AWS RE:Invent 2021 Highlights – Part 3

In Part 3 of our AWS RE:Invent Highlights, PTS Principal Consultant, Ken Taylor, deconstructs a session by FinOps software vendor Apptio, with customer support by Fidelity and Pearson.


Interestingly, if not surprisingly, there was not a tremendous amount of attention given to cost control at AWS RE:Invent 2021. The one session of note was given by FinOps software vendor Apptio, with customer support by Fidelity and Pearson.

Apptio is a leader in this space, and they deliver what is arguably the leading-edge software suite for FinOps with Cloudability set of products. Cloudability is featured as the baseline reference software in what PTS considers the most influential book on FinOps: Cloud FinOps: Collaborative, Real-Time Cloud Financial Management by J.R Storment and Mike Fuller. 

While there was not a lot that was new in this session, there is much more of a softening of the language away from using FinOps tools and procedures to find “offenders” and shaming people into altering their behaviors – towards collaboratively creating ownership for cloud usage and costs. This is certainly a good thing and will be necessary for achieving long-term success. 

The thing that I struggle with as someone who has been through usage-based cost control before is this: 

When there is more effort spent on cost control, responding to cost-anomaly JIRA tickets, and re-engineering for cost – than on solving business problems, addressing customer needs, and building competitive advantage – then there will be a natural response to find an alternative that allows more focus on business priorities.  

We saw this problematic model in the past when the mainframe chargeback issued direct costs for every online session, batch job, transaction, etc. Far more developer time was being spent on cost remediation rather than on business issues in many shops. Line of Business owners found it to their advantage to invest in minicomputers outside of centralized IT and get some real work done. 

The one thing that we still do not see in the FinOps movement is how to create a sense of balance between the efforts to keep costs in line with budgets and ensure that the absolute minimum amount of distraction to genuine business advancement priorities is maintained. If that balance cannot be found, cloud alternatives will increasingly be sought once the market matures. 



Relevant Expertise

Digital Infrastructure

More Information

Author: Ken Taylor

Role: Principal Consultant

Location: Boston

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