Sunday, 19th September 2021

How visibility is key to preventing cloud overspend

By Magnus E Bjornsson, CEO, Men&Mice.

  • 23 Jul 2021 Posted in

Cloud computing has become the lifeblood of enterprises operating in the digital era. However, while cloud adoption is ostensibly pursued in the interests of greater efficiency and optimised cost, cloud implementation is notoriously beset by budget overspend.

Fundamentally, most businesses should want to embrace cloud transformation. The benefits are manifold, but most notably is access to leading edge technology via pay-to-use subscription models, and easy scalability. Cloud technology has also proven invaluable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by enabling companies to maintain undisrupted operations while supporting distributed workforces.

This being said, despite the self-evident benefits of cloud computing, cloud budget overruns are pervasive. Indeed, a report by Pepperdata revealed that more than one-third of businesses have cloud budget overruns of up to 40 per cent, and that one in 12 companies even exceed this number.

Why is this? There is one major culprit – a lack of central visibility in cloud usage resulting in large unforeseen spending.

Increasingly complex cloud architectures

As digital transformation continues, company cloud architecture is growing ever more complex. For example, it is now common for enterprises to employ hybrid or multi-cloud architectures as a means to secure greater benefits to service through a variety of cloud vendors. This results in multiple cloud models, technologies, tools and software being incorporated into an organisation’s digital infrastructure. The task of integrating these overlapping solutions with all their moving pieces into an optimised model is no easy one.

The effective managing and monitoring of this infrastructure becomes a pivotal business need as it grows more complex. Indeed, it is the failure to do so that frequently results in an overprovisioning of resources that contributes to cloud overspend and a decreased return on investment (ROI).

To make matters worse, cloud budget overruns are compounded by organisations concurrently running their traditional (and costly) datacentre operations whilst attempting to migrate this infrastructure over to their more dynamic multi-cloud environments.

Bills, bills, bills

Complexity in hybrid and multi-cloud environment is not limited to operations, however. Billing structures and charges can and will vary from vendor to vendor.

For instance, there may be diversity of licensing options available, as well as different usage models, whether that be based on simply total user numbers, on a departmental basis, or revolving around resources, projects or platforms. All being said, there is no standardised cloud vendor billing model, so with different providers working on different billing cycles, the financial complexity can quickly get out of hand. This in turn obfuscates an organisation’s visibility across their already complex cloud infrastructure, creating an additional challenge when identifying where resources are being wasted and attempting to optimise costs.

This lack of central visibility across the breadth of cloud environments not only increases costs, but can also lead to a number of operational conflicts. For instance, overlapping address spaces can lead to both network integration and migration issues. It’s vital then that businesses take utmost care while integrating new cloud resources in order to ensure network visibility and central management of network operations across their infrastructure.

Similarly, little visibility within the network can lead security concerns. Unnoticed stale DNS records can create vulnerabilities that bad actors can exploit. A single spoofed subdomain can severely damage business operations, either as the primary attack or the prelude for something else.

With so many moving parts across a variety of complex environments it is completely understandable that cloud overspend, revenue leakage and potential misconfigurations would occur. Gaining visibility into this environment is crucial to fixing these issues, and to achieve this, businesses need to look into platforms that can orchestrate a lot of this hard work and unify address spaces across hybrid and multi-cloud networks. By centrally managing network resources, even across diverse infrastructures, companies can get a better idea of where their money is being spent, and where they can better optimise their costs.

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