Struggling with bringing your multi-cloud costs under control?


Photo of Rob Robinson

Rob Robinson

Head of Telstra Purple LinkedIn

You will not be the first or last enterprise battling spiraling cloud costs. As more and more enterprises move their workloads from on-premises to the cloud, the complexity and effort grow – and so does the task of monitoring and forecasting multi-cloud costs.

The issue is that the multi-cloud brings endless services to keep track of each with its own convoluted pricing models. Keeping track of costs, detecting anomalies in real-time, and making monthly bill projections become a major headache. Hyperscalers’ bills can be confusing. Misconfigurations can cause problems, and enterprises with multi-cloud might not be aware that whilst it’s free to put data into a cloud, it’s costly to transfer it out.

According to a recent survey, enterprises said their public cloud spend was over budget by an average of 13%. At the same time, they expect their cloud spend to increase by 29% over the next twelve months. Wasted cloud continues to be a worrying issue as cloud costs escalate, with businesses self-estimating they waste 32% of cloud spend.

This trend highlights the fact that enterprises must get their cloud spending under control or see it aggressively eat into their bottom line.

Why do multi-loud budgets get out of hand?

There are several reasons cloud controls fail, and it is unlikely to be one reason. This includes poor cloud hygiene, significant over-provisioning, and no grasp on overall cloud spend. In addition, many enterprises have difficulty rightsizing applications for the cloud and overestimating production headroom for applications.

There is often a lack of commitment to secure discounts with cloud providers that could bring significant savings. This is primarily due to fear of being tied in or thinking they have a bigger window of negotiation than they really have. Lifting and shifting and not moving across to cloud native means many are not using the cloud in the most economical way possible.

Despite what some vendors say, cloud cost management tools will not solve all your problems. The first step is to monitor your spending. Once you understand the reason for overspending, you can take appropriate steps to rein in costs.

As Gartner points out, cloud cost management is not just an operational matter. To be successful, it also demands collaboration among the disciplines of governance, architecture, production management, finance, and application development.

Re-thinking multi-cloud spend

Cloud’s pay-as-you-consume model makes it very easy to spend. As a result, cloud spend is often overlooked until a red flag is raised when it has already galloped out of control.

However, the good news is that with the right strategy and best practices, the cloud enables unprecedented granular visibility of costs. This allows you to utilise resources better, scale up and down on demand and get the ultimate business value of your cloud investment.

Enterprises with a mature approach to multi-cloud cost optimisation have put strategies, guardrails, and monitoring tools in place to know what they are spending on and what they plan to spend on. It is so simple for developers to drive up costs by forgetting to shut down compute instances that have been spun up that are no-longer-needed, for example.

FinOps can help rein in multi-cloud spend

FinOps is an evolving cloud financial management and cultural practice designed to help businesses get optimum value from cloud by “helping engineering, finance, technology, and business teams to collaborate on data-driven spending decisions,” according to the non-profit FinOps foundation.

A FinOps approach aligns cost management metrics with business metrics such as revenue, profit, and growth forecasts. Like a Cloud Center of Excellence, a centralised cross-functional FinOps governs cloud costs, including considering what happens to application growth alongside customer/business growth. In addition, make teams collaborate on cost savings. This includes proper cost calculations before going into production on storage and scalable costs.

With a goal of cost excellence, the FinOps team needs support from the enterprise’s technical, financial, and business leaders. It requires a solid foundation and commitment. Why? Because the FinOps process is iterative. Teams will continuously circle through phases to refine the FinOps effort and drive it forward according to the steps provided by the FinOps Foundation.

The first step in getting rid of cloud bill shock

From the onset, you must determine precisely what is in your clouds and why. In our experience, enterprises have many things in the cloud that they cannot identify.

The first step, however, is fixing the processes. A tactical low-hanging fruit check enables enterprises to rein in obvious spend, while working on strategic long-term spending controls. Look at services in the cloud and what they cost, then decide where to start. Tactical spotting and poor configuration choices, not right sizing, can be tactical recommendations to look at before the first step. A multi-cloud cost optimisation assessment is imperative to pinpoint overspend and where savings can be made.

A comprehensive multi-cloud cost optimisation assessment means more than deploying the cloud provider’s native tools to manage spend, augmented with third-party solutions. It is about getting a detailed picture of precisely who uses cloud resources in the organisation.

Such an assessment should combine technical data with consulting expertise to identify costs and see where they are justifiable. Where they are not, alternative applications and resource planning are advised. As a result of these findings, we have seen monthly cloud usage bills drop by up to 40%.

It should also include a roadmap for cloud usage, including recommendations to better track it, such as applying consistent tagging to cloud resources.

This is not a tick box exercise. Once cost management has been achieved, it is good practice to set up continual improvement processes to ensure your cloud estate remains optimised.

It is time to prioritise managing multi-cloud costs now

Applications and processes are being rapidly moved to the cloud, so the impact of managing costs in your multi-cloud estate is enormous. With the right insights, you can gain control now and avoid watching your cloud deployment haemorrhage money.

Bringing cloud costs under control

Here at Telstra Purple, our team of experts will run a comprehensive Multi-cloud Cost Optimisation Assessment designed to identify savings across your cloud estate.

Telstra Purple’s Multi-cloud Cost Optimisation Assessment uses technical data and business intelligence to ensure you actively control costs and use our cloud budget effectively in this dynamic environment.

Through the assessment process, we will work closely with you to gain complete visibility into your cloud estate and align your cloud costs with business activities.

We work with industry-leading partners to bring you the best technologies. Our vendor-agnostic, holistic approach will ensure you adopt the best multi-cloud technologies to optimise your cloud spend now and into the future.

Our end-to-end approach provides you with a long-term operating model created specifically for you to make sure you achieve continual success in the cloud.

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