Research details challenges of tracking cloud consumption

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.


Two thirds of respondents in a survey from Dimensional Research and Cloud Cruiser say they find it challenging to track cloud consumption for cost allocations.

The research, which quizzed IT professionals who attended the AWS Global Summit events in San Francisco and New York in April and July this year, found almost four in five (79%) are pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy. Almost a third (30%) of respondents saying they will grow cloud services by more than half in the coming year, compared to 23% who said their company’s use of public cloud will increase by 25-50%. Only 9% said there would be no increase.

Of most interest is how organisations deploy hybrid clouds. At least 30% of respondents said they will complement their AWS cloud with another cloud. 31% said they planned on using an internal private cloud in addition to AWS, compared with 30% who opted for Microsoft. 27% said they did not plan on using any other cloud environments, while after Google (19%), the rest of the competition – Rackspace 9%, IBM SoftLayer 7%, Cisco 6% – lagged.

The majority of AWS usage is for software development and testing, cited by over 45% of respondents. Use for enterprise applications was cited by 35%, while more than one in five said they used AWS as a sandbox for testing other public cloud offerings.

Yet this balancing act comes at a cost. 61% of respondents admitted it would be of ‘high value’ to set alerts when public cloud consumption exceeded target, compared to only 2% of companies who said it would be of no value. In terms of cloud cost tracking, by application was the most popular according to two thirds of respondents, ahead of by project, by user, by department, and by VM.

In this instance it’s not so much a case of hidden costs, more of cutting them as necessary. “These findings tell us what we hear from our customers every day; budget tracking and forecasting is extremely difficult when you simply don’t know who is using what service, at what capacity level, much less the financial impact,” said Deirdre Mahon, Cloud Cruiser chief marketing officer.

“Making investments in the right solutions is critical even during the early stages of cloud adoption. Measure from the beginning and it will pay dividends when your bill comes in month after month,” she added.

At this point, you will be less than surprised to learn, Cloud Cruiser aligned this survey research with the release of a new product offering which tracks hybrid cloud usage by user and by cost, called CloudSmart-Now. Yet this is not an uncommon theory; regular readers of this publication will recall in July, claimed to be the UK’s first pure-play container cloud service and offers billing based on actual usage rather than provisioned capacity.

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