It’s been a grand spring, summer, and fall of Forrester Wave™ evaluations for me. These evaluations are time-intensive. I’ve spent many nights, weekends, and early and late hours on two separate cloud management evaluations. The participating vendors each spent long hours submitting answers to detailed questionnaires, lining up customer references and executive briefings, and preparing for involved multistage demos (THANK YOU!). Last month, I published The Forrester Wave™: Cloud Cost Management And Optimization, Q3 2022. This report is an update from 2020. We looked at the top 10 providers — Apptio, CoreStack, Densify, Flexera, Harness, IBM, NetApp, Nutanix, Virtana, and VMware. Each vendor was evaluated for a comprehensive breadth of services and tools and scored across 26 different criteria. The report digs into each offering, the criteria, the process, the scores, etc. I encourage you to take a look.
Given how much work went into the project, I wanted to share a few tidbits that didn’t make it into the report itself. This has become a mini-tradition for me and something I hope to continue. Without any further ado, here’s my take on the market:
- CCMO tools are in a stage of heightened awareness. The pandemic spurred a lot of momentum for cloud strategies. Many organizations accelerated adoption plans and sped up migration strategies. With skyrocketing cloud spend, enterprises took a renewed look at cloud costs to ensure that every dollar counted. To do this, cloud cost management and optimization (CCMO) tools became front and center. The anticipated economic slowdown will only intensify this focus. Cloud cost management (i.e., finops) has also risen in interest. Many companies want to know how to view these tools in the context of their broader ITFM/TBM strategy and if there are ways to apply optimization insights earlier in the development process to eliminate further waste.
- Transparency is key. We’ve seen an increasing amount of automation and general cloud management entering the CCMO space. Those capabilities are feeding into the desire for increased transparency on what the logic is behind areas such as anomaly detection, connection between various platforms, and recommendations. End users want the ability to view the logic behind why something is identified as anomalous, whether its integration with Kubernetes or other third-party tools is actually working, and why tools are making specific recommendations that they are. Furthermore, they want the ability to change that logic, as well, if it isn’t in line with their priorities.
- No, hyperscalers aren’t trying to take over cloud management. While the major cloud providers offer their own cost management solutions that have gained increasing popularity — mostly because of their $0 price point — the hyperscalers aren’t trying to provide the same capabilities as the third-party providers do. Hyperscalers do provide right-sizing recommendations, some provide on-premises visibility, and some even provide multicloud visibilities. Hyperscalers don’t provide automation capabilities that are considered tablestakes for CCMO products, however, such as automatically limiting budget and spend and automated remediation.
Cloud cost management is a continuously evolving and fast-growing space. It has also reached a fork in the road where the vendors will need to start answering serious questions about what they want to be when they grow up. Will they move more toward hybrid cloud management or ITFM/TBM? Will they lean into more specific services like SaaS cost management or container cost management? Tune in in 2024 for those answers.