Harmonization is a cloud provisioning and procurement decision-making approach relevant to every enterprise cloud buyer with large, complex, or sophisticated cloud computing needs. The organizations most likely to realize the long-term benefits of this new method are typically those with increasing cloud usage, particularly organizations with several long-term projects. This method is a collection of strategies designed to mitigate and manage the oft-overlooked cost impact of cloud sprawl. It provides oversight and influence back to enterprise IT, while minimizing the loss of developer agility in rapidly provisioning suitable cloud resource. Once implemented, it engenders a coordinated, sustainable approach to cloud procurement that reduces costs, improves governance, and allows for efficient procurement without compromising business agility.
The cloud harmonization method has five steps:
- Assess. Gather the underlying cloud usage data across an entire organization.
- Visualize. Visualize the myriad combinations of cloud resources in use in a way that allows technical, financial, and senior management to understand the impact of cloud sprawl.
- Prepare. Analyze the underlying cloud usage and billing data to prepare a list of specific, actionable recommendations for migrating resources in and around the cloud provider.
- Predict. Solicit probabilistic cloud-usage forecasts from project-level resource managers that allows decision makers to justify an appropriate level of committed use of cloud resources based on a probabilistic forecast across multiple projects.
- Procure. Leverage pricing expertise and access to tailored finance and billing solutions offered through a resale chain in order to maximize the cost savings of committed usage while managing conflicting preferences around cash flow and accounting complexity.
In an effort to innovate and become nimble, organizations use on-demand cloud computing to quickly provision the IT resources needed for testing and development. With ever-increasing cloud usage and a number of workloads moving into production, such organizations face the monumental task of regaining control of how they buy cloud resources in a more sustainable manner knowing that on-demand pricing tariffs are up to four times more expensive than pre-committed usage.
If your organization is addicted to the flexibility of on demand, chances are your projects have racked up a credit card bill and amassed a disparate, sprawling collection of cloud resources you may feel is getting out of control. As a CIO, you can adopt a harmonization strategy and a portfolio-purchasing approach using a set of proven strategies that optimize your overall cloud computing spend to mitigate the impact of cloud sprawl and gain a new level of insight into how your organization will efficiently procure cloud for the long term.
[For more from the authors on this topic, see "The Impact of Cloud Sprawl."]