Vendor-Agnostic Cloud Cost Monitoring and Optimization: Changing the Game in Multi-Cloud Management

According to Gartner, global spending on the public cloud is expected to increase by approximately 20.7% to reach $591.8 billion (about $1,800 per person in the U.S.) in 2023. The advantages of migrating to the cloud are widely recognized. By adopting cloud-first models, businesses can move away from traditional, fixed-cost methods of managing IT infrastructure. Cloud migration allows for controllable, agile, and secure operations that can easily scale as needed while optimizing costs.

The use of multiple cloud vendors, either by design or because of a merger or acquisition, is increasingly common in today’s global economy. A report by 451 Research revealed that 98% of enterprises currently use or plan to use at least two cloud infrastructure providers, with 31% employing four or more services. There are valid reasons for choosing multiple vendors. Companies may select different cloud providers based on specific features they require. They may also desire the flexibility to run their applications on various clouds to avoid dependence on a single vendor.

Moreover, having alternative providers ensures business continuity in case one provider experiences issues or disruptions. However, migrating operations to multi-cloud environments presents several challenges alongside the benefits:

  1. Visibility issues: Organizations face a significant obstacle in the form of a lack of visibility across their multi-cloud operations, resources, readiness, and health status. Different cloud service providers have distinct requirements, architectures, interfaces, and monitoring options. While basic monitoring tools are often provided for free, more robust vendor monitoring services come at a high cost, especially when dealing with multiple vendors. Lack of interoperability between cloud vendors further limits visibility and creates blind spots, making it challenging to detect and respond to security threats effectively. Moreover, IT departments often lack the necessary budget, time, and resources to become experts for each cloud provider.
  2. Cloud sprawl and cost management: Cloud sprawl refers to the uncontrolled growth of cloud usage, leading to issues such as software bloat, unused storage, and obsolete virtual systems. While the cloud was intended to alleviate these challenges, cloud-native enterprises still struggle with them. Multi-cloud operations are particularly susceptible to cloud sprawl, and organizations without end-to-end visibility may end up paying for resources they don’t need or use. The cost of cloud sprawl may not be immediately apparent but can become a significant financial drain over time. To address this, enterprises require a comprehensive method to connect and manage all cloud processes and expenses, ensuring the identification and removal of charges for unused or unnecessary services.
  3. Incident resolution and risk management: The lack of visibility and cloud sprawl can expose enterprises to security risks from sophisticated cyberattacks. The complexity of managing multiple cloud services manually, including on-prem systems, private clouds, and various public cloud systems, contributes to cloud-related security problems. Effectively managing cyberattacks in cloud environments necessitates either paying for vendor-specific security solutions or developing a structured resolution protocol in-house. Both options require real-time monitoring of multiple clouds, instant incident response data collection and analysis, and coordination with system managers for resolution. Without a comprehensive multi-cloud strategy supported by vendor-agnostic tools that monitor all aspects instantaneously, enterprises remain vulnerable to attacks or face additional costs associated with vendor specific security solutions.

The Value of Vendor-Agnostic CCMOs

To successfully migrate and manage cloud operations, it is essential to define a clear cloud strategy. Without proper guidance, enterprises may adopt solutions that lead to technology silos, non-standardized implementations, cloud sprawl, increased costs, and higher risk exposure. Effective cloud management necessitates comprehensive observation of cloud operations.

Vendor-agnostic cloud cost monitoring and optimization (CCMO) tools simplify cloud monitoring by operating independently of any specific cloud provider.

By leveraging AI and machine learning, these tools provide a closed-loop solution for public and private clouds, offering multiple benefits and a competitive advantage to organizations transitioning to the cloud.

Here are some of the top ways in which a vendor-agnostic CCMO tool can support an enterprise’s cloud management strategy:

  1. Comprehensive visibility: A vendor-agnostic CCMO tool offers complete visibility of all cloud assets, regardless of vendor, location, technology, application, or platform. This allows organizations to take stock of their cloud resources, reducing complexity and sprawl. By automatically collecting data from various cloud resources, such as virtual machines, disks, databases, load balancers, and virtual networks, and mapping the entire infrastructure in real time, the tool provides a centralized monitoring console that offers a holistic view of an enterprise’s cloud operations. Real-time transparency and observability enable intelligent insights and gran- ular data analysis to understand usage and distribution across regions, service providers, or business units. This intelligence drives cloud optimization, improves cost visibility, and helps identify and address cloud sprawl and unnecessary elements before they become widespread.
  2. Enhanced financial management: An agnostic CCMO tool provides enhanced observational functionality to track cloud expenditure and conduct comprehensive cost analysis. It compares existing expenditure with the value realized, follows spend-tracking protocols, and benchmarks performance. Through anomaly detection, it identifies patterns, trends, outliers, and root causes, escalating potential issues to enterprise cloud teams. By offering full visibility of costs in relation to required assets and usage, the tool generates rightsizing recommendations to optimize assets and highlight potential savings. It enables teams to identify even minor revenue leakage, accurately forecast cloud costs, and plan budgets. Ultimately, this accelerates the realization of business value from cloud deployments.
  3. Improved governance with tagging: Enterprises use a tagging mechanism to identify specific cloud resources, providing an overview of usage and associated costs. Improper tagging can result in inflated bills and under- or overutilized resources. An agnostic CCMO tool enhances the tagging mechanism by identifying resources without tags, enabling enterprises to establish tag policies across all cloud vendors, business units, technologies, and applications. Effective tag-based access management allows administrators to detect cloud sprawl by evaluating entities associated with mandatory tags such as business unit, application, and environment. This provides a better understanding of resource and service usage, improves security and compliance, and ensures that only authorized users have access to designated resources.
  4. Autonomous cloud lifecycle operations: By leveraging an agnostic CCMO tool for autonomous cloud lifecycle operations, routine tasks can be efficiently managed and performance optimized across complex cloud environments. Automation tools can be applied throughout the architecture to handle service requests for user management, health checks, event management, compliance, and more. This reduces the burden on resources and minimizes service disruptions during scheduled upgrades and patching. The streamlined and centralized monitoring provided by the CCMO tool enables proactive system health checks and automated IT event management across the entire cloud ecosystem. Continuous monitoring assesses the readiness and health of each system, identifies alerts, and applies a closed-loop approach to determine probable causes, recommend fixes, and autonomously resolve incidents. If incidents cannot be resolved autonomously, they are escalated to relevant stakeholders for remediation. This results in reduced downtime and shorter meantime- to-resolve (MTTR).

In the emerging era of cloud-dominated commerce, it is crucial for enterprises to migrate to the cloud in a strategic and responsible manner. While there are numerous challenges, embedding a robust vendor-agnostic CCMO tool at the heart of a cloud management strategy can be a fundamental game changer. This dedicated independent resource measures utility, effectively tracks assets, automates tasks, detects anomalies, and optimizes costs in real time. By embracing such a tool, enterprises position themselves for success in the cloud era.