Cloud Spend: The Cloud FinOps Driver
The Foundations of a FinOps Strategy
Pepperdata’s Autonomous FinOps for Kubernetes
FinOps is a term born from two different disciplines – finance and DevOps. It is a budding approach to managing and optimizing cloud spending across different teams within an organization.
According to The FinOps Foundation, FinOps is both a financial management discipline and cultural practice designed to help enterprises to maximize the cloud’s value to their business by enabling engineering, finance, technology, and business teams to collaborate on data-driven spending decisions. As FinOps is still an emerging methodology, it is iterative in nature and currently evolving.
FinOps attempts to bring the rigor of financial accountability to the variable cost model of the cloud. FinOps gathers finance, technology and business to develop and master a shared understanding of cloud economics. Through this cross-department collaboration, an organization works to create and implement a viable operating model for efficient cloud usage.
Put simply, FinOps is a set of best practices designed to streamline and optimize the management of cloud computing and all related operations within an enterprise. It is basically a team sport across an organization. Cross-functional teams — Engineering, Finance, Product Development, Research, etc. — must be engaged in the process to ensure faster product delivery while achieving predictability and keeping operational costs under control.
Overarching business opportunities and regulatory scrutiny require all business units to respond together like a well-oiled collective machine. With bottlenecks across departments likely to occur, a key to mitigating those is to enable productive working relationships in which each team—finance, DevOps, and engineering—can collaborate and advise each other using a common toolset. Read the solution brief to see how the Pepperdata platform empowers proper FinOps-level coordination within enterprises through its product suite.
Gartner projects that cloud spending will grow by 20% to $500B by 2022. Yet while almost two-thirds of respondents expected to realize cost savings by moving to the cloud, only 46% were achieving that outcome.
Over one-third of organizations say they have exceeded their cloud spend by as much as 40%. Organizations migrate to the cloud with the promise of lower operational expenses, enhanced efficiencies, and more substantial output.
Unfortunately, while the move from on-premises to the public cloud has unleashed innovation and agility, it has also resulted in unpredictable bills and runaway costs.
Almost every factor that makes the cloud attractive for application development can also drive cost overruns. When rolled into high-level themes, such factors include:
The rise of cloud computing has disrupted the way modern businesses operate. Failing to adopt a cloud-first approach will put any organization behind the competition or even out of it.
Cloud computing and its sister technologies are imperative for today’s enterprises to grow, thrive, and succeed. However, embracing the cloud also means a new emphasis on cloud cost management.
Because everyone can access the cloud and procure services and resources without control and oversight, it has resulted in the loss of centralized procurement. This creates holes in financial accountability.
Complex pricing by cloud service providers adds to these issues, leading to rapid financial waste due to overprovisioning and underprovisioning of cloud services and resources and redundant cloud computing usage.
FinOps helps enterprises achieve that balance. Moreover, as cloud computing grows and the adoption of hybrid and multi-cloud models intensifies, the role of FinOps in modern organizations will become more pronounced and crucial.
FinOps aims to help organizations enjoy the advantages of the cloud — agility, scalability, on-demand resource consumption, and decentralized control — while pushing productivity and innovation without unnecessary costs.
In an ideal enterprise, FinOps is not a cost center but rather a revenue center. This occurs when FinOps teams can accurately forecast the ROI of a given project. When FinOps can determine the difference between good and bad cloud spend, and the enterprise can calculate the financial benefits of a project relative to its cost, FinOps can pay for itself and then some.
It can be challenging to start a FinOps strategy from the ground up. FinOps is still an emerging methodology, and every strategy is iterative. There is no universal template for success.
Planning a FinOps strategy entails a massive amount of time, effort, and collaboration across different departments, intending to create a transparent accountability process designed to maximize every dollar spent on the cloud. And every strategy begins with the team.
FinOps is a team sport, and collaboration across an enterprise toward the enterprise’s goals — with a balance of empathy for one another’s goals — is essential to FinOps success. While there are no fixed requirements for FinOps team members or its composition, the FinOps Foundation identifies the five major stakeholders, also referred to as personas, that typically collaborate in a FinOps environment:
Executives. These people are typically C-suite execs (CIO, CTO, or a head of Cloud Center of Excellence) representing the business side. They focus on team efficiency, accountability, budget management, and transparency.
Product Owners. These individuals are usually the department heads or project leaders who head the creation, deployment, and management of cloud workloads of their organization. These can also include a director of cloud optimization, a cloud analyst, or a business operations manager.
Engineering. As the technical experts, the engineering team comprises software engineers, systems engineers, cloud architects, and engineering managers. They translate requirements and budgets into actionable cloud environments. The engineering team also handles the bulk of technical work like troubleshooting, automation, and optimization.
Finance & Procurement. Finance experts like procurement specialists, financial planners, and business financial advisors help set the budget, take care of the accounting, and conduct cloud forecasting.
Practitioners. FinOps practitioners are specialized but new positions dedicated to facilitating FinOps projects and initiatives. They lead collaboration efforts and guide other FinOps team members via best practices and prescriptive activities.
Operate. Enterprises implement a basic FinOps strategy at first and then constantly measure their performance and alignment based on speed, quality, and spending. As they go along, they build a culture of FinOps. This includes creating and maintaining a Cloud Cost Center of Excellence built around business, financial, and operational stakeholders who also describe and set the most viable and appropriate governance policies and models.
