The best tools to predict and manage cloud computing costs

Cloud pricing can be a frustrating experience. Everything is charged by different metrics. Some of the prices are spelled out, some are hidden behind paywalls or aren’t clear until you get your monthly bill and realize you forgot to turn off an instance that is chewing up your wallet. Some are charged by usage, others by the month.

I look at some of the issues in keeping track of your cloud costs and summarize the numerous services that are currently available. You can read my post on WindowsITpro here. Security Solutions for the Virtual Network

I  cover a recent white paper from the Cloud Security Alliance about network function virtualization (NFV) in a series of posts for IBM’s blog. In the first post, “Security and the Virtual Network: Part I,” I discuss how NFV and software-defined networks (SDNs) are changing the traditional enterprise infrastructure. Part two explored some security challenges and implementation risks involved with deploying new virtual networks and their related technologies. And in the third post, I recommend improvements and certain security frameworks for protecting your virtual networks.

Virtual networks’ dynamic nature means IT staff have to take time to document its topology and data flows carefully and keep up with any changes to its structure.

Redmond Magazine: Using OpenStack to Control VM Chaos

I join Dell Virtualization Evangelist Hassan Fahimi to provide a complete overview of OpenStack and Foglight for OpenStack, including:

  • Understanding OpenStack deployment strategies and issues
  • Gaining complete visibility into your OpenStack topology
  • Monitoring the performance of specific OpenStack modules and components
  • Leveraging alerts to proactively identify issues
  • Taking advantage of built-in “FAQs” and reports to immediately get the answers you need

You can download my slides here, and watch the webinar here.

TechTarget seminar: How to make the move to hybrid cloud computing

The benefits of cloud computing have been hammered into IT – streamlined processes, improved accessibility, greater flexibility, and so on – but latent concerns around security, performance, and access have kept many organizations from realizing the true value of the cloud.

You need to objectively compare the capabilities and costs of cloud services against those of traditional on-premises infrastructure – even if you’re already doing some mix of the two (in fact, especially if you’re doing a mix of the two).

This five-city event provides that objective perspective by focusing on building a data center infrastructure that realizes the true value of cloud computing across your IT infrastructure – including automation, high availability, appropriate utilization rates – and not just limited, low-impact use cases. Sign up for one of the cities that I will be speaking here.

SearchSecurity: Virtualization security tools defend across clouds

The days when IT managers used different security products to protect their on-premises and cloud infrastructures are happily coming to a close. There’s a growing awareness that migrating virtual workloads to new IT infrastructure requires different levels of protection with security mechanisms built-in.

In this story for TechTarget’s SearchSecurity, I talk more about this trend and some of the products (such as Catbird’s shown above) that can be used to protect your cloud-based resources. Five ways CIOs tackle hybrid cloud security

As CIOs adopt hybrid-cloud strategies, some quickly learn that these environments need new kinds of security models or, at least, contexts in which to apply existing controls and security technologies. Most organizations also find that their environments are not as simple as a pure private plus public cloud. Legacy on-premises systems and SaaS applications come into play.

You can read my article in SearchSecurity here as I interview several CIOs and what they are doing to protect their hybrid cloud deployments.

ITworld: A get-up-to-speed guide on hyper-converged infrastructure

The market for hyper-converged systems is quickly evolving. Traditional storage infrastructure vendors remain the largest installed base, but software-defined and hyper-converged storage providers represent the fastest growing market segment, with some of the latter vendors rapidly increasing their market share.

ITworld: A get-up-to-speed guide on VDI

Virtual desktop infrastructure, better known as VDI, is undergoing a new life. A few years ago, it was plagued by lackluster user experiences and cost overruns. Now, thanks to an injection of new technology and better implementations, there’s a lot to like. Faster, cheaper technology has made it an interesting option for companies seeking a way to support flexible, work-from-anywhere environments.

How does this transformation happen? This get-up-to-speed guide posted on ITworld explores how VDI can help organizations navigate shifts in business, and user needs.

ITworld: A get-up-to-speed guide on moving legacy apps to the cloud

Making a case for moving legacy apps to the cloud is becoming easier, with the biggest driver being the ability to shift costs from capital to operating expenses, which can save money. Also, renting capacity rather than owning servers and network infrastructure allows more flexibility in how computing resources are provisioned, enabling workloads to be matched to demand. Quick provisioning is key: New servers can be brought up in the cloud in just minutes, not only making it easier to improve availability but also enabling more flexible disaster recovery mechanisms.

This get-up-to-speed guide explores the key approaches to migrating legacy apps to the cloud, and the value each can bring to your business. You can download my guide here.

CIO: Five ways to save money on your cloud costs

Keeping track of your monthly cloud computing bills isn’t easy. While it is great that cloud providers usually charge you on the resources you consume, the various elements of your bill are very complex and made up of dozens of different factors, such as CPU core, storage units, RAM size and data transfers. Fortunately, there are a number of online services (see chart below) that can help you save money by using a series of clever choices. In this article for CIO (email reg. req.), I will look at five questions that you can ask to try to reduce your monthly cloud computing bill.

Service, link Number of Cloud Providers Expertise Free or paid?
Cloudability AWS Cost monitoring Paid
Cloudorado Cloud Hosting Comparison 27 CPU benchmarks Free (paid by participating vendors)
Cloudyn AWS, Azure, Google Costing trends Both
CloudHarmony CloudSquare 101 Uptime status Free
CloudSpectator Varies Custom analytics Both; paid reports are $400 each
CloudHealth Technologies AWS, Google Costing, performance and security analytics Paid services start at $250/mo
Datapipe Analytics AWS, Azure Management tools Paid services start at $3500/mo
RightScale PlanForCloud 6 Deployment scenarios Both; paid services start at $6000/mo