In Part 1 of this blog post I pointed out one of the biggest issues with moving to a public/hybrid cloud (a mix of on-prem infrastructure and public cloud) architecture was the increase in spending. If left unmanaged this could cause your IT budget to spin out of control. I broke this post into 2 parts in order to spend more time covering the initial problem and then focusing on a solution in my second post.
There are 3 different routes that could be taken when trying to adjust for the cloud spending your organization is faced with. The first route is to develop your own cloud cost management solution. This can be costly and can also require the ramping up of new resources if you do not already have a development team hired. While it is an option, I try not to recommend homegrown solutions if there is a better option out there. There are definitely better solutions out there.
The second route is to ignore the need for a cost management solution and attempt to enact the required changes at a cultural level. Again this solution is by no means a bad idea. Companies are already experiencing cultural changes from digital transformation so modifying how your team views computing resources is not a stretch. But again, this can be costly and requires time and resources that would be better used running day-to-day operations.
The final route that we at Red Hat have explored the most is to go outside of your organization to find a cost management solution that meets your needs. Finding a technology partner in the cloud management space can be daunting. There are a lot of options out there and how do you find the best option for your team without breaking the bank or causing unnecessary downtime due to training or ramp up?
In searching for partners to work with at Red Hat we have come up with a working list of questions to be aware of when trying to find a Cloud* company to use. This is not an exhaustive list but is definitely worth considering:
Is the partner using Open Source Technology? - Open Source technology is well regarded for providing cutting edge technologies while also providing secure and reliable applications with insight into how the application runs. This should be heavily considered when looking for a Cloud* Company.
Is the company focusing on Hybrid Cloud? - Many Cloud* companies focus solely on public and not hybrid public cloud. This makes sense from a marketing perspective because public cloud is very well known. Hybrid Cloud is an important aspect that should also be considered as it can help ease regulatory and compliance issues to run certain applications on-prem as opposed to in a public cloud.
What market is the company looking to be in? - Are they focusing on a specific industry or customer type? This is important because it will create extra requirements such as compliance guidelines (FDA, USDA, Government Compliance) or it can tailor the solution to meet certain industrial requirements (Airline, Food and Beverage, Telco).
Are they solely providing Cost Management? - As I mentioned there are "Cloud Issues" and certain applications tailor to multiple issues instead of focusing solely on cost management. This should be considered when the solution is looked at as you may be able to "kill 2 birds with one stone."
Is the partner only focusing on one or two hyperscalers or are they hyperscaler agnostic? - This is important because a partner that makes an agnostic product will be able to adapt easier as the market shifts. They are also more likely to support smaller hyperscalers rather than only the large ones. Which can help your company get the competitive edge if you already partner with other companies such as Rackspace. An agnostic solution will allow for easier hyperscaler change if you found a public cloud to meets your needs.
Who does the company already partner with? - Larger Cloud* companies may already be partnering with companies you have experience with. This can help make the decision easier if they offer integrated solutions.
Is the software offering easy to integrate with? - This will help feed into the above question as you may want to integrate cost management into your Finance or Production system to provide a more holistic view of your IT cloud spend. This can also help automate mundane tasks such as weekly reporting to help provide insight to executives in the company by integrating with your current visualization tool.
What does this company get out of a partnership with us? - On both sides of the meeting there should be some obvious benefits and you want to ensure that these benefits are equal so the partnership does not become one sided.
As I mentioned this list is by no means exhaustive, but it should help you and your team when vetting partners. Red Hat has put countless hours into curating our partner ecosystem and this includes Cloud Cost Management companies to help our customers manage their day 2 operations and onward. Some solutions are even integrated into our products to help provide more in-depth cloud management. Companies like ProphetStor run on our Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform to provide performance, cost and efficiency management at the workload level rather than looking at the cluster as one item. While cloud cost management is not the only issue that customers encounter when they migrate to a hybrid or full cloud solution, it is definitely a pain point felt by multiple business units within an organization and that makes it a key point of contention for making or breaking a company's cloud initiatives.