Episode Summary

iland Director of Cloud Market Intelligence Brian Knudtson is joined by guests Phoummala Schmitt, Juliana Ramos, and Mike Nelson for a conversation about the concerns customers have with the transparency of their cloud costs. They discuss how to simplify cloud billing, the success rate of estimating cloud costs, how to improve those estimations, and the kind of reporting you should utilize to limit end-of-the-month billing surprises. How well do you know your data?


Phoummala Schmitt
Senior Cloud Ops Advocate, Microsoft

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Juliana Ramos
Inside Sales Rep, Veeam Software

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Mike Nelson
Microsoft Solutions Architect, Pure Storage

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Cloud Conversations

Topic 1

[02:23] Simplifying the costs incurred while utilizing a cloud platform can make it easier to understand a customer’s costs. Unfortunately, cloud can be a complex solution, so is it possible to simplify their billing? And if so, how?

Topic 2

[13:54] Estimating actual costs during the presales process — whether through a web calculator or working with a sales team  — can be difficult given the complexities and hidden costs involved. How successful are customers in estimating their future costs and what should they be looking for to improve their estimations?

Topic 3

[25:44] What kind of reporting should customers look for to help them understand month-to-date utilization that can be used to help predict end-of-month bills and reduce surprises?

Cloud Bites

[03:51] “With the cloud, it’s a little bit more complicated because it’s more than just, ‘Hey, you just bought seven trays of storage or you just bought X amount of capacity.’ It’s more than that, because you’re purchasing utilization, you’re purchasing capacity, you’re purchasing services and features. It’s about business value.” Phoummala Schmitt 

[06:54] “I know what I’m getting when I buy a car. But when I buy the cloud, I don’t know exactly what I’m getting.” — Mike Nelson 

[07:01] “And a lot of it has to do with education. They just don’t know what the capabilities of the public cloud are or what their applications or workloads that they’re moving into cloud really need.” Mike Nelson

[07:31] “There is no cloud. There’s just a space you rent or space you use, and it’s another person’s, another company’s, infrastructure.” Juliana Ramos

[08:02] “A lot of customers do not know what features are out there, what services are out there. They don’t know what’s been turned on, what’s been turned off.” Phoummala Schmitt  

[14:44] “You need to make sure that your cloud service offers you easy to use tools that lets you track costs in real time.” Juliana Ramos

[16:05] “The key here is that you need to know your data. You need to know your critical data. Your not-so-critical data. How much of it you’ve got on your infrastructure and where do you need to put it and how long do you need to maintain it on the cloud?” Juliana Ramos

[17:36] “I certainly agree with putting test out in the cloud, but there are times the test environment does become expensive. That’s because sometimes test is doing things with, maybe test code, and test code probably isn’t the most optimized at times. They can run the bill up.” Phoummala Schmitt

[21:18] “So there’s actually a FinOps group that just focuses on how do finance folks, numbers people, understand things like costs in the cloud and cloud billing and how that all works. It’s a change in culture.” Mike Nelson 

[23:35] “You have to convince your whole company that this is a needed shift and they have to change their perspective on spending, on costs and on managing and operating the whole system.” Juliana Ramos

[26:10] “You need to understand, from the business aspect first, what workloads or what applications are actually going to be moved into the cloud, because that can actually put you in a different direction on your cloud provider, because there are some cloud providers that have focus areas.” Mike Nelson 

[29:55] “When you go up into the public cloud, there’s a lot more there. There’s a lot more to do. There’s a lot more to utilize. And you need to make sure that you’re getting all of the costing and all of the data to be able to report on that and understand those costs, in order to make intelligent decisions on which cloud to use.” Mike Nelson

[30:42] “I guess the best way to use the cloud is to know the cloud. And like I said before, our knowledge is power.” Juliana Ramos

“I know what I’m getting when I buy a car. But when I buy the cloud, I don’t know exactly what I’m getting.”


Episode Asset

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