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Cloud Budget Control, who should be paying the price?

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 13, 2017 11:11:00 AM / by Sarah de Castro

Sarah de Castro

Part Two: Cloud discipline, why just “hoping” programmers will respect the budget isn’t working for anyone.

As we saw in part one of this series, controlling Cloud costs is a massive problem for companies but the way to do so isn’t always obvious. 

In fact, saving on Cloud cost through optimizing existing Cloud use is the number one Cloud related concern for companies in 2017.

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Who’s to blame?

It’s tempting to play to the blame game when purse strings need to be tightened: It’s developers, DevOps and SysOps who are spending the AWS budget, and it’s the AWS bill that is exploding the IT budget… so... can we blame the out of control AWS bill specifically on these guys and girls?  

To do a good job, developers, just like anyone else,  need to feel empowered to find the optimal solutions and capacity to accomplish the task at hand. And if they happen to burst the budget achieving their (their company’s) goal... well it was, no doubt, with the best of intentions. Can we really rely on programmers to stay within a set Cloud infrastructure budget? Is that really their job?

In fact, it can be argued that it’s in a company’s best interest to encourage developers to push the envelope on whatever project they’re working on. And this might mean avoiding middle management urging them to stay within a budget and being reprimanded when they don’t.

Unlimited limitations

But where do responsibility and accountability fit into the corporate IaaS equation? Can limitations ever been seen in a positive light?

“Whether or not they’re created by an outside client or you, yourself, a set of limitations is often the catalyst that sets creativity free,” says Scott McDowell, founder of the consulting and executive search firm, CHM Partners  in this article about successful creativity.

And so what if the idea that limitations make people work better holds true for all environments?  Could your developers make better use of Cloud infrastructure if it were in limited supply?

You may be thinking, “but we don’t have an unlimited AWS budget, it is restricted!” But the questions is: do those building the code that invokes the cloud APIs or orchestrate its provisioning and deployment i.e. the developers and DevOps, know what that budget is and how much of it they should be using? If it’s like most other corporate resources, the answer is, probably not.

Getting drunk on AWS

Providing your developers unlimited access to AWS, is a little like inviting them to an open bar, they may well keep drinking until they fall over or get thrown out -or both, (except with AWS, Amazon isn’t going to close at 3am) but the results are the same… a sloppy mess.

So instead of announcing an open bar and then telling them they can only have two drinks, (meh… frustrating at best). Is there a solution that inherently integrates limitations into the task itself, so it’s more like you’re  inviting your programmes out for a couple of drinks and giving them exactly what they expect… thus creating a new kind of creativity, optimised within a framework.

In the same way the CFO wants the foresight to accurately forecast Cloud infrastructure and the IT budget, developers want to know what they have to work with.

In next week’s final installment of this series we explore how using quota and allocations lets everyone know what they have to work with, enforce company-wide accountability and reduce spending without causing tensions and pulling rank.  

Topics: CFO, Budget, agile, Cloud, developers

Sarah de Castro

Written by Sarah de Castro

Cloud-enthusiast and storyteller, Sarah is a content strategist at OneKloud. Explorer of the technology landscape, she boils down technical and complex ideas for everyday digestion (and enjoyment). With an appreciation for sophisticated simplicity, linguistics and branding, she is a global local in Paris from New Zealand.

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