2. Evolve your management of cloud finances
Migrating to the cloud represents a significant investment for many organizations, including a change from their IT spending from capital to operational expenditures. In addition to managing day-to-day cloud operations, you’ll also want to optimize spend and make sure that you’re seeing the most return on your cloud investment.
Traditional cloud cost management techniques look at current and historic cloud spend. However, you’ll need a more comprehensive approach to get a holistic view of how your cloud metrics align with greater business objectives. So how do you manage cloud costs and show the business value of cloud, all while ensuring that leaders from finance and IT make their voices heard?
The answer to this dilemma is FinOps. Also called Cloud Financial Operations, FinOps aligns cost management metrics with business objectives around revenue, profit, growth projections, product development, long-term analysis, and more.
Like forming a CCoE, this strategy gathers stakeholders from the C-suite as well as leaders across technology, finance, and other business disciplines. This group’s purpose is to examine cloud financial data and make informed decisions that tie cloud usage to business goals. Ideally, this group shares a common language around cloud costs and terminology, so that everyone understands exactly how and why cloud spend occurs.
Anyone can implement a FinOps practice. A good place to start doing research is with the FinOps Foundation, which is part of the Linux Foundation and “dedicated to advancing the discipline of cloud financial management through best practices, education and standards.”
3. Ensure a well-architected cloud environment
Migrating to the cloud is one of the first steps of your cloud journey. Once you’re there, you’ll want to make sure that your environment is set up correctly so as to maximize your effectiveness in the cloud.
Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) provide best practices that you can adhere to as you grow your cloud practice. With AWS, this is referred to as the AWS Well-Architected Framework. Cloud managers can use the AWS Well-Architected Framework to ensure that their AWS environment follows best practices in the “six pillars of architectural excellence”:
This pillar covers the ability to operate in the cloud, including supporting development and running workloads effectively. Operational Excellence means that you have insights into your operations that allow them to continually evolve and refine infrastructure, business processes, and procedures along your cloud journey.
To fulfill recommendations for the Security pillar, cloud administrators should ensure that they are protecting the information and systems within their cloud environment. Best practices around Identity and Access Management (IAM), data and system protection, and incident response, as well as the Shared Responsibility Model, are all covered by this pillar.
Reliability, in this case, means that cloud services perform as intended correctly and consistently. Best practices in this pillar include building and maintaining a resilient workload that can recover from failures, including outages, Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, and other potential causes of downtime.
The ability to use IT and computing resources efficiently and at the lowest possible cost is what defines the Performance Efficiency pillar. This means selecting the correct resource types and sizes based on workload requirements; monitoring performance; and making informed decisions as business needs, demand, and technologies evolve.
Optimizing costs means that you are making the most efficient use of your cloud costs. The best practices in this pillar help organizations avoid overspending on wasted or underutilized resources and scale to meet business needs.
Recently added in 2021, the sustainability pillar focuses on minimizing the environmental impacts of running cloud workloads. Key topics include a shared responsibility model for sustainability, understanding impact, and maximizing utilization to minimize required resources and reduce downstream impacts.
Conducting a Well-Architected Review of your AWS environment will validate the work you’ve completed during your migration and set you up for future success. If you’re unable to complete the Well-Architected Review yourself, you might turn to a managed service provider to do this deep-dive for you.
Cloud management tools can also assist you in reviewing best practices to support all of the pillars. Automating this process with a cloud management platform can help you save time and receive definitive proof that you are meeting the requirements for a well-architected cloud environment.