Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Saturday, January 16, 2021
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Herding Cats in the Cloud: Enterprise Monitoring of Decentralized AWS Usage 

Cloud instances are typically spun out on a one-off basis across an enterprise. Most organizations have multiple cloud accounts purchased in a decentralized, ad hoc way. For large companies with $100,000+ monthly cloud fees, monitoring use and spending on public cloud services is a daunting task. Those with compute- and data-intensive advanced scale analytics implementations are at particular risk of losing control of their cloud costs.

Flexera, the software asset management (SAM) company, today launched FlexNet Manager for Cloud Infrastructure, which the company said is the first SAM tool for public cloud monitoring. Targeted initially at Amazon Web Services (AWS), Flexera said the company will release SAM tools for Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and other public cloud providers in the coming months.

“Organizations that are moving to adopt cloud infrastructures have got teams really focused on the operations side, the delivery of self service, emphasizing speed of provisioning,” Ed Rossi, vice president of product management told EnterpriseTech. “It’s common for companies to use multiple accounts, which makes analysis of spend and usage difficult at a broader, enterprise level. They know total spend but they can’t really analyze the usage and spending patterns to eliminate inefficiencies. What we’re delivering are dashboards that provide key cloud service metrics, emphasizing financial indicators and measurement of utilization. The solution provides drill-through capabilities for more in-depth data analysis.”

The rapid uptake of cloud services is creating more complex, heterogeneous environments spanning on-premises hardware/software assets along with cloud infrastructure services. FlexNet Manager for Cloud Infrastructure imports usage and billing data from multiple accounts to deliver a centralized view of all AWS accounts and instances across the enterprise. According to Flexera, the product enables companies to reduce over-buying and underutilization of cloud capacity; to more effectively negotiate volume discounts; to minimize overhead and facilitate chargebacks; and to optimize usage of pre-paid capacity (reserved instances).

Flexera dashboard
As Flexera exands its cloud monitoring capability beyond AWS, Flexnet will enable a consolidated view of cloud usage across multiple public cloud services providers, according to Daniel Galecki, Flexera's senior product marketing manager.

“The new frontier in Software Asset Management is Infrastructure as a Service,” said Ray Wang, Principal Analyst & Founder at Constellation Research. “Organizations are rapidly subscribing to public cloud services as a means to reduce their infrastructure costs and deliver flexible computing resources that can be quickly scaled upward or downward according to demand. But you can’t deliver true cost reduction and efficiency without visibility into, and control over, cloud services spend. Software Asset Management processes and technology must be able to account for, track and manage cloud infrastructure services.”

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