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Top 10 Cloud Cost Management Tools for 2021

There's booming demand for cloud services, but partners and customers that don't carefully manage those cloud workloads could face runaway costs for IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services.

To keep those as-a-service costs in check, partners can adopt cloud cost management and optimization (CCMO) tools and services. Indeed, demand for multi-cloud cost management and optimization tools has been surging — with cloud billing management tools alone expected to generate $9.34 billion in annual revenue by 2022, according to an IndustryARC report.

But which CCMO tools are the best?

Some clues emerge in the Forrester Wave: Cloud Cost Management And Optimization, Q4 2020 report. We're not at liberty to publish the complete report findings. But we can mention the vendors covered -- while offering our views on recent developments at each vendor, coupled with a look at their respective partner program initiatives.

Here's a look at each company featured in the Forrester report-- sorted alphabetically -- plus ChannelE2E's perspectives.

 1. Apptio Cloudability: Apptio acquired Cloudability in May 2019. At the time of the deal, Cloudability's Financial Operations (FinOps) Platform managed more than $9 billion in enterprise cloud spending across Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Fast forward to present day, and Apptio's partner ecosystem spans technology companies, resellers, and managed service providers. Those partners manage more than $100 billion in cloud customer spending, Apptio asserts.

2. CloudCheckrThe company claims to help partners and customers save 30 percent on public cloud costs while managing the risks of cloud security and regulatory compliance. Most importantly: CloudCheckr focuses aggressively on the MSP partner ecosystem. True believers include Cass Information Systems, which embraced CloudCheckr for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) management services in 2018.

3. Densify: The company released its Cloud Cost Intelligence product to help customers manage their cloud services spending in August 2019. Densify was previously known as Cirba. The company rebranded in 2017 to reflect "the company’s strategic value proposition to reduce cloud and infrastructure costs while also improving application performance." Although Densify has announced individual partner relationships and alliances, we haven't seen a major partner program push from the company. Still, the Densify partner ecosystem includes integrators and MSPs.

4. Flexera OptimaFlexera has acquired multiple cloud cost management, optimization and analytics tools in recent years. Example deals include Flexera acquiring RISC Networks (2019), RightScale (2018), MetaSaaS (2018) and BrainWare Group (2018). Take a closer look, and Flexera Optima is based on the RightScale acquisition. Flexera has more than 200 partners and solution providers worldwide, though we haven't heard much of an MSP partner push.

5. Nutanix Xi Beam: Nutanix, backed by private equity firm Bain Capital, has been evolving its HCI (hyper converged infrastructure) business from hardware to software and subscription services. The journey includes acquisitions. For example, Nutanix acquired Minjar in 2018, then relaunched Minjar's intelligent cloud optimization tool as Nutanix Xi Beam. Nutanix claims Xi Beam can save partners and customer 35 percent on cloud spending, and the company certainly is a partner friendly business.

6. Replex: The startup company in May 2019 raised $2.45 million in seed funding and $4.15 million since the company launched. Replex's platform allows business owners, finance managers and IT managers to see who spends what on cloud services within an organization. From there, the user can manage cloud chargebacks to specific departments or users for various cloud services, Replex says. We have not seen a formal partner push from the company.

7. Turbonomic: Turbonomic acquired ParkMyCloud in May 2019, uniting two firms that specialize in application performance management, cloud application migrations, along with cloud cost management tools. Turbonomic was founded in 2009 as VMTurbo and then rebranded under its current name in August 2017. Around the same time, there were rumors that Cisco was interested in buying the Boston-based firm. Turbonomic partner program details are here. Key adopters in the MSP and IT consulting sectors include AHEAD, Presidio and World Wide Technology (WWT).

8. VMware CloudHealth: VMware acquired CloudHealth in 2018. Ahead of the deal, CloudHealth had raised roughly $86 million in investment capital, including a $46 million Series D round led by Kleiner Perkins. CloudHealth touts its technology as enabling organizations to manage cloud cost, usage, security and performance from a single interface. And of course, VMware has a massive partner ecosystem.

Cloud Cost Management: Two More to Know

Admittedly, the Forrester Wave report on cloud cost management and optimization (CCMO) tools only covered eight companies. But ChannelE2E has at least two more CCMO offerings for partners to keep in mind. They include:

9. Kaseya Unigma: Kaseya acquired Unigma in 2017. Fast forward to present day, and Kaseya continues to support Unigma as a stand-alone product and it continues to perform well, according to Taunia Kipp, executive VP and chief marketing officer at Kaseya. Also, a significant amount of Unigma technology is now built into Kaseya VSA as part of the latest RMM (remote monitoring and management) software release, she adds. The result: VSA now includes public cloud management as a part of the core product.

10. Public Cloud Providers: Check in with the major public cloud service providers and you'll see that each of them now offers cloud cost management-related tools. One example involves Microsoft's own Azure Cost Management + Billing capabilities. Those features are based on Microsoft's acquisition of Cloudyn in 2017, ChannelE2E believes. Meanwhile, Google Cloud Cost Management and AWS Cloud Financial Management tools are available directly from those vendors, respectively.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.