Showback Reporting Demystifies Enterprise Cloud Spending

As Cloud spending continues to increase for most enterprise organizations, being able to properly attribute overall spending to specific projects and teams is required to justify ongoing spending.  While public cloud providers already provide monthly, usage-based billing for their services, private cloud platforms often lack a similar level of usage tracking and reporting.  However, there are several advantages for enterprises to adopt usage-based reporting for their private cloud services:

  • First, showback reporting allows enterprises to rein-in infrastructure spending by showing the actual cost of providing the underlying service to the application teams who will consume it. This, in turn, allows the application teams to make appropriate choices in what and how much they use since they can see the actual usage-costs associated with their choices. As with public cloud services, they see the bottom line of their choices each month in the showback report.
  • Second, showback reporting provides a way to finance future capacity expansion of all private cloud services by accurately assigning usage to each project. This gives your finance team the information it needs to hold-back or redirect funds from project accounts and provide them to the infrastructure team for replacing used capacity. This is a funding model that asks the applications and projects using the private cloud services to pay for replacing the capacity they use.
  • Third, showback reporting can align both public and private cloud spending models. Since public cloud providers like AWS and Azure already use usage-based reporting to collect their fees each month, the use of showback reporting for private cloud services aligns to the same model and allows a single organization to provide and pay for all cloud services, public or private. This allows application teams to access their infrastructure services through a common framework and even to directly see the cost differences between the various public and private cloud services. It also allows the cloud team to help optimize public cloud spending since all of the reporting goes through their showback engine.

Any one of these reasons should be sufficient motivation to deploy a showback reporting engine within your enterprise, and doing so is not altogether difficult. Though there are no off-the-shelf solutions that currently fit most enterprise needs, creating an overall showback engine using a handful of open-source and vendor-supplied products is fairly straightforward. Major components of a showback engine include usage data collection and storage, usage data rating, and showback reporting and analysis.

At IBB, our Cloud and Software Transformation group has real-world experience building showback reporting for a number of companies, and covering technologies from OpenStack to Mesos to VMWare. Let us know how we can help you.

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