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Managing AWS Cloud Costs, Consumption: Got A Strategy?

How’s this for ironic: As businesses shift their applications and infrastructure to cloud services, the “predictable” cloud costs are becoming quite unpredictable. That spells opportunity for channel partners — especially those that help customers to manage cloud consumption and associated costs down to the department and per-user level.

The topic should be front-and-center at this week’s Amazon AWS re:Invent 2015 conference in Las Vegas. Consider the following feedback from cloud adopters who attended Amazon Web Services (AWS) Global Summit in April and July respectfully. According to an attendee survey organized by Dimension Research and Cloud Cruiser:

  • 66 percent find it challenging to track cloud consumption for cost allocations;
  • 30 percent or more will complement their AWS cloud with another cloud; and
  • Only 25 percent are able to align IT costs with consumption.

Translation: Customers are embracing multiple public clouds but they’re not sure how to manage overall costs — nor can they show businesses exactly what services are being consumed, according to the survey results.

Time for the Next MSP, Channel Partner Shift

This is a familiar conversation for some channel partners — particularly MSPs (managed services providers) that offer monthly and quarterly performance reports to customers. But going forward, even those progressive MSPs need to modernize their reporting services — weaving in consumption and cost data for cloud services.

A growing number of RMM (remote monitoring and management) and PSA (professional services automation) tools for channel partners can track customers’ cloud services. But I’m not sure how many of those tools can actually pinpoint potential cost overruns or ways to optimize a customers’ cloud spend based on existing and anticipated consumption patterns.

That’s where a company like Cloud Cruiser enters the picture. The company promotes CloudSmart-Now — a platform that allows customers to track hybrid cloud usage by user. Built-in analytics also track costs. The system collects data from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, VMware, OpenStack and other clouds.

Channel Partner Opportunities?

So far, Cloud Cruiser seems to mainly serve enterprises and the major cloud service providers (CSPs). But I’m curious to see if or how MSPs and channel partners embrace the company’s dashboard to optimize end-customer cloud spending. The system apparently handles:

  • IT cost transparency
  • Chargeback and billing issues across specific departments
  • Overall cost controls

Memo to Cloud Cruiser: Tell me more about your channel partner and MSP strategy.

Reply From Cloud Cruiser

Article updated 2pm ET, Oct. 5, 2015. A Cloud Cruiser spokesman sent me the following:

“A channel provider may be selling cloud services from a public or private Cloud Service Provider and you must produce that “Bill of IT” or in the case of a solution provider “the Invoice” for Cloud Services Used. The provider needs to dissect down to the most granular level of detail who used what cloud services, how much (capacity / compute etc.) and what was the cost. The bill will tell the customer exactly what was consumed and even more importantly what the expected consumption will be next month based on past history. Cloud Cruiser has been architected for multi-tenancy such that you can have many, many consumers of cloud services who only see what their usage and costs/spend are.”

Cloud Cruiser and ChannelE2E are expected to connect for a deeper briefing within the next couple of weeks.

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2 Comments

Comments

    Andrew Morgan:

    Great insight Joe! As a consumer of AWS, we know firsthand about the challenges of tracking cost allocations. Our Founder, Steve Francis wrote a great blog on the subject, titled: Identifying Unused AWS Resources to Control Costs.

      Joe Panettieri:

      Hey Andrew: Thanks for your readership and for the link. I will definitely check that out, and I’ll keep it in mind as we prep additional cost-related cloud coverage.
      -jp

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