The importance of seeing cloud costs in your business context

Gartner predicts that by 2024, more than 45 percent of spending on information technology (IT) resources will shift from traditional solutions to the cloud. This shift in IT spending will have a significant impact on how organizations allocate and control IT costs.

Shared cloud resources make assigning costs difficult. The ability of teams to collect and scale resources without involving the IT department has made organizations more nimble, and the IT infrastructure more responsive. Yet, assigning cloud costs within the organization has become more complex. 

Although Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure contain features to help assign costs, such as namespaces, labels, and tags, their structure might not match the finance department’s organizational cost-assignment structure. Cloud service provider billing enables organizations to examine a resource’s cost by these indicators. What they can’t do is show costs for your multi-cloud infrastructure or maintain your cost structure for financial purposes. 

Another challenge is that within cloud infrastructure, different parts of the organization share resources. This is especially true in a Kubernetes environment. Kubernetes enables many teams to run containers within a single cluster and scale them up or down according to need.

While sharing has the advantages of volume discounts, management efficiency, and lower resource costs, it obscures who uses the resources. When teams don’t see a direct bill hitting their cost center, they’re not likely to spend time considering or controlling the cost. This lack of visibility means that the people who can control the resource’s spend don’t have the information or incentive to do so. This results in the wasting of resources and money.

Neither the finance department nor engineering users have cost visibility until the bill comes due. Even then, it may take a significant amount of work to divide the cost among the responsible parties.

Yotascale Contexts works with your multi-cloud infrastructure to maintain accurate, real-time cost allocation that mirrors your organization’s business structure, or any other reporting structure you choose. Let’s look at how Yotascale Contexts works, and how to set it up in your organization.

How Yotascale Contexts Helps

The finance department often sees cloud costs as a black box. They need to view cloud costs the same way they view any cost: according to the organization’s cost structure. Alternatively, DevOps wants to see costs by infrastructure usage across engineering teams. Yotascale built Contexts to meet these needs, providing all users the ability to see their infrastructure costs through a lens that fits their needs.

Yotascale Contexts enables you to use resource tags and labels to mirror your organizational cost structure to whatever granularity you choose. You can then normalize these tags / labels across cloud providers and shared container resources to get an all-in-one view of cloud infrastructure costs and usage. 

The key to Yotascale Contexts is that it enables you to see your cloud costs in your business context when viewing, analyzing, and allocating cloud costs.

Yotascale Contexts provides each organizational level with the cost view they need every time. There are many ways to break down your cloud costs, and only you can decide what is right for your business. Here are some examples for you (and really, the first 3 are table stakes for any business):

  • Cost center or business unit: this is fundamental, allowing business leaders to understand their line of business’ cloud costs
  • Product or engineering team: Knowing which team owns resources provides the foundation for real-time cost alerts and optimization recommendations
  • Application or service: Each product you sell has cloud costs that impact your bottom line.
  • By environment: Is that resource cost for development, QA or production? For SaaS applications this will help understand ROI
  • By resource type: DevOps teams need the best understanding of how resources are being used in application development.

Different teams will have different needs in how they see the cost breakdown. That’s why Yotascale introduced the concept of a Lens. The lens you look through determines how you can drill down into your cloud costs. 

There’s no limit to how many lenses you can create, but you’ll want to meet with your teams to agree on a defined set, since that impacts your tagging / labeling strategy. Cost granularity levels depend on the namespaces, labels, and tags you assign to cloud resources. 

Once your lens and business hierarchies are defined, users can select the most relevant view for them, whether at the team, business unit, or company level. Engineers can view their resource use down to the application level. You can also control what a person sees based on their role using role-based access control (RBAC)

Setting Up and Maintaining Yotascale Contexts

As you’ve hopefully gleaned by now, cloud cost reporting in any context starts with a strong resource tagging strategy. Your DevOps team should define tagging conventions at the organization level to be meaningful to all users. Developing conventions at a lower level often results in duplicate or context-dependent names, making it challenging for everyone to understand the cost analytics.

Once you have decided on a tagging strategy, you can leverage Yotascale to find untagged / unlabeled resources and assign the correct tags. Yotascale leverages the APIs from the cloud providers to update the tags stored within the cloud provider resources. 

Yotascale enables you to scan and detect various naming issues, from duplicate names to unassigned resources. Also, you can develop your policies and add them to the out-of-the-box policies. An editor enables you to correct errors and populate them to the cloud provider.

One advantage of using the cloud is your ability to scale resources up or down quickly. This flexibility puts a strain on keeping up with tags and relies on individual teams to correctly use the tags. Manually maintaining tags can become costly, especially when cloud use evolves and increases.

Yotascale automates tagging by invoking property inheritance. You can create a policy for Yotascale to automatically generate a tag with the appropriate naming conventions. You can also instruct it to inherit its parent tag’s properties both in the hierarchy and in Yotascale Contexts. 

Summary

Yotascale Contexts enables you to view the use of cloud resources in a way that fits your business needs. The most challenging process is setting up your naming conventions, namespaces, labels, and tags. Once you have developed consistent naming policies, Yotascale helps you use and optimize them by automatically creating and maintaining the naming infrastructure. 

Yotascale Contexts removes the burden of manually distributing and allocating costs in an ever-changing environment by allowing you to assign expenses to the appropriate group within the organization’s structure. 

With Yotascale Contexts, the C-suite can drill down through the entire organization’s and each engineer’s cost analytics to see the true cost of individual applications over time. Yotascale helps you take control of your cloud costs, giving the right people the right information at the right time. 

Learn more about Connecting Cloud Costs to Your Business, and if you’re ready to see how Yotascale can help you take ownership of your cloud costs, request a demo!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.