MSPs: The Importance of Tracking [Real-Time] Cloud Service Usage

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To accurately and reliably track cloud service usage, real-time is the only time that matters.

Tools and calculators from service providers intended to help estimate cloud usage and cost are of limited use. Truly – it can be like gazing into a crystal ball.

At a theoretical level, one can plot the ideal scenario of which cloud services will be used across the enterprise and to what extent. However, as many a general has said, “no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.” In this context, “no cloud plan survives the first contact with your team.”

Tools that allow reports to be pulled on current cloud service usage aren’t much help either. Assuming they can deliver what you ask for in a timely fashion, the data they yield suffers from an early expiration. A snapshot of an enterprise’s state of affairs from five minutes ago can already be out of date as IT personnel, developers and others within the organization pull more services or capacity without warning depending on their needs of the day.

Multi-cloud multiplies complexity

These challenges only deepen in a multi-cloud environment, where the enterprise shops around to secure the best combination of services and price.

Take, for example, this scenario, in which an enterprise opts to use its virtual private network (VPN), to manage its public cloud resources. It’s a common practice, and why not? A VPN is already serving as the digital connective tissue within the enterprise. It only makes sense to couple cloud services to the same train. This makes it easier to integrate applications and workflows since application IP addresses are all internal and under central control. Any cloud service appears like an extension of the enterprise’s data center.

However, as usual with cloud services, it is this inherent ease and convenience that leads to trouble. If the enterprise’s people start shifting workflows between applications that are hosted on different public clouds through the VPN, unexpected traffic charges can pile up fast. Why? Because the enterprise can be billed for the data, it is pulling from one cloud and billed again by the other cloud that is receiving it.

Human behavior is always the wild card

Enterprise clients have workloads that they want to run in the cloud. They want to use the cloud service that is available on demand, most reliable and most cost-effective. It is only to be expected that workloads will shift around in a multi-cloud environment – daily. In reality, what enterprise clients need is a brokerage system, where they don’t even know (and don’t care) which cloud service their workload is running on today, tomorrow or the day after, so long as it serves their needs.

The industry is still a long way off from achieving that (despite what some cloud vendors say). There are technical issues around standardization, cloud architecture, security, and compliance.

A single point of data

The starting point is to ensure that enterprise clients have the visibility, in real-time, to monitor what cloud services are being used across their organizations and how much this is costing them. Moreover, just as important, understand too what services they are paying for that are not being used, avoiding unnecessary costs and to right-size and optimize their cloud spend.

This is the platform that enterprises need today from their MSPs as multi-cloud becomes more commonplace – a single point of data that visualizes, to the second, cloud service usage across the organization. Only with this kind of real-time insight can enterprises reap the full benefits of the multi-cloud, or any single cloud, without always dreading the bill at month end.

If you want to discuss this in more details, Contact us today and let’s start the conversation.

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