In an illustration of just how impactful unexpected cloud costs can be, let's consider a case from 2022 involving Datadog, a leading SaaS observability and security vendor. This event was disclosed during their May 4th earnings call, providing a revealing glimpse into the hidden costs of cloud computing that enterprises often grapple with.
The $65m Cloud Bill
In the first quarter of 2022, a single customer was billed a staggering $65 million by Datadog. This substantial sum was attributed to a financial services firm, which understandably remained unnamed. What was particularly interesting about this bill is that it did not recur in subsequent periods, as revealed by Olivier Pomel, the co-founder, CEO, and Director at Datadog.
Pomel explained during the earnings call, "We had a large upfront bill for a client in Q1 ’22 that did not recur at the same level or timing in Q1 ’23." When accounting for this singular billing event, Datadog's growth in billings was actually in the low 30s percent year-over-year.
This case underscores the potential for sudden and significant cloud costs, often resulting from misconfigurations, lack of visibility, or failure to understand the pricing model thoroughly. It is a stark reminder that diligent cloud cost management is more than just a best practice—it's a necessity in our cloud-centric business environment.
How Cledara Helps
Cledara safeguards its customers by granting each cloud provider (or any software provider for that matter) access to a virtual debit card with a preset limit. In practice, this means that any charge exceeding the set limit would simply be denied. This provides not just financial protection but also the time and opportunity to scrutinize the charge, understand the cause, and take appropriate action.
Cledara offers a robust approach to control and manage your cloud costs, and integrating a Cloud Management Platform (CMP) can further enhance your organization's capacity to optimize cloud expenditure. These two resources can work in tandem to provide comprehensive protection against unforeseen cloud expenses.
What Is a Cloud Management Platform?
A Cloud Management Platform (also known as CMP) is a set of software tools to manage, monitor and optimize multi-cloud services and resources.
The specific features of a CMP differ among vendors. Some provide a set of tools for general cloud management needs, while others cater to certain niches or verticals. Vendors may offer CMPs as on-premise applications or Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. Generally, cloud management pertains to overseeing public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud deployments.
With the right cloud management software, IT managers can easily:
- Move workloads across private and public clouds
- Set automations for more predictable and efficient cloud management
- Gain insights into cloud service consumption patterns
- Monitor cloud-based services to assist with workload deployment, capacity planning, and lifecycle management
- Manage cloud computing resources, like virtual machines, storage, and networks
- Track cloud performance and costs
- Improve how they allocate spending
- Manage data, content, and applications
- Make data-driven decisions on what to keep in your private cloud and what to move to a public cloud
- Ensure governance and security
To manage private and hybrid clouds, many large companies develop in-house tools. Conversely, public cloud providers usually offer their own software tools for managing their services. However, these tools often focus on basic reporting without offering detailed performance insights. If organizations use multiple public clouds, each with a different management tool, it becomes essential to use third-party tools to integrate their workflow.
With private cloud management platforms, IT managers can allocate resources more efficiently. For example, an IT manager can employ a cloud management tool to set user-based resource quotas and prevent server overload from large workload requests. Additionally, administrators can use resource monitoring data to anticipate and prepare for demand spikes.
Why Cloud Management Platforms Make a Difference for Modern Companies
Using a CMP isn't strictly necessary for small-scale operations. However, with the right management platform, fast-growing businesses and large organizations can unlock the full potential of cloud technology.
A cloud management platform will allow you to:
- Simplify infrastructure
- Enhance your services
- Automate workflows for public cloud usage
- Streamline cloud migration
- Build the optimal cloud strategy
- Ensure compliance
- Optimize resource allocation
Combining traditional IT with cloud services can result in a complicated infrastructure that's challenging to manage. An effective CMP can identify and integrate diverse components of cloud and local infrastructure. By using service catalogs and templates, you can automatically establish well-defined operating environments for resource-intensive enterprise applications, such as databases and middleware.
Enhance Your Service
A complex IT environment requires constant monitoring to ensure that services and workloads remain healthy. A reliable CMP supports various tools for collecting and analyzing data, as well as creating alerts and reports. This allows you to:
- Streamline infrastructure performance
- Handle automatic scaling
- Avoid downtime and assist with troubleshooting
All these features improve the overall service quality for cloud and mixed infrastructures.
Automate Workflows for Public Cloud Usage
Using public cloud services tends to be costlier than hosting a private cloud. However, organizations reasonably refrain from allocating resources to a private cloud that’s larger than needed. That way, they prevent unnecessary cloud spending.
A common solution is to employ "cloud bursting" during peak traffic times. This means, bursting from the private cloud to the public cloud only when needed. A CMP provides workflow automation, which detects the optimal time to switch to the public cloud and executes this transition automatically.
Streamline Cloud Migration
As your company grows and your needs change, you’ll need to migrate or refactor your cloud. But navigating cloud migration can be confusing.
An efficient CMP assists in automatically discovering, assessing, planning, deploying, and monitoring cloud migration efforts. This can also reduce the demand for cloud specialists to plan and execute cloud migrations.
Detect the Optimal Cloud Strategy
Cloud management gives you a look into your cloud users’ experiences and analyzes workloads. By adding cloud analysis tools to your strategy, it'll be easier for you to distribute workloads and plan capacity. For instance, you’ll quickly learn when to use public, private, or hybrid clouds, and how to balance them accordingly.
It’s no news that you should manage your cloud in a way that’s compliant with:
- Your company’s security policies
- Regulatory standards, such as GDPR
This is especially important if you’re in charge of managing sensible user data.
The right cloud management solution will let you quickly detect potentially problematic user behavior and cloud settings. That way, you can make sure that any problems are quickly fixed and everything goes as expected.
