September 13, 2017
By Jay Chapel, CEO of ParkMyCloud
I talk to enterprises, MSPs and industry pundits about cloud trends on a daily basis. Some are no surprise: Public cloud is here to stay. AWS is king, and customers care about cost.
I also hear that companies are working to figure out if they want to adopt a single cloud/multi-region strategy or become true multi-cloud users. That decision really boils down to risk mitigation. For most, AWS is part of the landscape no matter which direction they go. It’s the clear leader in this space and continues to innovate and grow at a record pace, including signing a deal to run VMware’s SDDC on the AWS Cloud.
AWS just hit $4 billion in quarterly revenue – that’s $16 billion run rate – and the VMware integration will only help with enterprises. It’s like the new IBM: What CIO or CTO is going to get fired for moving their infrastructure to AWS’ cloud to improve agility, attract millennial developers who want to innovate in the cloud, leverage the cloud ecosystem, and lower cost by eliminating data centers? My company supports Azure and Google, yet 75 percent or more of the new trials and customers we see use AWS, and their environments are almost always larger than those on Azure and Google. There is a reason Microsoft and Google do not release IaaS statistics. And for IBM and Oracle, they are the wayback IaaS time machine.
Cost is something enterprises really care about, and optimizing their cloud spend as their bills grow is becoming increasingly more important to the CFO and CIO. For partners, my advice is to have customers buy capacity in advance — yes, that kind of defeats the purpose of the pay-as-you-go model, but it will save significant money. They may also need help right-sizing servers, as developers have a tendency to overprovision for their needs; turning stuff off when it’s not being used; and finding orphaned resources that are “lost” in the cloud. Since 65 percent of a typical bill is spent on compute (servers/instances); focus there first and foremost since it has the largest impact on a bill.
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Now for three surprising observations:
DevOps and IT ops are being held responsible for cloud cost control, not finance. Now, finance (or the CFO) might provide a directive to IT or engineering that their cloud costs must be reined in and that they need to look at …
… ways to optimize. But at the end of the day, DevOps and IT ops are the teams out there evaluating and selecting tools and policies to help their companies reduce cloud costs. So make sure you talk to the technical teams, which will have a large stake in putting a cost control initiative in place.
It’s all about automation, DevOps and self-service. As mentioned, the technical folks are responsible for optimizing their cloud spend. As such, you’ll need to talk the talk. It’s all about show me, not pretty reports and graphs. Be prepared to show how any tools you recommend mesh with continuous integration and delivery processes through an API, preferably with a simple UI to ensure self-service. At the infrastructure layer, it’s about what you can do with and through DevOps tools like Slack, Atlassian, and Jenkins, and at the enterprise level with SSO providers such as Ping, Okta and Microsoft, repeating themes over and over again regardless of the cloud provider.
Looking ahead, it’s about stacks. As the idea of microservices continues to take hold, along with containers, developers are utilizing multiple instances or services to deploy a single application or environment. In years past, the bottleneck for implementing such groups of servers or databases was the deployment time. But modern configuration management tools like Chef, Puppet, and Ansible make this a common strategy by turning the infrastructure into code. However, managing these environments for humans can remain challenging.
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