Lots of businesses want to save money in the cloud, and lots of software vendors want to sell them products designed to help do just that.
In fact, the market surrounding cloud cost optimization and management tools – a category sometimes also referred to as FinOps – is burgeoning. So many solutions are now available that it can be hard to figure out which one best suits a given organization's needs.
To help businesses navigate this crowded ecosystem, we've prepared a guide to cloud cost optimization and management software. It compares 14 leading cloud cost management tools around a core set of features – ranging from whether they offer automated savings recommendations, to how well they can support cost management for Kubernetes, to whether they work across multiple clouds and beyond.
You can download the full guide for free here. You can also keep reading for a summary of how the report works and what it reveals about the state of the cloud cost optimization tool market.
What Are Cloud Cost Optimization Tools?
For the purposes of this guide, we've defined cloud cost optimization and management tools as any type of software designed to help businesses monitor, predict and/or reduce the amount of money they spend on cloud resources.
These capabilities have become critical for any business seeking to avoid unnecessary spending in the cloud. The complexity of modern cloud environments, combined with the vast array of different cloud services available, can make it very difficult to figure out what you're even paying for in the cloud, let alone how to spend less. The cloud cost optimization software we've compared in our buyer's guide addresses these challenges by delivering insights designed to help businesses manage their cloud spending effectively.
Types of Cloud Cost Management Tools
The guide compares two main types of cloud cost optimization tools:
- Software provided by cloud vendors themselves, such as AWS Cost Explorer and Azure Cost Management.
- Third-party cost management tools.
The first category of tools has the advantage of being easy to deploy because the tools are built into public cloud platforms, meaning they require no installation or setup. Most of the tools in this category are also very low in cost or free.
On the other hand, third-party cloud cost management tools offer the benefit of supporting multiple clouds in most cases, whereas the tools provided by cloud vendors themselves work only with one cloud platform (except in the case of Azure cost Management, which supports both Azure and AWS).
Cloud Cost Management Tool Features
The guide compares cloud cost optimization tools based on a variety of features, including:
- Cost monitoring ability: How well can the tools monitor cloud spending to help businesses determine how much they're paying for specific cloud resources, as well as how their spending patterns vary over time?
- Cost forecasting ability: How effectively do the tools predict future cloud spending based on past or current spending?
- Spending recommendation and optimization: Can the tools automatically suggest ways of reducing cloud spending, such as changing to a different type of cloud service or modifying the configuration of a cloud workload?
- Budget management ability: Do the tools let users set a fixed cloud budget, then track how closely their actual spending aligns with the budget?
- Multi cloud support: How many types of cloud platforms can the tools work with? Do they support cost management for just one cloud, or can they help to optimize spending across multiple clouds?
- Breadth of workloads/services supported: How many distinct types of cloud services and workloads can the tools help to manage from a cost perspective. For example, do they only support workloads hosted on cloud VM instances, or can they also manage costs for containerized or Kubernetes-based workloads? Likewise, do they help to manage costs for cloud storage infrastructure, or just for compute infrastructure?
- Kubernetes/container support: For tools that do support containerized and Kubernetes-based workloads, how much granularity and detail do they offer for cost monitoring and management purposes?
- Deployment simplicity: How easy is it to get the tool up and running?
- Affordability: What's the typical price point of the tool?
The buyer's guide assigns each tool a label of High, Medium or Low for all of these features. By comparing the assessments, you can identify tools that best align with your needs.
Limitations and Caveats
As with any comparison of different software tools, the guide is subject to some important limitations. The biggest is that the tools it compares are complex and powerful, and a range of variables affect how good they are at different tasks or in different contexts. Summarizing each tool's effectiveness in a few short lines of text doesn't always leave enough room to address all of the nuances at play.
For example, the exact cost of cloud cost management tools can vary widely depending on which pricing model you select and how many resources you manage with them, among other factors. In rating the affordability of each tool, we've endeavored to focus on the total cost that an average business might incur. But your mileage can, of course, vary.
A second challenge is that in some cases, a software vendor has chosen not to build a certain feature into one product because the feature is available in a different product. As a result, the product receives a low score in certain areas that, if taken out of the context, may make the product seem less useful than it is. This is the case most notably for AWS's cost management tools. Each AWS solution in our guide provides a relatively narrow set of features, but it can be combined with other AWS software (or with third-party tools) to address all aspects of cloud cost management.
Despite challenges like these, we hope this resource provides some guidance for navigating the new and fast-changing market surrounding cloud cost optimization tools. Download the free guide below to learn which solution is right for you.