Cloud Workload Analysis Leads to Business Outcomes that Scale

cloud workload analysis

Our customers come to us with FinOps problems to solve. Often they are cloud workload placement oriented. What should their app(s) cost to run in the cloud? How can they easily compare costs between cloud providers? Can they quickly model the cost of migration and transformation scenarios to find the best price for their requirements? 

Priorities are ensuring an understanding of the underlying applications  performance and security requirements, as well as their dependencies and data volumes. Before making a cloud hosting decision, it is important to consider the cumulative impact of all these attributes. The benefits of a comprehensive approach include improved time to market, lowered operational and capital expenditures, and an organization’s ability to scale up or down depending on the demand. Organizations that demand execution before fully understanding these demands invite the costly opposite.

Cloud increases application agility, and time to value, and offers an easier way to interact with infrastructure. However, not all applications are best suited for cloud deployment. A variety of factors impact the business case when determining if an application is suitable for cloud deployment:

  • user demographics 
  • service level 
  • security concerns 
  • technical dependencies, and 
  • financial drivers 

Only after carefully weighing these factors can organizations confidently deploy workloads in the right place, capitalizing on each venue’s unique benefits. 

The cloud can represent a great way to gain efficiency, agility, and productivity and reduce data center costs. CIOs need a way to evaluate the myriad of cloud options “in minutes, not months”, but in a way that meets the demands of each individual application. Absent this context, optimal configuration, and cost prediction are, at best, educated guesses.

Cloud workload placement is often top of mind as it can bring efficiency, agility, and cost savings.  But all too often companies jump into choosing a cloud option,  only to find it isn’t the best choice for them – for whatever reason. They also struggle to gain adoption, yet they need to ensure governance and compliance with the fiscal responsibility of cloud. The many cloud options (private, public, hybrid) literally offers organizations the ability to increase revenues at scale, and not only be considered for cost-cutting measures that end in disappointment.

Cloud Governance

The role cloud governance plays in helping companies fully embrace the transformative potential of the cloud helps to make their processes more effective, and potentially more compliant by providing a central point of data capture and process execution. 

Cloud has literally transformed the way most organizations conduct business. Security and IT teams sometimes struggle with the adoption of a cloud-native approach because of the friction it can generate with existing applications, some of which lack the requirements for scalable cloud integration capabilities. Because of this reluctance to fully automate their processes where they are concerned with data security, implementing strategic cloud governance policies is critical to gaining all of the efficiencies offered by the cloud.

Companies wrestle with capturing information from files and sharing data, especially in the post-Covid hybrid remote work environment. Putting a safety net around when systems are accessed, from where, how data are being used, and by what employees demonstrate how cloud governance integrates with network security. 

Cloud Cost Management 

Cloud costs can increase exponentially when cloud cost management mechanisms are lacking; conducting business in the cloud carries significant benefits for enterprises with multiple locations, and employees accessing data remotely. With those rewards sometimes come out-of-control costs.

Guidelines must be set for data in the cloud; you need to know what data you have, where it resides, who has access to it, and how it travels throughout your organization. That’s tough to do when you don’t know what information you have or where it resides. Cloud-based data management may save a business money, but only if done correctly. Let’s discuss the importance of focusing on governance to achieve a smooth transition. Despite many organizations’ concerns about how it would affect their financial sheet, the transition to cloud-based solutions is taking place.

Data silos have a cost impact as well and can affect a company’s growth. Work slows down when information is stored in silos, and it may take the firm longer to realize the value of that data. Data repositories are generally maintained by a single group and are not easily available to the rest of the organization. There is a lot of conflicting information that can cause security issues if people don’t take necessary precautions and make it difficult to get any truthful facts quickly.

Teams need to understand where their costs are coming from, so they can be proactive about visualizing and managing them. These include costs for different cloud products and should be monitored both in a silo and collaboratively.

Cloud Migrations

Cloud migration is a complicated process, but it can work wonders for a company. By viewing it from several perspectives such as FinOps, regulations can be effectively managed. As the FinOps Foundation puts it, “[FinOps] is the practice of bringing financial accountability to the variable spend model of cloud, enabling distributed teams to make business trade-offs between speed, cost, and quality.”  Myopic companies that are focused on the technical aspect of cloud migration overlook the fact that cloud migrations alter the dynamics of their budget. Their spending has shifted from predictable to more unpredictable spending. Organizations’ budgets are now taxed; the cloud is perceived as being excessively expensive. In reality, the increased spending is the result of failing to account for it.

The key to success for an organization interested in migrating to the cloud is cloud governance; know why you’re moving to the cloud

Governance ensures alignment with your organization’s goals and intended outcomes. FinOps provides a solution for governance and accountability, while a great cloud framework gives a solution for data, speed, accuracy, and enhanced service. With cloud cost management in place, your organization can garner the cloud’s substantial power and speed.

Lift and Shift

A lift and shift cloud-first approach can take focus away from the real business problem the organization is trying to solve. Instead of mandating a cloud-first strategy, the organization should instead focus on the intended business outcome. Often, employing a multi-cloud strategy accomplishes the business goals. 

Data shows that most organizations will operate in a multi-cloud environment leveraging the best that private and public clouds offer. While public cloud remains best of breed for scalability, security and rapid innovation, the truth is we’re operating in a multi-cloud world. IDC research shows up to 89% of businesses in the Asia Pacific region will adopt a multi-cloud strategy, where some parts of their business will be in the public cloud and some will be in on-premises infrastructure (as with hybrid cloud), but at the same time using a range of service providers for different platforms.

Multicloud Strategy

To succeed with a multi-cloud strategy, organizations will need to invest in packaging, automation, and tooling that provides continuous optimization through intelligent cloud workload placement and decouples applications from the infrastructure that supports them. 

Another significant recent trend is the adoption of containerization as a multi-cloud enabling technology. Containers are providing an abstraction layer on top of the multi-cloud infrastructure that enables consistent and reliable execution regardless of the venue from which the containers run. This technology decouples the application from the data center where it is executed. Containers present the opportunity to make an application portable and greatly increase workload mobility across data centers and clouds. 

In Summary

Cloud workload decisions can be all-consuming and are generally prepared 

  • using static spreadsheets, 
  • requiring an inordinate amount of time to assemble, and 
  • are out of date the moment you hit “save”. 

Get in minutes what takes humans take weeks or months. Unbiased analytics with every imaginable configuration at your fingertips.

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CloudGenera provides vendor-agnostic information technology analysis that allows organizations to choose the technology solution that best fits their needs. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, CloudGenera is one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the United States and is internationally recognized as a thought leader in cloud transformation. The company’s highly visual software automates cloud decisioning for a clear view of available private, hybrid, and public cloud solutions, eliminating costly and error-prone manual evaluation methods and speeding enterprise time to digital transformation. With CloudGenera’s solutions, some of the world’s largest organizations have transformed their technology operations to realize the business benefits of clouds.

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