The FinOps Foundation has laid out the principles of the FinOps framework through its members’ combined expertise and experience.
As the FinOps model is constantly changing, so are its principles. Initially announced in 2019, these principles have slightly changed over time as new technologies and trends emerged, like hybrid and multiple clouds.
Team collaboration. Every department needs to communicate and collaborate and operate using a centralized set of best practices to achieve efficiency and continuous collaboration.
Accountability. Users should own their cloud usage and manage their consumption against their budget. Visibility into cloud spending at all levels is imperative—monitor team-level goals to empower accountability.
One FinOps Team. There should only be one FinOps team to govern and manage transactions, discounts, and other dealings with Cloud Providers.
Accessible and Timely Reports. Immediate access to feedback encourages efficient behavior, while visibility helps determine if resources are under or over-provisioned.
Business Value-Driven Decisions. All cloud-related decisions should be strategic and give more weight to achieving business goals. To achieve this, FinOps teams should perform trending and variance analysis to identify causes of increased costs. Internal team benchmarking is necessary to discover and implement best practices. Industry peer-level benchmarking helps gauge performance against the competition.
Use the Variable Cost Model of The Cloud. Rightsizing instances and services allow for more appropriate resourcing levels. Likewise, comparing pricing between services and resource types empower better decision-making.
The FinOps Lifecycle
There are three phases to the FinOps lifecycle – inform, optimize, and operate.
Inform. The first stage of the FinOps lifecycle is about empowerment through gathering and analyzing all the critical information to drive strategic and correct business decision-making. Next, the Inform phase ensures the enterprise has the accurate information and insights to fuel its allocation, benchmarking, budgeting, and forecasting.
Optimize. Equipped with the correct information and fueled by highly actionable insights, organizations and teams proceed to optimize their cloud footprint. This is done by entering into better deals with cloud providers to rightsizing instances and automating the elimination of wasteful use of resources.
Today’s FinOps solutions enable enterprises to align the rigor of financial accounting with the variable cost model of the cloud. However, although such tools are an excellent place for organizations struggling to get started on the ‘inform’ phase of the life cycle, they fall short in driving usage reduction because of engineering pushback for spending their precious time on cost optimization.
FinOps 2.0 is emerging as the next generation of FinOps to overcome these challenges. There is a need for remediation that can run autonomously and continuously to optimize data infrastructure. This capability is called automated remediation by Forrester or Augmented FinOps by Gartner.
FinOps2.0 automates traditional DevOps concepts of agility, continuous integration and deployment, and end-user feedback to financial governance, budgeting, and cost optimization through the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) practices (Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies 2022).
Key capabilities of FinOps 2.0 include:
Visibility, automation, and tailored scalability are essential to supporting and improving your organization’s FinOps strategy. Your enterprise’s legacy monitoring tools can’t handle the constant tuning of cloud infrastructure, applications, and processes. To effectively manage your cloud spend and avoid cloud bill shock, your organization requires more than just traditional cloud cost monitoring.
Kubernetes, in particular, delivers operations teams unparalleled control and automation. It aids in on-prem-to-cloud migration and is rapidly becoming essential for cloud performance. By 2025, more than 75% of global organizations will be running containerized applications in production, significantly increasing from fewer than 35% in 2019.
The combination of FinOps and Kubernetes offers enormous potential benefits for application development but also poses massive new challenges regarding cloud cost visibility, allocation, analysis, planning, and reporting.
Pepperdata provides solutions that help businesses regain control of runaway cloud costs. It is the first company to offer an autonomous solution for optimizing Big Data workloads on-premises and public clouds.
Pepperdata is also the first company to provide an autonomous solution for optimizing Kubernetes clusters in public clouds. As enterprises move more workloads to containers on Kubernetes, they must have a way to automate away some of the tedium associated with ensuring those workloads run efficiently.
FinOps 1.0 tools provide a barrage of optimization suggestions, but these recommendations are often unrealized because engineering teams find them too burdensome to implement at scale.
With a FinOps 2.0 solution like Pepperdata’s Autonomous Optimization, such concerns are no longer an issue. Instead, the AI engine takes care of all the hard work — identifying opportunities for savings, recommending changes that can be made without impacting performance or reliability, and implementing those changes autonomously across an organization’s entire Kubernetes infrastructure.
With Autonomous FinOps, FinOps teams can facilitate their FinOps lifecycle — from gathering information to fueling optimization efforts and discovering new practices to achieve business goals.
A FinOps culture is now imperative as cloud computing grows. Discover how Pepperdata can support your FinOps strategy and help your organization maximize the cloud to its fullest potential without compromising control, speed, and innovation.
To learn more about how Pepperdata achieves these results, please visit pepperdata.com/kubernetes.
“Pepperdata is very customer focused and help to resolve any outstanding issues. The service is prompt and help us to fix few issues and many users are making use for application performance tuning and reducing memory wastage.”
“There was little optimization, or sometimes it was deemed more costly than simply adding capacity (human vs machine time/cost). Pepperdata solved both the monitoring and the proactive tuning, saving us time and money in building this, but also time and money in low level tuning of our applications.”
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