Report: Cloud cost control: expense management and auditing for SaaS and beyond

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SaaS
Cloud cost control: expense management and auditing for SaaS and beyond by David S. Linthicum:
Today’s Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings enable near-instant productivity and capacity. Businesses, however, have little visibility into or control over their cloud solutions’ true cost.
Cloud computing allows lines of business to self-provision tools, often without IT’s knowledge. The result is an increase in localized productivity. But provisioned systems are often redundant, contracts are poorly optimized, and businesses are unable to manage or audit the lifecycle and usage of these services. They also lack the data and clout to negotiate more favorable terms.
Cloud computing may put unprecedented power into the hands of business users, but the processes for centralizing management and auditing distributed resources are not new. The challenges that businesses face today are similar to those telecom expense management faced 10 years ago. Considering telecom’s best practices and tool sets can help us develop methods and techniques that maximize the benefits of the emerging cloud computing space.
To read the full report, click here.

Report: How to resolve cloud migration challenges in physical and virtual applications

Our library of 1700 research reports is available only to our subscribers. We occasionally release ones for our larger audience to benefit from. This is one such report. If you would like access to our entire library, please subscribe here. Subscribers will have access to our 2017 editorial calendar, archived reports and video coverage from our 2016 and 2017 events.
Cloud computing
How to resolve cloud migration challenges in physical and virtual applications by Paul Miller:
Enterprise IT infrastructure largely predates the emergence of cloud computing as a viable choice for hosting mission-critical applications. Although large organizations are now showing real signs of adopting cloud computing as part of their IT estate, most cloud-based deployments still tend to be either for new and self-contained projects or to meet the needs of traditional development and testing functions.
Compatibility, interoperability, and performance concerns have kept IT administrators from being completely comfortable with the idea of moving their complex core applications to the cloud. And without a seamless application migration blueprint, the project can seem more of a headache – and risk – than it’s worth. This report will highlight for systems administrators, IT directors, cloud architects, and decision-makers at Software as a Service (SaaS) companies and Cloud Service providers, the different approaches they can take in moving existing applications to the cloud.
To read the full report, click here.

Microsoft unveils Azure Key Vault and big strong servers

Microsoft caused a bit of a stir in October when it announced plans for big cloud servers with up to 32 cores, 450 gigabytes of RAM and 6.5 terabytes of local SSD. As of Thursday, those G-series instances (or VMs, in Azure-speak) are available. See the chart below for versions and pricing.

Also new for the [company]Microsoft[/company] public cloud: a preview version of Azure Key Vault, which will let customers control their encryption keys and passwords without having to resort to an on-premises Hardware Security Module (HSM) appliance.

As we’ve seen over and over, Microsoft is racing to add features and services to its cloud to make it more competitive with [company]Amazon[/company] Web Services. (As an interesting aside, the new AWS C4 Family of instances, pre-announced in November, were apparently ready to roll last week when an errant blog post slipped out, but are still not officially available.)

Azure Key Vault pricing

Cloud security is key

One leg of that race is adding ever more powerful instances or servers along with price cuts the longer the instances are on the market. Another leg, in the wake of Sony and other publicized data breaches, is bulletproofing public clouds as those vendors know that security is the primary concern for coveted enterprise accounts.

A recent Piper Jaffray survey of 112 CIOs found that a majority (73 percent) plan to budget dollars for private, public or hybrid cloud projects this year. But 35 percent of them also said security concerns would keep their data on premises, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

“In light of the increasing number of security breaches, we believe the movement of data and workloads to a public cloud provider will likely remain muted in 2015,” the report said.

That’s the rationale behind Azure Key Vault, the AWS Key Management Service Amazon announced in November and an array of third-party tools that integrate with cloud compute and storage offerings.

One more thing

Finally, in its effort to embrace popular Docker container technology, Microsoft company has added a Docker engine — as part of an Ubuntu Linux image — to its Azure marketplace.

“This is a simple, fast way to get started,” Corey Sanders, partner director of program management for Azure, told me in an interview. Users can pull the Ubuntu image down and just get going. “It gets rid of roadblocks so you can get up and running in minutes with Docker.”

Microsoft Azure G-Series pricing

4 cloud predictions for 2015

So yes, 2014 was a big year for cloud. Now it’s time for some predictions for the year ahead. Based on gut instinct, here are my picks.

1: Cloud consolidation will continue

There are those who say that end-user thirst for cloud will mean enough business for everyone. I disagree — this is a scale game for the most part and with [company]Amazon[/company], [company]Google[/company] and [company]Microsoft[/company] sucking the air out of the room on public cloud, there will be room for some second-tier players but not for every cloud vendor on the horizon.

Last year’s consolidation  — [company]Cisco[/company] buying MetaCloud, [company]Hewlett-Packard[/company] buying Eucalyptus, [company]EMC[/company] buying CloudScaling — was prelude to more M&A to come. Can CloudSigma, Digital Ocean, GoGrid, Joyent, Mirantis, ProfitBricks and a dozen other cloud vendors all flourish and prosper as standalone companies? Don’t bet on it, but some of them might be nifty pickups for bigger companies that need to bring their own cloud effort up to speed.

Photo: Editor B

2: Legendary IT giants will keep slimming down

Some of the big legacy enterprise tech players will continue to, um, right-size themselves in the upcoming year. Not that they haven’t already done so; IBM, Microsoft, VMware, and Hewlett-Packard all laid off employees last year but don’t expect the cuts to stop now.

In particular, I would look for two of these companies — [company]IBM[/company] and [company]VMware[/company] — to pare more headcount early in the year. (Spokespeople from IBM and VMware declined to comment.)

Photo: Martin Cathrae

3: Yes, there’ll be more price cuts. But feature wars will spike

Microsoft and Google both showed they were willing to meet Amazon Web Services price cuts — or even preempt them. That will likely continue but look for the big three public cloud entities to try to compete more on higher-end services going forward — they all want to attract enterprise accounts and enterprise accounts want service(s).

PHoto: hxdbzxy

 

4: It’s all about security, silly

As has been reported endlessly, concern over the security of putting data in a cloud could be a huge gating factor to adoption. But once companies realize that just as it’s impossible to have a foolproof on-premises server room (or company-owned data center), and that there is no 100 percent guarantee that any given cloud is a fortress, they can get down to business. Once realistic expectations are set, as Gartner posited in its 2015 predictions, companies can focus on assessing risks and mitigating them in the smartest way.

With the growing realization that security must be approached in a multilayered way, with assessment and testing happening continuously, and with growing emphasis on proactively building better security into the applications themselves, we can all get on with our lives.

safe