CloudBrew Episode #7

FinOps is a popular buzzword, for good reason, but we think you deserve examples of real-world implementation and value.

In Episode 7 of CloudBrew, CoreStack's NextGen Cloud Governance podcast, you’ll get a managed services perspective from Sonia Grozdanoska, Cloud Product Owner, Logicalis, and Venkatesh Perumal, Field-CTO, CoreStack. With a focus on authentic, proven FinOps, you’ll learn all about optimizing cloud spend to drive enablement and future investment.

All CloudBrew episodes are also available on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Podcasts, Audible and SoundCloud.

Discover how our NextGen Cloud Governance platform brings together FinOps, SecOps, and CloudOps solutions so you can Cloud with Confidence.

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Venky: Hello and welcome back to another episode of Cloud Brew. My name is Venkatesh Perumal and I'm the field CTO here at CoreStack. Today's topic is the FinOps factor, Optimizing Cloud Spend For enablement. I'm joined by Sonia, from Logicalis. Sonia, over to you, a quick introduction.

Sonia: Hi, Venky. Thank you. Hello, my name is Sonia Grozdanoska, Cloud Product Owner of the Center of Excellence here at Logicalis.

Venky: Sonia, thank you so much for joining today's podcast. We know the cloud is growing at a speed no one thought about. But when you start servicing customers what are the top things that comes to you from a value delivery perspective, not only for the customers who are benefiting from cloud now? But even for the future.

Sonia: Yeah, absolutely, Venky. At the moment, in today's current economy, there's a lot of pressure to do more with less. We've all heard about the current economic uncertainty that's happening around the globe, the tightening of budgets within our customers. And one of the greatest values we can do is help our customers achieve more for the same budgets they've had in previous years.

Venky: You're absolutely right. I think one of the key things is also not only from an economic perspective, but also a lot of customers have this myth of thinking cloud is going to save cost and people don't think about, it's not just about saving cost, it is all about optimizing it, right. And you're absolutely right, doing more with less, how can we do that? And that is exactly what is absolutely important for every customer who are thinking about or are already on the cloud. That being said, Sonia, I know you are in the business of providing managed services and there's a team that works to deliver these values to the customers, how important is tools, tools play in this whole delivery?

Sonia: Very important because it offers that transparency and that visibility and just to bring that to life a little bit, analysts are telling us that on average customers are wasting up to 35% in their cloud spend. So, from a managed services perspective we have that ability to come in and analyze you know customers infrastructure and understand what enterprises, you know what are their key objectives and what are their drivers? And come in and actually provide some value by giving recommendations and suggestions on how we can optimize costs, but also look at improving or maintaining performance. It's a very fine line because it's not just about saving on the dollar. It's also, yeah, it's making sure that infrastructure and resources are being optimized as much as possible to be able to provide the value that the business needs to achieve their outcomes. And having tooling helps with that conversation because it provides that level of transparency where you can actually see your consumption costs, you can see what you're utilizing. You can, and through conversations with the managed service provider as Logicalis, we can help have those conversations of not just looking at the numbers, but then providing the context and the understanding of if you were to make these changes, here's what the implications could be. You know in the tooling, for example, we could possibly see that a customer has overspent some of their resources and we could provide some recommendations on how to reduce that. Alternatively, we could, from their infrastructure, notice some anomalies and using the tooling to basically identify those, we can look in deeper to give suggestions and provide some solutions on how they can reduce that and ultimately save on costs without affecting performance.

Venky: Absolutely, Sonia. I mean, I think one of the key things, as I hear your response, there are two things that comes with the picture, right? Converting the numbers to context, that's very important, right? Because if you don't have context, I don't think we'll be in a position to go ahead and deliver that value. But how do we get that context in a much more automated way? Automation plays a very, very key role. As I'm understanding, it's not just about showing that numbers are reporting, but equally important is to show recommendations, which is much more contextual and seeing how it is going to impact their overall business. But that being said, I know in the FinOps survey that was done, implementation of these recommendations became one of the key topmost challenges. Do you think that is the tools can eliminate that?

