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Commanding Cost Control in a Multi-Cloud Environment

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shutterstock/Olivier Le Moal

While embracing a multi-cloud environment provides organizations with significant benefits, when left unmonitored the associated costs can quickly escalate out of control.  The reason is quite simple. Operating within a multi-cloud environment adds layers of complexity.

The added complexity is quite evident when looking at the results of a 2018 ESG Research Survey, The Emergence of Multi-Cloud Strategies. Specifically, 41 percent of respondents say navigating the different cost models and billing cycles between various cloud service providers as one of the top two challenges when operating within multi-cloud environments.

However, with 81 percent of organizations already utilizing two or more public cloud providers, it is time for organizations to find a solution. Fortunately, when armed with the right tools, organizations have the ability to accurately forecast cloud costs and maintain control – even within an increasingly complex environment.

Planned Migration

Undergoing a migration to a multi-cloud environment often represents a significant change to organizational operations. As such, IT leaders need to be able to fully understand the associated costs before making a commitment. A well-designed cost management solution can play a pivotal role in helping simulate migrations – and ultimately deploying the necessary resources at a cost that makes sense.

By first embarking on a migration simulation, organizations have the ability to compare resource costs of multiple cloud platform providers in order to determine which cloud resource configurations best fit current needs. The simulation process also helps optimize resource utilization by comparing the cost of public cloud resources to on-premise environments in addition to understanding potential costs through “what-if” analysis.

After completing the simulation process, a quality tool should have the ability to export migration plans for offline discussions with stakeholders.

Ongoing Insights

Understandably, cost management tools play an ongoing role in maximizing a multi-cloud strategy. For instance, properly utilized cost management tools are often pivotal in preventing budget overruns.

Typical insights include the ability to categorize and view type of multi-cloud services actually utilized and gauge true costs against projected costs. Insights are crucial because they help eliminate wasted spend by right-sizing resources and terminating idle resources. IT leaders can also use cost management tools to spot anomalous usage patterns that increase costs.

Having the ability to see the compute hours by provider as well helps ensure that the business is sticking with its predetermine blend or spread to protect against damaging blackouts by providers. And, when spending patterns fall outside strategic plans, having real time visibility enables IT to send alerts to stakeholders warning of potential over spending.

Of course, the ultimate goal of having insights into multi-cloud costs is the ability to optimize utilization. By weighing predictions against actual usage, a cost-centric multi-cloud management tool makes it feasible to right-size provisioned (and over provisioned) cloud resources and costs. Furthermore, access to timely insights makes it possible to terminate idle compute resources and unused storage.

Bottom line: how effectively the organization monitors and manages costs often determines whether or not its venture into the multi-cloud environment will be successful.  Having the right tools in place can make a significant difference.

To learn more about multi-cloud cost management, visit BMC’s website.

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