Cloud cost control becoming a leading issue for businesses

Recent years have been about enterprises moving to the cloud with storage and compute. Customers have benefited from the competition between Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, but now you're in the door the great up sell begins.

Cloud migration costs are overwhelming businesses ZDNet's Larry Dignan tells TechRepublic's Karen Roby about the issues that businesses are encountering when trying to move to the cloud.

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Multi-cloud deployments are becoming the norm and that means cost optimization and management optimization is a big theme for 2019. But the market is immature and you'll have multiple vendors to sort through to control cloud spending.

In recent surveys it has become painfully obvious that there's a bit of sticker shock with cloud deployments. "People have been somewhat surprised as they expand services that the cost of cloud computing is not as cheap as they were expecting," said Rackspace CEO Joe Eazor in an interview.

The concern about cloud costs is not surprising. Recent years have been about enterprises moving to the cloud with storage and compute. Customers have benefited from the competition between Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, but now you're in the door the great up sell begins. IDC reckons that global public cloud services and infrastructure spending will hit $210 billion in 2019, up 23.8 percent from 2018. By 2022, spending on public cloud services will hit $370 billion. SaaS will represent half of spending with IaaS second.

Must read: Top cloud providers 2019: AWS, Azure, Google Cloud; IBM makes hybrid move; Salesforce dominates SaaS | Cloud providers 2019: A buyer's guide (free PDF)  

More mature cloud customers have been leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning and a bevy of new services. Now cloud customers are more agile than they have ever been, but their infrastructure isn't exactly bargain bin. Toss in software-as-a-service costs and those never-ending add-ons and the cloud tab can swell in a hurry.

RightScale, now owned by Flexera, recently launched its State of the Cloud report and found that cost optimization was a huge priority for enterprises. Those findings come as it has also become clear that multi-cloud deployments are gaining steam.

What RightScale found is that many respondents in its survey weren't doing basic cost-optimization. Toss in complications from using containers and costs can creep higher quickly.

Eight percent of respondents to the RightScale survey were spending more than $12 million on the public cloud. Another 15 percent were spending $2.4 million to $12 million. It's not surprising that 64 percent of respondents to RightScale's survey had cost savings as their top cloud initiative. Enterprises also want better financial reporting on cloud costs as well as central teams to broker services.

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What's needed is more automation of policies to do basic cloud management, but too many enterprises are still manual.

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Rest assured that there will be a bevy of tech vendors lined up to help this cloud cost creep. Gartner in January launched its first cloud management platform Magic Quadrant. The tracking effort is likely to expand since Gartner estimates that number of commercially available cloud management platforms will more than double by 2021 to more than 30.

In the meantime, here's Gartner's take on the market today.

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RightScale, Scalr, Embotics and Morpheus Data are places to start looking into cloud cost optimization, but Gartner's honorable mention list to cloud management platforms is just as notable.

Why? Gartner has VMware as a natural challenger in the space via its acquisition of CloudHealth, but established players such as BMC Software, Cisco and IBM and Red Hat all have parts to compile a cloud management platform suite.


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What's unclear is whether any of these cloud management suites will contain costs if enterprises see them as a magic bullet. For starters, companies need to follow cost management best practices such as shutting down workloads after hours, rightsizing instances, pitting cloud providers against each other and leveraging discounts.

RightScale found that cloud customers aren't leveraging discounts available to them.

rightscale-2019-discounts.png

Add it up and there is no magic bullet to cloud cost optimizations. At the very least, enterprises need to start paying attention more as the market develops with an eye toward more automation. 

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