Cloud cost management, unlike traditional IT systems, is dynamic and difficult to handle with spreadsheets and manual tracking. Instead, automated tools that retrieve metrics from APIs, report on cloud consumption and costs, and alter services as required, have become indispensable. These tools fall into two broad categories—first-party tools offered by the cloud provider, and third-party tools developed by external vendors.
All major public cloud platforms include in-built cost management tools. These tools, owing to their deep integration with the cloud platform, can be utilized instantly without any special deployment efforts. While some are free to use, others operate on a pay-per-use model.
Using these tools can be the quickest way to start managing your cloud costs. However, first-party tools have several limitations:
- Restricted functionality: Many first-party tools offer the limited capacity to pinpoint wasted costs and leverage multiple cost models for maximum savings.
- Single vendor focus: Most first-party tools are limited to their respective cloud providers, making them inadequate for organizations requiring multi-cloud cost management.
- Potential conflict of interest: A cloud provider, ultimately, seeks to maximize profits. Although providers aim to help clients run applications cost-effectively to boost usage and retention, they also want to maximize the consumption of cloud services, which might not always align with the customer’s best interests.
Third-party cost management tools often overcome the functional limitations of first-party tools and typically offer multi-cloud cost management. They are designed to minimize cloud costs across diverse cloud services and workloads, promising a clear return on investment (ROI).
However, organizations should undertake a thorough evaluation of these tools across various cloud platforms. It’s important to understand how their capabilities align with the specific cost models of each cloud provider and assess their ability to identify, recommend, and automate cost optimizations.
In conclusion, while first-party tools provide a quick start to cloud cost management, third-party tools offer more robust and multi-cloud capabilities. Businesses need to make informed decisions based on their cloud infrastructure, usage, and cost management needs to choose the right tool for effective cloud cost optimization.
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