Are you constantly playing ‘spot the difference’ with your cloud costs?

While the pressure is on for organisations to embrace the myriad benefits and opportunities for transformation and innovation that cloud brings, there’s also an undercurrent of despair. It seems that the much-touted predictability of cloud costs isn’t all it’s been made out to be.

A central failing of most cloud services is that they bill customers for resources that are never used or fully utilised – so costs spiral out of control. Gartner’s report on ‘How to Manage and Optimise Costs of Public Cloud IaaS and PaaS’ estimates that as much as 70% of cloud costs are wasted. (Take a moment to read that again: 70%!).

Many organisations reliant on their cloud infrastructures have learned the hard way to expect the unexpected – on a regular basis. They’re challenged by OPEXs that vary from month to month, unregulated cloud costs delivering surprising price hikes, and the need to scale their requirements up and down constantly.

If those challenges sound familiar, and you count yourself amongst those organisations looking for ways to reduce cloud costs and eliminate waste, you’re not alone.

A sharp new focus on cloud cost optimisation

It’s no surprise that the appetite for transformation using cloud technology continues to grow. The 2022 Cloud Infrastructure Report found that 63% of the IT and business decision-makers (all responsible for significant public cloud infrastructure investments) that they surveyed say that they plan to increase their use of cloud technology.

While many intend to ramp up cloud utilisation, 50% of respondents also called out optimising their cloud costs to improve ROI as a transformational goal for 2022. And 62% plan to focus on and improve cost management capabilities for their cloud infrastructure (which makes it one of the top priorities for decision-makers alongside security, automation, resource inventory, and utilisation).

However, this new determination to address organisational costs comes alongside a drop in confidence in visibility into public cloud costs. Last year, 31% were ‘very’ confident in their visibility. This year it’s dropped to just 21%. And the inability to monitor and optimise their public cloud costs is a major issue for 70% of those surveyed.

While signalling a clear intention to optimise their cloud spend, it’s clearly a struggle for many organisations to make headway. Although 91% use cloud purchase options, such as reserved instances or savings plans, most – and we are talking 68% here – report they aren’t using them effectively. For example, they are finding that committing for a 1- or 3-year period to the discounts promised through reserved instances can be a false economy. What may start by saving money now, may create significant inefficiencies later.

Likewise, spot instances which fire-sale spare computing capacity can offer dramatically lower prices (with discounts up to 90%), but availability can be terminated at short notice. Which isn’t ideal if your workload is critical. Rightsizing is another trap for even the savviest technology or business team and requires constant finetuning – especially in a complex, multi-cloud environment.

So, what are the options to effectively control cloud costs and eliminate waste?

FinOps, and why it’s so hot right now

In this cloud context, FinOps is the acronym for Finance and DevOps. The FinOps Foundation defines FinOps as “an evolving cloud financial management discipline and cultural practice that enables organisations to get maximum business value by helping engineering, finance, technology and business teams to collaborate on data-driven spending decisions.”

FinOps is a worldwide movement rather than a set of proprietary processes. It’s gained considerable traction in its first decade with its rate-optimisation analysis approach to technology, using real-time reporting and just-in-time processes in conjunction with teams working collaboratively.

The desired outcome of investing in a FinOps practice is to promote the cost accountability and business agility needed to control and optimise cloud costs without sacrificing speed or innovation.

So, what – when done well – does FinOps deliver?

A mature FinOps practice will help your organisation to accelerate how quickly you realise value from your investment. So, your ROI is faster. It will drive financial accountability and visibility, meaning you’ll always know how much you’re spending and where. It will provide transparency and granular reporting, enabling your organisation to optimise cloud usage and become cost-efficient.

And because FinOps is a cross-organisation initiative (from finance to product, to engineering and more), it builds trust and collaboration. Lastly, it identifies and controls the dreaded sprawl of uncontrolled (and often unknown) cloud spending.

This quote from the FinOps Foundation sums up successful FinOps outcomes beautifully: “If it seems that FinOps is about saving money, then think again. FinOps is about making money.”

You’re not alone

It must be noted that while 96% of all respondents in the report cited earlier acknowledge that they view FinOps as important to cloud success, in actuality, only 10% have a mature FinOps practice in place. So, there’s still a long way to go.

It doesn’t need to be a solo journey, though. In fact, it shouldn’t be unless you are determined to take your eye off the ball of what your organisation does to stay in business. (And we’d suggest that your future is probably not in cloud optimisation).

For those companies that have already adopted FinOps (whether it’s a work-in-progress or fully-fledged practice), 83% have chosen to leverage the skills, knowledge, abilities, and advanced optimisation technology of their Managed Service Partner (MSP). They look to their MSP to lead, support or collaborate with their internal teams in varying degrees, or in some cases, to manage the FinOps practice in its entirety.

Due to their investment in proven, innovative cost optimisation technology and years of expertise, your MSP can fast-track your FinOps practice’s ability to drive down cloud costs and eliminate overspending and waste – and start talking about a positive ROI.

Announcing the Global Storage Partnership with NetApp

Global Storage are excited to announce their partnership with NetApp Australia Pty. Ltd. The five-year agreement will allow Global Storage to offer Managed Services now in partnership with NetApp using NetApp data management platforms.

“The NetApp partnership will showcase a number of options for storage management to customers wishing to adopt in cloud or on-premise managed services. Primarily we will be focussing on backup, disaster recovery, infrastructure and Office365 managed services, with additional products to follow.”
Gavin Hoffmann, Sales & Marketing Director – Global Storage.

The partnership with NetApp highlights Global Storage’s focus to strengthen its holistic approach to data management and protection. The joint teams will work together to ensure customers have superior options for data management, data protection, analytics, IOT and security.

As customers demand more freedom-of-choice in these areas, and consider the best outcome in terms of cloud, hybrid cloud and on-premise locality, the idea of a universal data management service becomes an ever more important value add to Business and to the protection of business critical data and operations.

NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud, providing a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with our partners, we empower global organisations to unleash the full potential of their data to expand customer touch-points, foster greater innovation, and optimise their operations. For more information, visit www.netapp.com. #DataDriven

Get in touch with the Global Storage team now to learn more about how our full suite of data management solutions can help your Business achieve their data management goals.

Data Protection in the Cloud

With the increasing trend of organisations thinking of or currently migrating critical production workloads to the cloud whether it’s a hybrid or public provider model it is still important to look at your data protection, there are the obvious advantages and benefits over the private cloud model and these have been documented numerous times and there is no need to go into detail about them again, but just to refresh a cloud should provide infrastructure, environmental, human resource and software licensing savings; this in turn allows the business to focus strategically on core business services.

The advantages are clear but what other critical requirements are there? Does disaster recovery, business continuity, backup and archiving compliance ring a bell? It is important when an organisation is in the process of choosing a cloud provider that along with providing robust IaaS SLAs that the provider can also provide data protection SLAs.

Has the provider had previous disaster recovery experience? Can it provide your organisation with a clear path during a disaster? Does the provider in fact provide backup, archiving and restore functionality at all? Who maintains the backup, archive and disaster recovery? Is the disaster recovery tested? Cloud providers located at Tier 3 data centres provide numerous N+1 redundancy features but the fact remains there have been two Tier 1 vendor outages in the last 6 months that affected hundreds of customers. So whether you organisation is looking or currently moving towards either a public or hybrid cloud strategy ask the provider about data protection, your data is your business.

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