Optimize Resource Allocation
CMPs let you clearly see how all components of the cloud computing infrastructure are used. This empowers IT directors to make informed decisions about using public or private clouds, and efficiently allocate resources. Additionally, organizations can identify unused cloud resources, allowing them to cut unnecessary costs.
3 Key Best Practices for CMP Adoption
Adopting a cloud management platform is no easy task. It requires evaluating numerous factors, such as:
- Your company’s specific cloud management challenges
- Budget constraints and pricing scalability
- Which integrations you’ll need to actually improve your cloud management workflow
Additionally, selecting the right platform can significantly impact your organization's cloud’s:
- Data security
Here are 3 best practices that will help you choose the CMP your cloud strategy needs:
- Understand the CMP’s role and impact within the cloud ecosystem
- Set realistic expectations
- Build partnerships
Understand Your CMP's Ideal Role and Impact within Your Cloud Ecosystem
We’ve already explored the many challenges that CMPs solve. But, what specific struggles should your company’s cloud management platform help you overcome?
And, what tools should it integrate with?
Understanding the impact you’re looking for will help you:
- Choose the right CMP
- Advocate for CMP adoption
- Detect your CMP’s ROI
- Set priorities during the adoption stage
Set Realistic Expectations
Setting realistic expectations when adopting a Cloud Management Platform (CMP) is crucial. Take it step by step.
We recommend you :
- Establish achievable goals and clear success metrics
- Clearly communicate expectations to relevant stakeholders
- Develop a realistic timeline for implementation, considering factors like training, integration, and potential challenges
- Identify potential obstacles and develop a backup plan
- Regularly assess the adoption process, making necessary adjustments to stay on track and get the impact you’re looking for
Proper Cloud Management Platform (CMP) adoption requires IT leaders to build internal and external partnerships. That way, they can ensure that the platform’s properly adopted and taken advantage of.
Internal partnerships involve collaboration between various departments, such as compliance, procurement, and operations. These partnerships ensure the platform aligns with the company's policies and goals, enabling smooth implementation and management.
By “external partnerships”, we refer to relationships with the CMP vendor and other service providers. Approach your CMP adoption as a partnership with your vendors, and don’t hesitate to access valuable resources like training, onboarding services, and technical support.
4 Top Cloud Management Tools for Fast-Growing Companies
There are countless cloud management platforms. Yet, some CMPs that will likely entice your interest are:
- Nutanix cloud manager
- Cisco Intersight
Let’s take a closer look at each.
Zesty is an AI-driven cloud management platform. It auto-scales resources to match real-time application needs.
Some of Zesty’s key features include:
- IOPS & throughput performance optimization
- Block storage reduction by up to 70%
- Automated cloud optimization
- EC2 cost reductions by up to 60%
- Real-time collection and analysis of your data usage
- Automatic buying and selling of RI according to your needs
- Real-time monitoring of your storage use
- Automatic scaling of storage space according to your needs
- A comprehensive overview of your EBS volumes & S3 buckets
Zesty offers the following plans:
- Freemium, which focuses on visibility and monitoring.
- Commitment manager, which focuses on EC2-savings. For this plan, you’ll be only charged a fee equal to 25% of your savings.
- Zesty disk, which focuses on block-usage auto-scaling, starts at $600/month for the first 25,000 GB.
- Subscription, which includes everything of the above, is available at a quote.
nOps is a fully automated FinOps solution that lets you reduce your Amazon Web Services costs by up to 50% on auto-pilot. With nOps, you pay as you go. That allows you to minimize unnecessary spending and financial risks.
Some of nOps’ key features include:
- Detailed cost and usage dashboards
- Cost optimization recommendations
- Cost allocation (showbacks/chargebacks/tagging)
- Automated EC2 and RDS RI management
- Automated resource optimization based on usage patterns
- Recommendations for unused EBS EIPs, NAT gateways, and load balancers
- Weekly EC2 resource rightsizing
nOps offers the following plans:
- Cloud management platform, for free
- Risk-free commitment, at 40% of total realized savings
- nKs, at 40% of total realized savings
- nSwitch, at 40% of total realized savings
- nOps essential, at 8% of total realized savings
Nutanix Cloud Manager
Nutanix is a CMP for hybrid cloud management. It’s one of the most popular CMPs, with clients like the city of Seattle, Yahoo! Japan, and Hyundai Australia.
Some of its capabilities are:
- High-performance data storage
- Data protection
- Self-Service capabilities
- Application migration
- Performance and reliability tests
A management tool for hybrid Cloud systems, Cisco Intersight is a replacement for Cisco CloudCenter. CloudCenter is no longer welcoming new customers and will be discontinued in 2024.
Cisco Intersight provides:
- A browser-based user Interface
- A command line interface
- A representational state transfer API
- Authentication and identity management
- Password administration
- Data encryption and protection
- Coordination across multiple virtual machines
- Full-stack monitoring
- Automation capabilities for workload and infrastructure
You can get started with a free demo. If you want to adopt Cisco Intersight at your company, you’ll need to request a custom quote.
Manage Your Cloud Stack With Cledara
In this post, we dove into cloud management platforms, their impact, and how to choose the right one for your team.
As your tool stack expands, keeping track of your subscriptions can become a nightmare. That’s why enterprise companies choose Cledara. Cledara allows procurement teams to take back control of their SaaS stack.
With Cledara, you will:
- Get a centralized view of all your software expenses
- Detect and minimize unnecessary software costs
- Prevent shadow IT
- Efficiently manage software access
- Track trial periods and subscription renewals
- Simplify subscription approval workflows
- Instantly unsubscribe from unnecessary tools
Take back control of your software stack, request a Cledara demo today.