It's 2021, and the world and its dog is migrating to the cloud. Thanks to the pandemic, more companies are realising its value than ever. Gartner said in April that public cloud end-user spending would grow 23% in 2021. That's on top of bumper growth figures for 2020. But just because everyone is rushing to the cloud doesn't mean that they're all saving money.
In fact, some are spending more than ever. Cloud hosting company and service provider Aptum found that 57% of companies across the UK, the US, and Canada ran into unexpected costs in the cloud. Data centre industry association AFCOM noted 58% of respondents to its 2021 State of the Data Center report repatriating data back from the cloud to their own premises or colocation facilities.
Cloud sticker shock is a perennial problem for IT pros, but now there's an emerging discipline to help get it under control in an organised, disciplined way. It's about focusing on cloud finance, and it's called FinOps.
What is Finops?
FinOps is about more than traditional IT budgeting. It's about building an expert team in your company that's smart about both IT finance and cloud computing. They must understand the nuances of both.
This is a discipline, according to the FinOps Foundation, a project created by the nonprofit Linux Foundation. It's an operating model that splits financial cloud governance into three stages.
- Inform: This gathers data from those different teams to help understand what they're doing in the cloud and how much it's costing.
- Optimise: With all the data handy, you can identify areas for improvement, helping to eliminate unnecessary costs.
- Operate: After whipping your cloud financing into shape, this is the repetitive phase, where you apply the principles you've learned to everyday operations so that you keep things on track.
Many companies will already be in the cloud and haemorrhaging cash, but the ideal approach to FinOps is to prepare all of this before you start your migration. Build a team that can work with each other at different levels in your IT operation from technicians provisioning virtual machines through to executives defining business goals and looking for ways for the cloud to support them. Ensure that they can speak a common language - or that there's someone in the team who can translate from suit-speak to geek-speak.
Somewhere in that team should be professionals who understand not only the technology advantages of things like containers, virtual machines, and serverless functions, but also their underlying pricing mechanics and how they relate to the types of workloads you're running.
Also in the mix should be someone with an eye on longer-term value rather than just short-term savings. A decision that shaves a few pounds from your IT budget today could cost you dearly in functionality and speed later.
FinOps is a wide-ranging discipline, but for companies currently trying to work out why their cloud bills are through the roof, it's a necessary one. Those skills are hard to find, but that's where third-party partners like Probrand come in. Come and talk to us about how to do cloud right without breaking the bank. The best time to do that is before you migrate. The next best time is as soon as possible afterwards.