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HPE’s Recent Acquisition, Cloud Cruiser, Knows a Thing or Two About Managing Cloud Spend



HPE20161101053_800_0_72_srgb.jpgWith a rapidly changing IT landscape, IT organizations find themselves running the gauntlet of keeping daily ops up and running while hustling to deliver new apps and services to ensure competitive advantage. Uber-agility is the new norm, and CIOs and Technology leads are expected to say “How high?” when their businesses say “Jump”.  I can just imagine the loss of sleep that could result as you ponder the issue of how best to procure and provision apps and services in minutes instead of months – on the reduced budget your new boss just announced. I’m thinking it might almost be enough stress to make you call up Uncle Leo and agree to join him in his gourmet food truck venture.

But before you pick up that phone, read on.

As a quick fix, many IT organizations – as well as individuals and teams not in IT – have looked to public cloud to meet escalating demands for IT services. What could be better than getting instant access to the services you need and paying only for what you use? The organization doesn’t have to justify and then commit to a large capital outlay, your business users get the services they need faster, and IT gets to offload the mundane tasks of infrastructure maintenance.

Sounds like a reasonable approach that you could quickly put into play. “But - wait a minute,” you say, as the responsible IT manager. “This issue is a little more complex than whipping out your credit card and hitting the public cloud.” Here are three key issues you want to consider before making your move:

All workloads are not created equal

Some of your business workloads may be perfect candidates for the public cloud. For example, they may have infrequent but intensive compute needs, or unpredictable resource demands that can benefit from the scalability and pay-per-use economics of public cloud. Others have requirements for increased security, compliance, and service levels that are best satisfied on-premise. Before swiping that credit card, make sure you consider the specific requirements and usage patterns of your workloads, as well as the effort and cost required to shift on-premise workloads to the cloud – or shift them back if necessary.

In a recent 451 Research report, Best Practices for Workload Placement in a Hybrid IT Environment[1],   the following factors are suggested when considering your workload placement:

  • Business: SLAs, compliance, security and privacy requirements, data sovereignty, and time to market
  • Financial: Hosting, licensing, contractual terms and conditions, infrastructure, Capex/Opex, ROI
  • Technical: Application characteristics, performance, availability, reliability, user experience, redundancy, complexity and criticality.

Bottom line, most organizations settle on a hybrid IT model, taking advantage of the ‘right mix’ of public, private, and traditional IT to satisfy the needs of their business.

Spending in the cloud is just a little too easy

As stated in a recent InfoWeek article, The Public Cloud and Cost-Savings Myth, “The public Cloud can be a valuable means to a more cost effective end, but don’t expect the savings are automatic.” Like any pay-per-use service, you need to keep a close eye on the meter and manage what you spend. At one time or another, we’ve all paid the price for leaky faucets, power-hungry fridges, and overextended cellular data plans and we’ve trained ourselves to monitor the variable resources we use – and pay for - in our daily lives. But how do you control public cloud costs companywide? HPE’s recent acquisition, Cloud Cruiser, knows a thing or two about managing cloud spend:

  • Get clarity. In a nutshell, you need to know who’s using how much of what. You’re likely saying to yourself, “Well that sounds simple…not!” That’s because many organizations rely on the month-end bills from their public cloud providers to manage spend, which are after-the-fact and lacking relevant business context. For example, which department, project, or user is spinning up services? Are they being used efficiently – or used at all? What are the usage trends of your key apps? To gain this level of clarity and ward off uncontrolled spend, you need to collect and normalize data across your cloud(s) in near real-time, add relevant business and financial context, and provide reports and dashboards that make decision making simple.
  • Get control. Setting budgets, alerts, and forecasts will help you proactively manage usage and spend. You’ll want the ability to define budgets and forecasts at various levels, for example, by department or project, or perhaps at the resource level, such as storage or compute. This will not only keep your cloud spend in check, but also help plan for future workload requirements.
  • Get optimized. As the InfoWeek article states, costs can quickly spiral out of control if measures are not put in place to continually evaluate and optimize usage and spend. Business needs change, applications evolve, and new cloud offerings pop up on what seems like a weekly basis. Optimization is an ongoing process that’s better accomplished via purpose-built apps. Cloud Cruiser offers capabilities like cost modeling, actionable insights, and an AWS Reserved Instance Advisor to automatically identify – and action - optimization opportunities across your multi-cloud environment.

Think outside the box.

If you’ve found yourself thinking ‘wow, I really like the scalability and pay-per-use model of the public cloud but there’s no way we can move our mission-critical apps out of our datacenter,’ then HPE has a solution for you. HPE Flexible Capacity is a service that offers on-demand, pay-per-use capacity in your own data center. And like public cloud, you leave the maintenance and capacity management to someone else but, unlike public cloud, your unique performance, security, and compliance requirements can be satisfied in your own IT environment. There’s a wide breadth of pay-per-use services offered from HPE Flexible Capacity, ranging from simple storage to hyperconverged infrastructure to all-in-one solutions like Private Big Data as a Service and Private Backup as a Service. HPE Flexible Capacity Figure 1.PNG

Cloud Cruiser’s technology is a key component of HPE Flexible Capacity, metering and monitoring consumption and delivering capacity management insights. In fact, before HPE acquired Cloud Cruiser’s solutions earlier this year, we were their largest customer, leveraging their consumption analytics technology to analyze and manage our own distributed, global IT environment.

Yes, sir.  We eat our own dog food.

Interested in learning more about HPE Flexible Capacity? Please check our 451 Research Best of Both Worlds: Can Enterprises Achieve Both Scalability and Control When it comes to Cloud?

Also see:

[1] Best Practices for Workload Placement in a Hybrid IT Environment. InfoWeek, June 2017

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WW HPE Pointnext Marketing. Reach me at @donrrandall on Twitter.