well. 8760 hours per year means that each hour down gets you from 100% to 99.99% (4 9’s). Recent Amazon failures in November and December of 2021 demonstrated the challenges of depending on overstressed resources, especially US-1-East. This is not meant to put all the blame on Amazon, as Microsoft Azure is known for its challenges in maintaining service uptime as well and Google Cloud still has a reputation for deprecating services. No one cloud vendor has been dependable at the “5 9’s” level of uptime (5 minutes per year of downtime) that used to define high-end IT quality. Cloud has changed the fundamental nature of IT from “rock-solid technology” to a new mode of experimental “good enough IT” where the quality and value of new technology can excuse some small uptime failures. But cloud failures by giants including Akamai, Amazon, AT&T, Comcast, Fastly, and every other cloud leader show the importance of having failover and continuity capabilities that are at least multi-region in nature for mission-critical technologies.

Multi-cloud Emergence – One of the interesting trends that Amalgam Insights noticed in our inquiries was that Google Cloud replaced Microsoft Azure as the #2 cloud for new projects behind the market leader Amazon. In general, there was interest in using the right cloud for the job. Also, the cloud failures of leading vendors allowed Oracle Cloud to start establishing a toehold as its networking and bare-metal support provided a ramp for mature enterprises seeking a path to the cloud. As I’ve been saying for a decade now, the cloud service provider market is going the way of the telcos, both in terms of the number of vendors and the size of the market. Public cloud is now is $350 billion global market, based on Amalgam Insights’ current estimates, which measures to less than 7% of the total global technology market. As we’ll cover in our predictions, there is massive room for growth in this market over the next decade.

SD-WAN continues to be a massive growth market – From a connectivity perspective, Software Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) continue to grow due to their combination of performance and cost-cutting. This market saw 40% growth in 2021 and now uses security as a differentiator to get past what people already know. From an IT cost management perspective, this means that there continues to be a need for holistic project management including financial and resource management for these network transformation projects. Without support from technology expense management solutions with strong network inventory capabilities, this won’t happen.

As we can see, there were a variety of key IT trends that affected technology expenses and sourcing in 2021. In our next blog on this topic, we’ll cover some of our expectations for 2022 based on these trends. If you’d like a sneak peek of our 2022 predictions, just email us at info@amalgaminsights.com