Not all cloud cost management tools are equal. Whether you’re in the process of evaluating cloud cost management vendors or already have a tool in place, here are 19 questions you should ask to ensure you have all the capabilities needed to maximize performance and minimize cost of your hybrid cloud deployment across the following:

  • Visibility: Can you get all the information you need across your entire IT infrastructure?
  • Reporting and analysis: Does it deliver meaningful information and can you drill into the details that matter?
  • Optimization and rightsizing: Are you confident that you’re maximizing your cost savings while maintaining required performance levels?

Visibility Questions

1. Does it provide multi-cloud visibility?

If you’re like the vast majority of companies, you’re using more than one CSP—AWS, Azure, GCP, etc.—which means your cloud cost management tool needs to provide consistent visibility across the different providers.

2. Does it provide hybrid cloud visibility?

The public cloud isn’t the only environment supporting your business. You need visibility across your entire on-premises, public cloud, and private cloud infrastructure.

Reporting and Analysis Questions

3. Does it provide a cost savings dashboard?

Details are important, but so is having the right high-level starting point. You want a dashboard that provides you with a simple overview of your current costs compared to the previous month, the number of resources that are currently idle, the number of rightsizing recommendations currently available, and total potential savings available.

4. Are detailed reports easy to use and configure?

Dashboards and canned reports are useful, but to get deep insight, you need detailed reports. If those reports are clunky and hard to configure, you’ll waste a lot of effort, and you’ll likely lack confidence in the information they deliver.

5. Can you group and filter billing data?

To get a better understanding of your billing details, you need to be able look at the data in a variety of ways—grouping and filtering by attributes, tags, time period, and other settings.

6. Can you compare cloud spend by time period?

To understand how your cloud spend is changing at a more granular level, you need to be able to compare spend of data groupings across various time periods.

7. Can you perform multi-dimensional cost analysis?

Your organization—and your cloud spend—is complex, which means a one-dimensional view of cloud costs is insufficient. You need to be able to “stack” your cloud views to analyze costs in a more granular fashion.

8. Can you get per-instance visibility into cloud spend and utilization?

You need to be able to easily identify expensive instances and compare them by utilization, type, entities, tags, and data transfer rates. You also want to be able to break down information such as total vs. individual instance costs and the cost for each AWS instance state (reserved, on-demand) or Azure instance size.

9. Can you customize reports to get the information you need?

Look for custom tagging capabilities to group your instances and use filters to find resources with spend that meets certain conditions.

10. Does it support exception-based reporting?

The ability to set up reports to notify you only when there is something to act on enables you to implement “set and forget” management.

11. Can you drill into specific services to see what is driving increased costs?

Some line items on your budget, such as EC2 Other, may represent a large proportion of your dollar spend. You need to be able to easily drill deep into those services so you can understand what is driving changes in spend within those services.

Optimization and Rightsizing Questions

12. Can you do rightsizing based on all relevant performance metrics?

Any tool will do rightsizing based on CPU utilization, and possibly even memory. But this is insufficient. You also need to take network and disk I/O into account. If you don’t look at all of these performance factors, you may have an incomplete picture.

13. Can you apply constraints and risk tolerances for rightsizing?

You can’t do rightsizing in a vacuum, and it can’t be a theoretical exercise. You need to be able to apply constraints and tune risk tolerance based on your speck requirements or individual workload profiles.

14. Can you easily find idle resources?

Idle resources can needlessly balloon your cloud costs, so you must be able to quickly surface these budget-busters, whether that’s unused compute instances, storage on stopped instances, unattached storage blocks, unattached load balancers, or idle elastic IP addresses. Additionally, you want to be able to easily configure and customize idle policies based on your organization’s rules.

15. Can you show variability of resources usage and consumption over time?

Not all of your workloads require always-on availability. For example, you might have a backup or disaster recovery job that only runs once a week, therefore those resources don’t need to be available for the entire week.

16. Can you get specific recommendations to tackle increased costs?

Identifying the changes you need to make to optimize your cloud costs can be near impossible without help, so getting recommendations is key. Additionally, however, you need to be able to tune your recommendations based on different application profiles and levels of risk tolerance.

17. Can you perform what-if analysis?

Even with recommendations, you need to understand the impact of different rightsizing constraints. This requires you to be able to see different configuration options in real time with what-if analysis.

18. Can you easily trigger actions to implement recommendations?

Look for integration with leading change management solutions, such as ServiceNow and Jira, that enable you to act on the tool’s recommendations with one click and schedule changes within your existing workflows.

19. How cost-effective is the solution?

Many cloud cost management tools are priced as a percentage of your cloud spend, and these can be expensive. A per-device model can be more cost-effective and deliver a much higher ROI.

Check ALL the cloud cost management boxes with Virtana Optimize

Virtana Optimize allows you to optimize and rightsize your hybrid cloud workloads for performance, capacity, and cost. Unlike the other tools that are out there, Virtana Optimize delivers all of the visibility, reporting, analysis, optimization, and rightsizing capabilities you need. Try Virtana Optimize for free

Randy Randhawa
Randy Randhawa
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