The Case for Third-Party AWS Cloud Management Tools
AWS cloud management platforms (CMPs), or cloud management tools, that provide insights on cloud cost management, have become a necessity for organizations hosting their production applications on AWS. It’s no surprise, given that most organizations run up five-, six-, or seven-figure AWS bills every month. Often, a good chunk of these charges represents inefficiency and waste. The only way for IT admins and DevOps teams to control runaway costs is to take a more disciplined approach to cost management.
Organizations must invest in cloud cost management software to implement disciplined and automated cost controls. While native AWS cost management tools are a great option, they may not be suitable in all situations. For companies that need advanced forecasting, reporting, and visualization features, or powerful root-cause analysis functionality, a third-party tool is their best bet.
Considerations When Choosing the Right AWS Cloud Management Tool
Cloud Complexity Is Increasing
The increasing popularity and maturity of AWS cloud mean that organizations are deploying more services than ever to the cloud. The goal of the move is to maximize the benefits the cloud brings – agility, resiliency, scale, and cost savings. At the same time, organizations need to maintain governance, compliance, and efficient use of resources.
Unfortunately, this delicate balance becomes harder to achieve as the complexity of your organization’s cloud increases. The right cloud management tool should help your organization deliver services with speed and agility while maintaining complete control of the IT environment.
The Need for Increased Visibility
The native cloud management admin console provided by AWS allows organizations to manage and configure infrastructure. But organizations can easily lose visibility when dealing with complex workloads.
If AWS native tools are not meeting your organization’s visibility needs, it’s time to consider a third-party cloud management platform. Such a tool can give your organization near-instant visibility into your infrastructure. Also, you get continuous notifications about the status of your deployments, no matter the complexity, along with valuable context on the impact of changes to your deployments .
Projected Size of AWS Deployment
It’s important to consider the size of your organization’s AWS deployment. A larger and more complex deployment will require the sophisticated cost optimization features of a third-party tool. It will also justify the tool's cost since it's likely to pay for itself from the savings achieved.
Before investing in a third-party tool, it is important to evaluate whether the tool will suffice for your deployment. In this regard, organizations should perform an ROI analysis to justify spending money on the tool.
Make sure to consider the savings realized from cost optimization when considering a third-party tool, such as nOps. If the balance tips toward the third-party tool, conduct a more extensive ROI analysis to inform your final decision.
Support of Standards, Regulations & Industry Best Practices
Look for support of industry and cloud best practices when considering cloud management platforms. For example, the AWS Well-Architected Framework is a collection of cloud best practices compiled by AWS, and provides the basis for cost and other optimization trade-offs.
The cloud significantly complicates compliance with privacy, information security, process, and audit regulations, such as GDPR, SOC 2, and others. While regulatory compliance is often tangential to cost management, it still affects the decision to use third-party cloud management tools.
Third-party AWS cloud management platforms often come with sophisticated usage reports that can help with formal IT audit processes. These reports feed data privacy, user access, information security, and cost audits. Organizations operating in highly regulated industries often find third-party tools enable automation and provide additional audit trails that facilitate regulatory reporting.
Overall Approach to Software Vendors
Organizations must address the following vendor-related questions before investing in a third-party AWS cloud management tool:
- Will your organization’s use of AWS grow over time?
- Will your organization add non-AWS tools and services? If so, it’s important to choose a vendor that can help sort out issues caused by both AWS and third-party integrations.
- Does your organization prefer working with smaller, responsive providers? Such a vendor might provide more immediate and responsive technical support.
Static Reports vs. Continuous Insights
Static reports generated by cloud management tools often leave organizations in limbo. This is because they have to make decisions with out-of-date information and have a limited view of the bigger picture. Also, analyzing static reports can be time-consuming and often requires manual manipulation, compilation, and data reformatting from multiple sources.
A CMP that provides continuous insights allows for a more dynamic cloud infrastructure. You get real-time insights into your organization’s AWS infrastructure. These insights can help with cost optimization, reliability, security, operational excellence, and performance efficiency.
AWS infrastructure anomalies can derail your operations. Troubleshooting these issues can be a problem without the right tools at hand. An AWS cloud management platform with root-cause analysis capabilities can help find sources of unexpected costs and noncompliance issues.
AWS cloud management tools, such as nOps, can help your fast-paced organization build, manage, and run well-architected AWS environments. nOps helps keep your infrastructure secure, efficient, cost-optimized, reliable, and operationally excellent through continuous compliance with well-architected best practices.