IT leaders face complex choices when it comes to their cloud options. Literally, hundreds of thousands of services are available — and each business must decide what choice is best in terms of performance and price points. For the enterprise, a hybrid cloud environment is now the norm, which increases complexity even more. Given all of this complexity, many businesses are finding that their multi-cloud deployments are out of control and waste is rampant.
In a recent BriefingsDirect podcast, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, interviews William Fellows, Founder and Research Vice President at 451 Research. They discuss how new tools, processes, and methods are helping organizations save money by gaining control over hybrid IT sprawl.
The average organization is wasting 30% of total public cloud costs
Gardner begins the interview by asking Fellows how much money a typical business is wasting by not optimizing their use of public cloud services. “Well, a lot,” says Fellows, “And it’s growing daily.”
Fellows explains that buyers are spending thousands, if not tens of thousands – and some even spend millions per month on cloud services. And it’s pretty much accepted across the industry that about 30% of that is waste. Of course, if a business is only spending 100 dollars a month, it’s not a big deal. But if a business is spending a million dollars a month, 30% is huge.
What exactly is causing this cloud waste, and what can be done to reign it in? Fellows explains that it’s primarily two things: decentralization and complexity.
“At a high level, there is massive organizational dysfunction around cloud and IT,” says Fellows. “This is driven primarily because cloud is usually decentralized purchases at large organizations. A variety of different groups and departments are using it—with no single, central, and logical way of controlling cost.”
He continues, “Secondly, there is the sheer number of available cloud services, and the resulting complexity of trying to deal with all of the different nuances with regard to different image sizes, keeping taps on who is doing what, and so on—which also underpins this resource wastage.”
Hyperscale cloud providers are actually trying to provide better tools for cost reporting on their services. Of course, they are only interested in managing the cost of their own services and not third-party services. As businesses transition to a hybrid world, a more comprehensive solution is needed that will manage the entire multi-cloud environment.
New approaches: cloud management platforms and services
New cloud management services and cloud management platforms are starting to appear. The industry seems to have settled on the term cloud governance to describe these types of tools/services. Cloud governance software and services not only help organizations optimize resources, infrastructure, and workloads in terms of economics and cost, but they also bring in security and compliance.
Cloud governance solutions do more than just review your monthly bill; they look at how services are performing in real time and then recommend actions that will optimize use from an economic point of view. Additionally, some tools are beginning to employ automation based on machine learning, so the tools themselves can learn what’s going on, and automatically make better decisions for the business.
In the wild, wild, west of cloud governance, who will take the lead?
According to Fellows, no single company or one approach has established a leadership position in the industry yet, which makes this point in time a bit risky for end users. “That is why we counsel enterprises to work with vendors who can offer a rich set of services. The more things that you have, the more you are going to be able to undertake and navigate this journey to the cloud — and then support the digital transformation.”
Fellows advises companies to work with vendors that have loosely coupled approaches because it allows businesses to take advantage of a core set of native services — but also gives them the flexibility to use their own tools or third-party services via application programming interfaces (APIs). He likes the direction Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) is going in terms of bringing all of the pieces together that allow enterprises to operate across their entire hybrid IT environment.
He mentions how HPE OneView is providing a software-defined way of provisioning infrastructure. Also, HPE OneSphere offers API-driven management for applications, services, workloads, and the whole workspace and developer piece as well. “So one is coming top-down and the other one bottom-up,” summarizes Fellows. “Once those things become integrated, they will offer a pretty rich way for organizations to manage their hybrid IT environments.”
Additionally, “HPE has a leading position in this new kind of hardware consumption model — for using new hardware services payment models — via its HPE GreenLake Hybrid Cloud offering.” Fellow concludes, “The HPE offering looks like it’s coming together pretty well.”