Read the case study: Optimizing Cloud Costs and Forecasting Accuracy at ClickUp

Multi-Cloud Cost Management Challenges

Cloud investment has skyrocketed over the past few years. And increasingly, instead of standardizing on a single cloud provider, many organizations are deploying across two or more cloud providers. This gives them access to more choices based on offered services, pricing, ease of deployment, existing cloud infrastructure, integration of DevOps tools, and more.

While all this flexibility provides real benefits, like increased speed, ease of management, and lower costs, it can quickly turn into even more complexity. It may result in a lack of visibility, more management tools to monitor, and difficulties budgeting and controlling costs.

Multi-cloud cost management is a top concern for organizations adopting multi-cloud infrastructure. It becomes a challenge to efficiently manage multiple clouds when each provider has a separate set of billing tools. Organizations need a better solution for multi-cloud cost optimization and management.

The challenge for engineering leadership is understanding how to predict and manage costs across multiple clouds when your teams are adopting cloud-native infrastructure, deploying dynamic container environments, and each provider has its own mix of products, pricing, and management tools.

Challenges with (Multi-) Cloud

Despite the benefits of cloud and multi-cloud, they bring with them a new set of challenges. The issues you’re most likely to encounter are idle resources and management of usage and costs.

With a multitude of teams developing cloud-native applications, without strong centralized monitoring this can lead to unexpected services running without insight about who owns them or if they are still needed. One example is leaving prototype, development, or test deployments running when a project doesn’t need them. It’s not always clear if these resources can be removed, either. For example, is “john-test-resource” an abandoned test from John, or did it somehow make its way into production? We’d ask John, but he’s long since left the company.

Multi-cloud also means multi-dashboard. Who will manage the usage and costs? Do you need multiple platforms to manage costs? Is accounting responsible? The developers? The finance team? Do you need to develop another tool just to manage everything? Do you live in a spreadsheet? There is no right or wrong answer. As is often the case, it depends. Different teams use different methods, but that may prove another challenge in itself.

All cloud costs are typically allocated and charged back to specific teams when cloud projects and workloads go into at-scale production. It becomes a challenge for the finance team, given the native billing tools for each cloud service provider, to correctly attribute costs to the teams responsible. Moreover, native billing reports only give an overview of what IT teams are spending, which means we must go into each provider’s native billing tool, find the billing for the specific resource, find the current costs, and summarize them. Manually. This is time consuming and an inefficient use of company time and resources. Even the best spreadsheets can’t keep up.

Tackling Multi-Cloud Cost Management

It shouldn’t be a surprise that best practices for single cloud cost management are directly applicable to multi-cloud cost management. Cloud cost attribution starts with tagging and labeling resources, and it’s a foundational and necessary step to ensure you have multi-cloud cost visibility. There are some nuances, though, for tagging and labeling in multi-cloud infrastructures.

Tagging / Labeling

First of all, you need to decide as a team what is important to your business reporting, which will help define your tagging strategy. For example, when you have two teams managing a service, ensure the services are tagged with a team identifier. Also, add another tag for the environment in which they’re running. That way, you can allocate your cloud costs across teams and environments.

When your application uses multiple resources, like a database, storage, and queue, you can consider adding an application tag as well. This way, you can break down your costs by application. An added benefit is that you can identify which teams are responsible for what resources and which services use a specific resource. There’s no one-size-fits-all tagging solution, so think this one through. You can always add or remove tags later, so you can try out different strategies.

Using a tool like Yotascale to automate tag management and create tagging policies will greatly simplify this task, and free your teams from “death-by-tagging”. It integrates with the native tools from the cloud providers to ensure your tag management is up to date and accurate.

Budgeting / Forecasting

Once you understand who owns shared multi-cloud resources, you can get an accurate picture of what you are spending. But does it match with what you expected to be spending? At every stage of a project you should account and plan for a budget for cloud spend. Without having a budget in place, there are no guardrails to cloud spend, and your costs soar out of control when engineers over-allocate on performance ‘just in case’.

Once you have budgets in place, monitor your spend and right-size resources to match actual usage, rather than the expected usage at the start of your implementation. Over time, right-sizing your resources will allow you to optimize your spend, as well as identify unused resources that can be shut down. As well, you should always identify development and test instances that were left running after they were no longer needed and shut them off.

Multi-cloud cost management with Yotascale

Many different tools will help you accomplish these best practices and improve your cost management, each with their own pros, cons, and special features, but only Yotascale will be able to give you a complete, unified view of your multi-cloud costs, including containers and Kubernetes. Yotascale, a leading provider of cloud cost management software, helps organizations optimize and manage their multi-cloud resources by providing accurate cost visibility, actionable recommendations, and collaborative workflows in a comprehensive dashboard.

Multi-cloud cost attribution

Yotascale has enterprise hierarchy mapping with automated cost attribution. Its hierarchical breakdown shows your overall company, business units, teams, and cloud apps. This way, everyone in your company, from the CEO and VP to developers and administration, look at the same data, rolled up or rolled down.

Using (default) contexts shows only the information you care about, so you have quick access to essential cost information. You’ll have insights into cost anomalies and trend analysis and you’ll get context-based analytics and smart widgets. Yotascale also supports cost control and analytics for Kubernetes, containers, and microservices.

Cost Anomaly Detection

Using machine learning, Yotascale makes multi-cloud cost projections that detect anomalies in your multi-cloud costs in real-time. Yotascale can then send out team-based alerts using Microsoft Teams, Slack, and more. This makes the “monthly bill shock” a thing of the past and prevents budget overruns across the enterprise, as you always know exactly what to expect.

Multi-cloud cost optimization

Yotascale is designed to empower engineering, and provides actionable right-sizing recommendations directly to the teams responsible for those assets. Developers can right-size their application resource usage based on actual workload impacts, and provide feedback on actions taken (or conversely why no action was taken). These recommendations not only right-size your infrastructure, but identify idle resources (did I leave the test cluster on?) that can be shut down.

Next Steps

Multi-cloud cost management is one of the biggest challenges when working with multi-cloud infrastructures, but it doesn’t have to be. Yotascale can help automate your cost attribution, and provide deep insight into your multi-cloud cost spend.

Get started with Yotascale today by requesting a demo or free-trial and see how much time and money you can save managing your multi-cloud environment.