Getting Control of Public Cloud Budgets and Provisioning

August 29, 2016 The Editors

Too often public cloud initiatives feel like the film ‘The Money Pit’, when they really should feel more like ‘Money Ball’.

Cloud and Money Ball, why they're a lot alike

In The Money Pit, an optimistic couple comes across the deal of a life-time and buys a mansion, thinking they picked up a great investment. But in no time, the reality sinks in: un-anticipated costs, major surprises and an inexperienced maintenance crew lead to pure chaos.

Meanwhile in Money Ball, the unconventional General Manager of the Oakland A’s  shows us the potential to win when you crunch your numbers up front, find the right talent and move forward with a plan based on data and hard evidence.

These stories reflect two distinct realities of a transition to public cloud infrastructure and application platforms.

A move to the cloud is intended to increase efficiencies, eliminate unnecessary costs by paying for only what you use, and free your team to be more agile and faster than ever.

But without a Money Ball approach, you might just be wasting effort (and money).

In a recent our 2016  State of Cloud Readiness study, we asked IT leaders what typically goes wrong with cloud costs governance. The answers will seem familiar to anyone who has rushed into a cloud project without the proper procedures:

  • Over-spending: 57 percent of IT leaders say they go over cloud budgets
  • Confusion: 45 percent struggle to adapt to a shift to a consumption-based, operational expense model
  • Mistakes: 34 percent of IT leaders have experienced a cloud failure caused by their staff’s actions.

Thankfully there are a number of strategies to help you overcome three key areas of challenge:

Budgeting:

Traditional budgets are too static and inefficient for public cloud purposes. IT must find a way to accurately predict the future, and right-size operational budgets to meet the bare-minimum needed, and not pay for 24/7 service, when a fraction of that will do. This means carefully analyzing applications to understand their impact on server, storage and networking resources as well as dependencies and expected service levels to the business. This understanding is fundamental to creating an accurate forecast of the costs of moving workloads to the cloud.

Accountability:

The cloud makes it easy and fast to provision new resources, and consume services as needed. This is both a pro and a con. The agility and flexibility are part of the cloud’s promise – but IT still needs to find a way to provide the proper oversight and processes to ensure spending is in control and the cloud is achieving its strategic objectives.

To start, IT leaders need to embrace the practice of ‘least privilege’ whereby administration rights are based on the absolute minimum requirements the individual needs to do their job and nothing more. Combined with documented policies on how cloud resources are requested and retired can help avoid costly ‘compute sprawl’ and ensure those who stand up and manage workloads are ultimately accountable for the costs incurred by their work.

Of course, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Monitoring tools like the Softchoice Cloud Dashboard that allow you to track consumption in real-time by department, project and individual provide the insights necessary to manage costs and accountabilities effectively in the cloud.

Optimization:

Unlike an expensive piece of hardware, once you buy into the cloud, you can actually make it cheaper over time. Delineating between production and testing and developing environments and then tagging these resources allows you to generate reports that help you identify areas with low utilization. This makes it easier to drive decisions to consolidate resources or retire them altogether, allowing you to improve efficiency and reduce your costs over time.

Optimization is a crucial, never-ending phase of any cloud project. Achieving it requires the right tool set, insight and expertise to act on those insights.

Are you considering a move to the public cloud, or perhaps you are already facing these governance issues?

Take a look at our free guide now and get more details on the causes and cures for these cloud finance issues.

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About the Author

The Editors

The Softchoice editorial team consists of industry professionals with range of cloud and IT services experience. Together they provide editorial oversight and creative direction for all hub content. To contact the editors, email azure@softchoice.com.

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