Worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 18.4% in 2021, with the cloud projected to make up 14.2% of the total global enterprise IT spending market in 2024, up from 9.1% in 2020, according to Gartner. Enterprises are, therefore, rightly concerned about controlling their public cloud costs—to ensure they’re getting all the value they’re paying for. Some are even beginning to embrace the concept of FinOps, which seeks to implement a framework for managing cloud opex to ensure cross-functional financial accountability for cloud services.

Successful cloud spend management requires having the right information. Virtana recently surveyed 350 cloud decision makers about their hybrid cloud strategies and deployment, including what types of information they want to see in their cloud cost reports. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Detailed bill analysis with grouping, sorting, and filtering capabilities: 54%
  • Recommendations for rightsizing cloud computing resources: 53%
  • Consolidated reporting across all public clouds and private cloud: 52%
  • Recommendations for purchasing planning such as reserved instances: 48%
  • Chargeback by department, business unit, or customer: 34%
  • List of unused resources that can be terminated: 34%

The top three items on the wish list—all cited by more than half of the respondents—cover three distinct, and important, areas: the ability to analyze costs already incurred, guidance for how to manage costs going forward, and the ability to view costs holistically across multiple environments.

Moreover, 72% of respondents said they want to see three or more of the cost analysis capabilities cited, and 86% would like to have four or more. So, what information should enterprises be able to get on their cloud cost reports? Let’s break it down.

Detailed bill analysis with grouping, sorting, and filtering capabilities

In your on-premises infrastructure, you don’t need to worry about tracking changes in workload utilization as long as they continue to perform well within your existing depreciated equipment. But this is not the case in the public cloud where shifts in utilization can drive up your costs. You need to analyze your monthly bills to find unexpected cost changes, identify cost outliers, and evaluate cost trends. To do this, you need all of the relevant data and then easily manipulate it based on your requirements. First, you need to group the data in a meaningful way, such as by period, attribute, or service. Then, you need to sort the data in different ways based on the criteria you need to assess, whether that’s service, total cost, or cost delta. Finally, you need to filter the data set so you can zero in based on services, attributes (such as instance type or entity name), or tags (such as owner, project, or application).

Recommendations for rightsizing cloud computing resources

Rightsizing is about finding the optimal balance between cost efficiency and performance for each of your resources. Finding that balance, however, is much easier said than done. Cloud service providers offer thousands of SKUs, with new ones constantly being introduced. You need to compare your instance’s attributes and utilization, along with any additional constraints you want to factor in (e.g., CPU utilization should not exceed a particular level) against the most current cloud SKU library. With cost-saving recommendations that support your workload requirements, you can keep your workloads running at optimal performance for the lowest cost.

Consolidated reporting across all public clouds and private cloud

There is operational value to having reports that are specific to one particular public cloud provider. But if that’s all you have, you may be missing the bigger strategic picture. Application users don’t care which workloads are in the cloud and which are on-premises, they just need them to work reliably and quickly. Likewise, the CFO doesn’t care where workloads are running, as long as investments are smart and budgets are adhered to. If visibility requires you to pull disparate reports together manually, you’re simply never going to get the infrastructure-wide visibility you need—and your team will spend valuable cycles trying to manually combine data. You need to bring everything together into a consolidated view so you can truly understand—and intelligently manage—all your workloads. You want to have both executive- and admin-level dashboards providing configurable views across all your clouds. They need to roll up the right information for an at-a-glance summary and highlight key areas that require drill-down. The different types of dashboards are key. The “right information” for a CFO, for example, is related to reporting, while for an admin it’s about identifying and fixing issues.

Recommendations for purchase planning such as reserved instances

Reserved instances can deliver attractive discounts. But if you overbuy, you’ll waste money in the long term, which could end up negating the benefit of those discounts. You need a multi-dimensional visualization of your workloads’ usage. Then, with recommendations for which reservation types will support your specific use cases, you can select the appropriate reservation types that will meet your requirements and deliver savings.

Chargeback by department, business unit, or customer

Your applications running in the cloud must support your business requirements. This includes supporting organizational cost-allocation processes. If your company employs IT chargebacks or showbacks, you need to parse your public cloud expenditures by individual entity. This requires you to group, sort, and filter by cost-allocation tags (see above) that you’ve set up in your cloud environment. Additionally, you want to find resources that are missing tags to ensure the most accurate reporting.

List of unused resources that can be terminated

Cloud waste is a massive problem. The common consensus is that idle and abandoned resources can account for up to one-third of cloud costs. In order to eliminate that waste, you need to find the unused resources to be terminated. This requires proactive alerting to ensure they don’t continue to rack up charges for days, weeks, months, or even longer. 

Get critical cloud cost information with Virtana

Managing your cloud costs effectively requires having the right information, analysis capabilities, recommendations, and alerts. Virtana Platform’s Optimize module delivers just that so you can keep your cloud-deployed workloads optimized and your cloud spend in check.

Learn more about the current state of hybrid cloud

Download the full survey report | Cloud Cost Management

Randy Randhawa
Randy Randhawa
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