Enhancing Cloud Cost Optimization: Revisiting FinOpsX 2024
Alon Arvatz
June 27, 2024
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This year was a big year for us at FinOpsX as PointFive made its official introduction to the world. We attended a number of great sessions and had wonderful conversations with a dynamic group of people who are all working toward a single goal: Enhancing cloud cost efficiency.

Here are some of our favorite pictures we captured at the event.

Cloud Provider Announcements

Kicking things off, the FinOps Foundation announced the general availability of the FinOps Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS™) 1.0. Getting to this point required a significant amount of work and a rigorous review process — not to mention the involvement of the three major cloud providers in the world — to ensure that FOCUS 1.0 is truly ready for general adoption. 

FOCUS 1.0 is an open-source specification that provides cloud vendors with guidelines on how to provide consistent cost and usage datasets. It is designed to be simple and easy to follow so organizations can make more informed business decisions to maximize the use of the cloud. 

In addition to the general availability of FOCUS 1.0, the three biggest cloud providers announced feature enhancements, all centered around enabling organizations to make more strategic decisions about managing their cloud infrastructure. 

These announcements are significant. Each of these updates highlights the cloud providers’ commitment to making it easier to understand cloud billing and usage, further supporting the availability of FOCUS 1.0. And this comes at a critical time in the evolution of organizations’ technology investments as organizations face a new sense of urgency to effectively bridge the gap between FinOps and engineering teams. 

Here’s a quick recap of the cloud providers’ announcements.

AWS

AWS shared several product announcements with themes of trust, flexibility, and standardization. At the core of each update is a focus on data, specifically data to equip FinOps teams to make more informed decisions. 

The AWS Cost Optimization Hub, for example, offers customization capabilities for organizations to build a single location that delivers the priority data points reviewed on a regular basis. Additionally, AWS Cost Explorer offers better data visibility by enabling teams to drill down into specific filters on cost and usage. 

Google Cloud 

Google Cloud reiterated its commitment to ensuring cloud costs are visible and that spend on GCP should be “efficient with no waste.” In keeping with this commitment, Google announced a new BigQuery view that aligns with FOCUS 1.0. This visibility enables teams to see costs and billing data with less manual work; over time, users will be able to easily compare spend data across cloud providers. 

Google Cloud also shared a Scenario Modeling framework for committed use discounts (CUDs) so users can build real-world scenarios based on historic and recent usage metrics to better identify the right level of commitments to match their holistic commitment strategy. 

Additionally, Gemini Cloud Assist provides organizations with the ability to quickly gather key insights within cost reports, removing the need for downloads and manual data analysis. 

Microsoft Azure 

Similar to Google Cloud’s announcement, Azure rolled out new cost analysis techniques to align with FOCUS 1.0. This capability enables users to export and integrate datasets using the FOCUS schema. Powered by Microsoft Copilot, organizations can leverage the AI-powered tool to effectively analyze data to increase productivity, reduce costs, and provide deep insights into ways to optimize cloud costs. 

Azure also rolled out a single analytics platform to improve visibility into key datasets across the organization. This visibility also offers Azure users the ability to get pre-estimates for cost before deploying with an embedded cost estimation interface. 

Additional updates from Azure focused on cost savings opportunities include: 

  • A savings plan for Compute - This offers more support for Azure Container Apps and Azure Spring Apps 
  • New reservation offers - This includes offers for SQL Database Hyperscale, SQL Managed Instance, Microsoft Fabric, and Microsoft Defender for Cloud. 

Why This Matters

These announcements are significant, especially considering that AWS, Google, and Microsoft are supporting the FOCUS 1.0 framework. Though competitors, each organization understands and buys into the idea of standardizing cloud costs between them. 

Additionally, we heard, as expected, that the gap between FinOps and engineering teams is one that organizations can no longer afford to overlook. As technology — and AI in particular — continues to evolve, organizations need to be prepared to move faster and make smarter decisions. 

This is why our goal at PointFive is to enable organizations to identify ways to take advantage of peak efficiency of the cloud with minimal effort. For us, collaboration is key. 

Working Together: The Future of FinOps and Engineering 

In the coming months and years, I think we’ll see two specific changes regarding FinOps's role. First, the tactical work will pass to engineers, allowing FinOps to take a more strategic role. This means they’ll be focused on things like identifying bottlenecks, setting standards, and creating cost-efficiency measurements and routines. 

This change will require a cultural shift across the engineering organization, something we recognize is hard to achieve. As a result, we expect to see this change as more of a gradual process that will start with identifying the engineers who really care about cost and making them ambassadors to facilitate collaboration.

The second change will be around standardization for billing data. Just presenting data across clouds will no longer be enough; quite frankly, it will become table stakes. This creates room for innovation, especially for the next generation of FinOps solutions. The next generation will help facilitate the cultural transition with engineers, and will provide remediation capabilities alongside deeper insights to drive continuous action and optimization.

The FOCUS framework and PointFive’s platform share a common goal: enabling organizations to maximize the value of their cloud investments. Learn more about how PointFive enables collaboration to help you supercharge your cloud efficiency journey.

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