Vineeth Rajagopal
North America Cloud CTO
Tech Mahindra

There are countless best practices to help govern the planning and implementation of your multi-cloud solution. These major pointers shouldn't be overlooked.

  • Track and Manage Capacity
    Create a "savings plan" for your cloud solution to ensure cost efficiency. Likewise, monitor your reserved instances and re-balance as necessary to keep costs low.
  • Eliminate Wasted Resources
    Unused data should be deleted, but you should also work to shorten the timeframe data is retained where possible. Likewise, you should seek to improve the efficiency of what you are using and let go of unused resources.
  • Seek Transparency in Consumption
    To achieve cost efficiency, you must have a clear understanding of where consumption is happening and how to attribute it to various projects and departments. There must also be transparency in how consumption translates to actual cost, not just resource usage.
  • Monitor Consumption Trends
    Aside from knowing what's being consumed in the here and now, transparent consumption also means on-going monitoring, which can reveal downward and upward trends. Downward trends can help you reel in resources to avoid unnecessary waste, while upward trends can help you prepare and cut back where possible.
  • Take Advantage of Elasticity
    Utilize load smoothing, spot strategy, cluster auto-scaling, and other elastic resources where possible to keep resource consumption more dynamic and fluid.
  • Manage Resource Demand
    Use bottom-up budgeting and forecasting to get ahead of resource demand and keep it under control. Failure to do so will lead to "reactive" budgeting, which almost always results in avoidable overspending.

Developing Transparency in Multi-Cloud Strategies

Bringing transparency into your multi-cloud cost management strategy is the ultimate goal, but what does that mean? Aside from a unified view so you can see everything in one place, transparency means creating a cost management model that lays your priorities, limits, and goals on the table.

For starters, step back to evaluate your organization's account structure and ensure that you can map all entities associated with cloud costs to your organizational structure. For example, you need to show how resource groups, projects, and folders connect to products, teams, and departments. From there, ensure that your metadata and tagging process are standardized and utilized across teams.

Split Costs

Creating the transparency you want involves taking that one big cloud bill you pay and splitting it into various projects.

  • For DevOps teams, splitting up the costs makes them aware of the associated expenses, allows them to size cloud resources appropriately, stay within budget, and identify undesired usage.
  • For your IT teams, splitting costs enables them to negotiate contracts with cloud providers, define their service portfolio, seek cost-effective alternatives, and take cost optimization steps.

After splitting costs to show where they're connected, it's time to charge those costs to the right people. Businesses often allocate cloud costs to a single department (often IT), but that approach lacks accuracy. Instead, find a way to automatically allocate cloud costs. For instance, you might average out the cost per customer, create a chargeback statement for each project, and provide a report on tenant usage for each platform. Using the tags and labels discussed earlier, automating this process is entirely feasible.

Whether you have a cloud foundation team or you're putting cloud governance in the hands of your DevOps team, implementing a cloud governance model will prove to be fruitful. We define cloud governance as a framework that guides how end users make use of cloud services by defining and creating policies to control costs, minimize security risks, improve efficiency, and accelerate deployment through prescribed processes and tools.

Approach IT as a Business

The last step in creating a transparent multi-cloud cost management strategy requires a mindset shift, not just to a "cloud-native" mindset, but to a mindset where you view IT as a part of your business. Like any department, IT needs to be profitable.

Once you create an internal service economy to manage things like automated resource allocation, you can consider offering your cloud services to external partners and smaller firms. By creating this service economy, you can boost business with a well-rounded, cloud-native mindset that has turned your cloud architecture into a cloud ecosystem.

By making these changes, you'll reduce cloud costs for your business and get more out of everything you do in the cloud — while using it as it was intended.

If you are interested in learning more, please schedule a meeting with our FinOps experts, Madhusudhanan Vasu to define the overall cloud cost management operating model or learn more about deep advisory, engineering, intelligent cloud operations and subscription management platform (ICOPS) and solution offerings to bring 30% cloud savings through FinOps transformation.