To say that public cloud adoption and growth has exploded over the last several years is probably an understatement. Consider this past quarter’s recent earnings reported from the major cloud players where, for example, AWS brought in more than $18 billion alone in Q1 2022 revenue. With more and more organizations turning to the cloud as an essential part of their foundation and a key element of their growth strategy, the complexity around managing cloud costs within has also grown exponentially.
That’s why Snow Software has entered a strategic partnership with Anodot. We see these challenges as a part of a new set of complex cloud cost issues that require a unique perspective to address — one that brings together IT asset management (ITAM) and FinOps.
Managing cloud costs
The rise in cloud adoption can be attributed to several factors that include but not limited to:
- Digital transformation and ongoing architecture modernization initiatives
- The ability to scale resources based on demand
- The need for speed and the agility that the cloud delivers
- Prioritization of strategic innovation goals
I believe we’re well past the era where cloud migration is caused by a desire (or, rather, an incorrect assumption) to seek out a more affordable option in lieu of traditional on-premises data centers. While there are cases where this may be true and affordability can be achieved, cost savings are not a given in the cloud for most organizations. In fact, when you’re being billed by the minute or the second, every moment counts. This is especially true for multicloud environments. According to a recent study, more than 60% of IT decision-makers indicated that they anticipate managing a multicloud environment in the next one to three years.
Given the increased reliance on the cloud, especially multicloud environments, we’ve heard of three main challenges:
- Lack of visibility into cloud spend — If you don’t understand which resources are being consumed and track that consumption over time, how can you accurately forecast and budget spend? Most organizations will also have a hard time understanding when and where they have wasted cloud resources, e.g., a developer instance that’s running 24/7 but only needs to be on from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Billing complexity and cloud cost allocation — While there is some consistency across the major cloud providers for how billing data is presented, there are still unique differences across cloud providers. The sheer volume of billing information can easily overwhelm anyone, not to mention how to reconcile these differences with one another to gain a comprehensive understanding of your cloud investments, break them down and allocate costs based on attributes which are meaningful for your business (e.g., project, team, business unit, customer).
- Maintaining optimal spend — Managing cloud environments is an ongoing effort. To optimize spend of these environments requires regular monitoring, controls, and actionable insights to spot anomalies and identify opportunities for discounts or cost savings, all to ensure you pay only for what you need. Otherwise, organizations are dealing with monumental waste and the potential for surprise bills.
Having accurate data-driven insights to properly assess and manage your cloud environments is essential.
ITAM and FinOps: The dynamic duo
Addressing the cost challenges presented by public cloud is exactly why FinOps was developed. FinOps seeks new ways to handle cloud cost issues more efficiently through increased visibility and accountability. It also seeks to bring additional stakeholders to the table (beyond the cloud team). The original mission of FinOps was to solve for challenges with hyperscale public cloud environments. As the market has adapted and cloud environments have diversified, we’ve seen a broader need to address cloud costs from a hybrid perspective and factor in other types of cloud service providers beyond just AWS, Azure and GCP.
Parallel to this evolution around FinOps, ITAM teams have expressed more interest in cloud services from infrastructure to applications over the last several years. ITAM is typically tasked with managing all an organization’s technology assets. However, because cloud teams or specific business units drive many cloud activities, ITAM teams may have an incomplete picture into these investments and their impact. This situation can create significant blind spots.
An ITAM team may not know, for example, which software licenses are running in the cloud or within containerized environments. Imagine if you’re on a team that’s typically responsible for aligning technology vendor portfolio costs, e.g., total Microsoft spend, but unable to accurately account for Azure usage and billing when renewing your Microsoft 365 contract. Not only could you overpay heavily during a renewal, you could also experience potential areas of unseen risk.
What we’ve realized from talking to our customers is that FinOps and ITAM are addressing similar issues at the same time — but there is a chasm between the two areas.
Introducing Snow Cloud Cost powered by Anodot
The ability to create bridges and connective tissue between ITAM and FinOps while tackling significant cloud cost issues is the primary reason that Snow and Anodot formed this strategic partnership. One of the first steps in our newly formed partnership is the introduction of Snow Cloud Cost powered by Anodot. By leveraging our core technologies within Snow Atlas and Anodot Cost, this new solution will provide visibility, cost savings and governance to multicloud environments. The artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) powered technology spots anomalies and provides forecasting into your organization’s cloud usage and related costs.
Snow Cloud Cost will be sold and supported globally by Snow. Both Snow and Anodot are also making joint product investments that will deliver advanced use cases to our customers and partners focused on connecting ITAM with both FinOps and Cloud.
Snow Cloud Cost takes the guesswork out of cost allocation, forecasting, anomaly detection and budgeting by providing information on real-time cloud consumption and actionable insights on cost savings. The solution also offers cross-functional support so various teams — such as those in ITAM and FinOps — are armed with accurate data and personalized views based on their specific needs.
Cloud cost confusion and complexity is not going away. At Snow, we believe that complex problems require creative approaches. Our ultimate vision around Technology Intelligence is to provide data and insights around an organization’s complete technology stack to enable better decisions, create business agility, empower innovation and minimize risks. We achieve more together, and we’re excited to add Anodot to our growing ecosystem of partners to tackle some of the biggest challenges in cloud cost, now and in the future.
To learn more about Snow Cloud Cost, please reach out to us.
Jay Litkey, the Executive Vice President of Cloud Management at Snow Software, is responsible for creating, driving and executing Cloud Management strategy across the global Snow organization. Before his time with Snow, Jay was the Founder and President of Embotics, the hybrid cloud management leader, which Snow acquired in 2019.