Sonia: Oh, absolutely. Because the tools using data and seeing trends over a period of time, tools work a lot faster than humans do. And they can identify those anomalies, which is where that we can, as I, as I mentioned before, we can drill down into those, provide recommendations on how to make improvements. You know, it's suggesting improvements on how to restructure resources into logical groups to a neighbor, to enable greater transparency when viewing consumptions that are in a granular format. And being able to work with a customer and set budgets and thresholds, identify breaches or cost anomalies. You know, track committed spend, remove underutilized, often denied of resources, all of that through tooling is it helps that conversation and saves a lot of time. And by saving time it creates efficiencies. Therefore, is that level of value and that transparency that customers are looking for because, currently we've identified that cloud providers of making it harder and harder to get this information out of their portals in a transparent way, and seeing information in a soloed, you know, in a soloed format creates gaps in data.

Venky: I think you're bang on, on that, right. So native portals do provide some data, but I think it is not in the context of how a business wants to view it. And tools certainly helps in bridging that particular gap of transforming the data and providing that context that you're talking about which is more business focused where businesses are able to look at the data that, hey, this is the cost for my business unit and this is the savings or the optimization that I'm able to get for my business unit or for my cost center. And of course, with automation you are in a position to also deliver predictable outcomes, repeatable outcomes and which automatically helps you with a lot of efficiencies. Great, great one that actually puts me into the next question. All right, Sonia, we discussed about the business value, we discussed about how your team looks at tool, but there is also a people angle to it. Primarily because FinOps is not just about tool which is implementing the entire practice. There is, there's a lot involved with respect to expertise. What are your views on having these expertise in house and how can this benefit the customer?

Sonia: Yeah, no, absolutely. I think for most of our customers, ever since they started consuming the OpEx model, they've been trying to manage their finances. But it takes a different skill set to cloud architects or infrastructure specialists. It's much more of a financial skill than our customers are used to. And when you combine that with internal maturity that our customers are working on, you know, can they do chargebacks or show, do any showbacks of where their consumption is going? You know, how does it work if their budgets are changing as lower divisions are consuming these services to update their budgets? How does that all roll up? So, what we're seeing there's a lot of challenge there with maturity, and why buying a tool on its own doesn't work. It's where you need that many- services to give our customers that confidence that they're not spending more than they need to, you know that they're showing, they need to be shown areas of optimization that they may not be able to see you know the forest for the trees for example. So they because they're so caught in to the detail whereas we can come in and see it from a from a holistic picture and provide you know that end to end confidence of looking at it holistically.

Venky: You're absolutely right Sonia. I think one such example that always comes into my mind is when we talk about orphan resources or idle resources, sometimes these resources are idle or orphaned for a reason. And that's the reason which is provided by the experts such as, managed services team, your team, right? Which basically knows why a resource is kept idle, why a resource is kept orphaned because there's a business reason behind it. While tool is able to provide the direction and the guidance, but I think clearly its people and its expertise who can make it real.

Sonia: Absolutely. I mean, as you said, identifying those orphaned resources that are incurring those costs. As a managed service provider, we can highlight this to a customer and suggest ways that that could be automated either by powering down or decommissioning of the resources, which can save costs, save costs without compromising on performance, for example.

Venky: Perfect. Yeah, I clearly see that the theme is no more cloud cost management, it's more about cost governance. Right? There has to be some sort of governance put in place, which can pretty much go ahead and track, provide you more control over the cost, provide more control over the compliance, provide more control over availability, reliance, reliability and so forth and so on. I know we have touched up on, kind of, most of the aspects on how we can optimize. There's a lot of things that we can continue to discuss. It's a much more in-depth topic, but I know we have only so much time left. So, Sonia, thank you so much for joining and providing your insights. And for all the listeners, thank you so much for listening into our podcast. Please subscribe and hear this content on your favorite apps like Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, iTunes and Audible. And also watch out for this space where we are going to have an in-depth webinar which is going to happen in the month of May. Again, thank you very much Sonia. I much appreciate joining the podcast today.

Sonia: Thank you, Venky

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