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John Katrick

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Beginning the Cloud Governance Journey: Cloud Cost Management | @CloudExpo #API #Cloud #Analytics

Learn how you can succeed with cloud governance

Gaining visibility in today's sprawling cloud infrastructure is complex and laborious, involving drilling down into tools offered by various cloud services providers. Enterprise IT organizations need smarter and effective tools at their disposal in order to address this pertinent problem. Gaining a 360 - degree view of the cloud costs requires collection and analysis of the cost data across all cloud infrastructures used inside an enterprise.

Almost universally, businesses know they need to practice cloud cost management, improve business agility, and maintain security and compliance, but they do not know how to get started. They are looking for a "playbook" that they can get handle on cloud services management of the growing (and often sprawling) cloud services.

Start with Cloud Cost Management
Our experience indicates that companies who start with a focus on managing their cloud cost will often benefit from having a great baseline from which they can define their own unique roadmap and playbook for implementing cloud governance policies. They can then work to define and implement the cloud governance – the decision making processes, policies and procedures - required to optimize cost, maintain security and compliance, and ensure that the business is able to be more agile in addressing their target markets.

Think of it this way – if you have a "cloudy" (pun intended) idea where you are spending on cloud computing and why, then you cannot really make the best decisions as to the investments priorities for your cloud governance efforts. Why spend a lot of time and money on securing data to four or five different cloud storage services when you really only need to be using just one or two of them? Getting a good handle on the sources of your cloud cost, therefore, will be very valuable to your decision making when developing your cloud governance roadmap.

Taming the Cloud Cost Management Complexity
When it comes to understanding and managing the cost of cloud services there are many complicating factors. Almost universally, companies of all sizes are consuming multiple cloud services from multiple vendors, using different cost models (based on usage or subscriptions/licensing), often charged in different terms (monthly, quarterly or annual) with different start and end dates.

Sometimes these cloud services are chargeable to specific projects (and possibly need to be reimbursed) or even to specific departments. How do you properly account for, and separate the cost of these from your regular G&A cost? Add to this the “behind the scenes” sourcing of cloud services (shadow IT), and private cloud/virtualization platform cost further obfuscating the issue.

Ultimately it can take a lot of time consuming clicks and downloads of cost information from the different vendor portals and repetitive Excel gymnastics to get a handle on your actual cloud expense.

The Jamcracker platform simplifies cost management and therefore allows you to more quickly define an effective cloud governance plan. With its consolidated and unified chargeback report, budgeting and approval processes, you can begin the journey toward effective cloud governance.

Unified Chargeback Report
Whether your cloud services are charged “by the drink” or as a flat rate, the Jamcracker Platform provides a monthly chargeback report that details all charges for all services regardless of the billing model.

This chargeback report shows you all you need to know: licensing cost, start and end dates, pro-rated amounts, all normalized to a monthly report that you can quickly access in the platform, or have the platform push to your accounting system via a CSV file.

Custom Reporting
What are you spending with each cloud provider? What specific products are you spending on?

You can drill into your cloud cost with Jamcracker’s Custom Report capabilities - giving you actionable data in a detailed view of your cloud cost, grouping by important categories and timeframes.

Budgeting
Do you need to charge your clients based on cloud services that were required for their projects? Do you want to attribute cloud costs to the departments actually consuming these services?

Using the Jamcracker platforms Budgeting functionality, you can force users to pick a budget for their cloud service. Whether the service cost is based on usage or a standard subscription, the actual cost will be assigned to the budget they select.

Requiring Approvals
To begin exerting some control over your cloud cost, consider requiring approvals for all cloud services requests. You don’t have to get fancy right away – a simple single stage approval process will get you started. Whenever someone wants to order a service or spin up an application in the cloud, you can require that they get approval from an administrator before the service or application is provisioned.

Once the request is made, the designated admin is notified of the request, and can quickly visit the Requests page, view the request details, and either accept or decline the request.

The Journey Begins
Knowing where and how to begin the journey toward cloud governance can be a real challenge. Cloud cost management – the understanding what cloud services you are using, what they cost, how they are used, and how they are being accounted for are critical to beginning your cloud transformation journey. Add to that an approval process, and you are now armed with valuable tools that you can leverage to begin your unique path toward effective cloud governance. Once you have this basic cloud governance model in place for cloud cost management, cloud cost policy controls can further help you to automate the cloud cost management. Say adios to the ever spiraling cloud cost.

More Stories By John Katrick

John Katrick is a software engineer living in Bangalore, India. He is a fan of technology and cloud computing. He is also interested in Hybrid Cloud and focuses on articles involving the latest news in cloud management, Microsoft Azure, and cloud governance including new technology and AWS cloud news.