The challenge: to generate economic levers: this is the main reason for switching to the Cloud mentioned by CIOs. This objective, the result of several years of intensive marketing by Cloud Providers, was confronted with the reality of the field where companies having migrated have seen their Cloud bill grow exponentially. However, this initial promise is not a mirage when an optimization and budgetary control process – known as FinOps – is put in place when designing migration projects. This project is now relegated to the background to the benefit of the functional and technical aspects.
The control tower of cloud projects
The FinOps approach guarantees consistency between the design of the technical architecture, consumption behavior and the costs of a cloud platform. This approach makes it possible to curb the biases of a 100% DevOps method or an approach focused only on costs which will lead to uncontrolled expenditure or a lack of agility. It’s about integrating cost drivers into the variable cloud spending model, allowing teams to avoid making economic tradeoffs between time, cost and quality.
Setting up a FinOps approach requires breaking down your cloud consumption as well as taking ownership of the optimization mechanisms available from Cloud Providers in order to guarantee the right balance between costs and performance. The objectives of a FinOps approach can be summarized as: understand the organization’s uses of the cloud, make the best use of the service catalog to reduce costs and avoid waste, set up governance, tools and rules or even identify and eliminate unnecessary expenses.
The FinOps approach must be taken into account from the start of the migration. Projecting the costs of the cloud in run is not sufficiently taken into account in transformation projects, which mainly focus on technological areas. Organizations wait to be more advanced in their cloud deployment to institute financial optimization processes that neglect this essential component of the cloud. However, it is essential to integrate cost management from the start of this transformation.
Take the example of a company wishing to migrate its historical IS in lift and shift. In order to validate the modeling of the target run costs, the first step will consist in migrating all the environments in pay-as-you-go over an observation period. This approach will allow the organization to analyze the behavior of migrated assets in order to activate the appropriate optimization mechanisms by resource.
Once you know and understand your cloud spending, it’s time to use the technological levers for financial optimization. From a resource point of view, consumption indicators will, for example, make it possible to adapt the size of the instances in the event of oversizing. From an architectural point of view, many optimizations are possible even if they require a significant transformation effort such as the adoption of PaaS services, the use of micro-services and the switch to serverless. We will then speak of replatforming, or even refactoring to embrace the cloud model. However, it is essential to make these improvements without losing the agility of the cloud.
Sustain the process
Once the migration has been completed and the technical levers for financial optimization put in place, this approach should be perpetuated and continually improved through FinOps governance using the appropriate skills and tools. Identify a FinOps Lead, in charge of ensuring the right balance between price and performance. He is responsible for the application of FinOps principles within the teams and sets up objectives related to cost control within the development teams. He will also be responsible for defining reporting, the re-invoicing model and the purchasing policy. Finally, he will have the task of creating the metrics to guarantee the transparency of consumption and continuous optimization. Thus the FinOps lead will be able to set up governance based on consumption indicators which will need to be improved thanks to financial optimization levers.
Acquire decision-making tools
Understanding your cloud consumption can be extremely complex, but it is an essential step in a FinOps process. In order to make this cloud spend inventory a success, tagging cloud resources and services is necessary. Tags can correspond to applications, organizational departments or entities. They will then make it possible to create dashboards in order to monitor consumption and analyze anomalies. But this tagging system can be extremely complicated and expensive to set up, so cloud providers and cloud market players offer cloud financial management tools. These tools mainly make it possible to monitor and aggregate the costs of the various suppliers within the framework of a multi-cloud architecture. The production of indicators and the monitoring of costs can also be carried out via Data Visualization tools for single and multi cloud environments. These tools are a precious daily aid for the Lead FinOps.
At present, these approaches are too little used. Organizations preferring to technically stabilize their migration before integrating a FinOps process. Operational reality clearly invalidates this choice, the drifts noted from the start only accentuating with the transformation.