Cloud Transparency should be thought of as a crucial element of any cloud strategy. Transparency is especially important given the dynamic nature of the Cloud computing industry where Cloud services and prices are constantly changing. How can you be sure you are spending money efficiently in the Cloud?
The Cloud computing industry is dynamic and ever changing — services, prices, and providers seeming to evolve almost every day. For businesses consuming Cloud IaaS or using Cloud services, this dynamic environment requires keeping a constant pulse on the industry to ensure they’re receiving the best services possible.
Of course, to achieve an accurate read on the industry, businesses need to establish what we refer to as Cloud Transparency. As we’ve outlined in this eBook, Cloud Transparency is necessary to help bring clarity and fair evaluation to businesses looking to acquire Cloud services.
Further, Cloud Transparency should be thought of as an ongoing process — one that continually follows and documents changes in the Cloud computing industry (such as provider pricing and services).
In this post, we outline the steps businesses should take to implement and maintain the accuracy of their Cloud Transparency process.
Implementing a Cloud Transparency Process
The following considerations are essential to support a continuous Cloud Transparency process:
- Continuous benchmarking of key services to understand empirically the performance of compute services, storage, network and others. As providers continually improve their back-end technologies, upgrade to newer hardware and server technology, and adjust the virtualization schemes for their services, the Cloud service performance will change. Only continuous benchmarking will capture these changes.
- A repeatable and consistent approach for testing of Cloud services. The tests that are performed, along with the test design and methodology, must all be consistent to allow for fair Cloud service provider comparisons, as well as to enable historical trending.
- Must use a reasonable sampling methodology to sample VMs and other Cloud services across various data centers, regions and locations worldwide. Performing benchmarking on all providers and all their services is cost prohibitive, and therefore a sampling methodology must be devised.
- Track pricing for key providers for the regions in which an enterprise operates. Along with currency fluctuations in a global market, the pace of price changes and pricing model modifications is challenging. A Cloud Transparency process must continually monitor prices for changes, and update the pricing information in a data repository to enable price-performance analytics to be developed. A price tracking and monitoring utility might also provide alerts when price changes are detected. This can be done by accessing the price APIs from the providers to detect price changes. At a minimum, monthly pricing updates should be performed to ensure accurate pricing data.
- Price-performance analytics must incorporate the updated performance and pricing information to generate price-performance value comparisons. As monthly prices are updated, combined with periodic performance data updates, the price-performance analytics can simultaneously be updated to provide the universal comparison metric for Cloud computing services.
Things to Do Tomorrow
Below, we offer some actions that end-user enterprises, providers, and IT services firms might pursue to enable and participate in Cloud Transparency.
- Implement a Cloud Transparency process within your organization to ensure performance, price and price-performance analytics are available to decision makers, product owners, and IT leadership.
- Partner with a Cloud Transparency data provider to obtain up-to-date information on Cloud pricing, services and price-performance analytics.
- Providers must support Cloud Transparency efforts by allowing performance testing of their Cloud services, as well as simplifying their pricing strategies. While price and performance opacity may be beneficial to the providers, it does not aid consumers in choosing the best Cloud services for their needs.
- IT services firms must demand increased Cloud Transparency to enable better business decisions for their clients. Providers will respond to market demands, but only if the market in the aggregate supports the need for greater Cloud Transparency.
Cloud Transparency has the potential to help businesses achieve the best services and prices suited to their needs. But to achieve that, Cloud Transparency must be treated as an ongoing process and management discipline. Doing so will help businesses better optimize Cloud spending and help ensure workloads and mission critical applications are deployed to the most appropriate Cloud services.