How much cloud is too much? That's the question a handful of companies are attempting to answer for enterprise users of cloud computing services.
It's no secret that cloud vendors are taking advantage of their solutions' virtual nature to sell customers more capacity than their applications may require. In some cases, cloud vendors have bypassed IT and worked with less tech-savvy business customers in order to get away with this.
Sometimes the fault for overprovisioned clouds rests squarely with users who've chosen their own way around IT. "Todayís cloud services can easily be acquired by corporate end-users and strategic business units in an unauthorized and ad hoc fashion ('the consumerization of IT') and can quickly become very costly unless properly managed," states Jeff Kaplan of consultancy THINKstrategies in an email today.
Enter a growing demand for tools that help enterprises avoid overpaying for cloud services. "There are a growing number of cloud-based and on-premises tools aimed at helping organizations better monitor and measure their use of cloud services," Kaplan writes. "These tools are increasingly important."
Companies such as Cloudyn, a startup from Israel that helps IT allocate Amazon Web Services to fit actual enterprise usage, are trying to stop firms from paying for services they really don't need and take advantage of services that might be cheaper.
Cloudyn claims to monitor the activity of AWS users, including the virtual instances they deploy as part of their service. Then Cloudyn's software calculates the most cost-effective AWS setup based on the configuration and usage data it finds.
Cloudyn claims it can save customers a typical 40 percent on the cost of cloud deployment.
According to a statement on Cloudyn's Website:
Cloudyn continually collects utilization, consumption, availability, capacity, and cost metrics for your monitored cloud resources: Compute (e.g, AWS EC2), Database (e.g, AWS RDS) and more. Cloudyn continually seeks the optimum balance of available pricing options and potential cloud configurations in consideration of your historical usage pattern.
Cloudyn's software is in beta test (free until May 1), and the vendor hopes to extend the capabilities of its tool to a range of services other than AWS via APIs.
There aren't too many offerings like Cloudyn's, though other startups are turning up, and large IT vendors provide solutions to help customers monitor and size private clouds.
But it's likely that we'll start to see these kinds of solutions proliferate -- because they are needed. Experts say customers aren't aware of what clouds should cost, what service levels they should expect, or even the specific capabilities of cloud services.
In a press release, Cloudyn CEO Sharon Wagner acknowledged the emerging market segment: "Recent developments by cloud providers and feedback from our customers indicate that cost visibility is becoming a commodity."
— Mary Jander , Managing Editor, Internet Evolution