As organizations become increasingly comfortable using cloud services, practical issues related to how much they are actually spending start to become a lot more important. Not only do organizations want to know how much they are spending, they also want to be able to play one cloud service provider off another.
To help IT organizations get a better handle on cloud costs, Apptio today launched its free Apptio Cloud Express service that allows organizations to track usage and pricing of public cloud services, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Windows Azure and Rackspace. Based on the data collected, Apptio Cloud Express then recommends ways to optimize usage and reduce costs.
Apptio Cloud Express is based on the same software that drives Apptio’s suite of IT financial management applications that are delivered as a service. Apptio Cloud Express users can view their cloud costs in an itemized bill format, identify Shadow IT spending and perform “what-if” analyses to quantify potential savings.
According to Chris Pick, chief marketing officer for Apptio, as IT organizations increase their reliance on public cloud services they are going to need a more systematic approach to determining what workloads should run where based not only on cost, but the strategic value and compliance requirements tied to a specific application workload. That can be particularly challenging to keep track of when the pricing of any particular public cloud service is liable to suddenly change.
Apptio, says Pick, is designed to provide IT organizations with the financial tools they need to model various enterprise computing scenarios and ultimately recommendations in terms the average business executive can readily comprehend. In fact, as business executives continue to exert more influence over IT in the era of the cloud, Pick says it’s likely that many of them will start using the Apptio service alongside their IT colleagues.
There’s no doubt that from a financial perspective enterprise IT becomes more complex to manage as the number of options for deploying workloads increases. In time, organizations will better figure out how to “rightsize” their IT investments by essentially relying on the cloud as another tier of computing resources. But before any of that can happen, IT organizations need to get a much better handle on what the true costs of the cloud are compared to on-premise systems that only take into account the price of the cloud service, and also create a balanced scorecard based on the attribute requirements of any given application workload. That can’t happen, however, unless organizations first have some real visibility into what they are actually paying for in the cloud.