If anything, 2020 has been the year in which offline businesses were forced to accelerate or completely redesign their online strategy. When companies go digital, they turn to the cloud. But tracking cloud expenditures and keeping costs at bay can be tricky. Nebula’s CTO Andre Witte knows all about it and walks us through the current and upcoming developments.
Cloud expenditure in Europe
Nebula is a cloud-focused company with a range of SaaS-products designed to help companies accelerate their digital transformation, aiding app modernisation and empowering IT teams to have better control over their technology environment spend, says Nebula CTO Andre Witte. “Cost is the first thing you want control over.” Nebula offers several tools to monitor cloud expenses and thus prevent ‘bill shock’ from unexpected peak usage.
Witte recently moved to Amsterdam to oversee the South African company’s expansion to Europe. The companies’ experience in the southern hemisphere should work in its advantage when rolling out in Europe, says Witte. “We have experience with mobile data being very expensive in South Africa. So you encounter situations where you have unexpected bursts of usage. This is how you and you end up with a shocking bill. One which you only know about two or three days later, when it’s too late to do anything about it.”
“Add to that the complexity that comes with the different currencies”, continues Witte. “Changing everything from dollars to rand is tricky. Here in the European market, we see the same happening to the cloud.”
‘The risk of bill shock’
Because accurately managing the cloud is not a simple exercise, knows Witte. “We notice European companies run into similar situations we recognise from South Africa, where bill shock is a real risk. The way we work with mobile data back home translates very well to the cloud here. That is something European companies can take advantage of straight away.”
For Nebula, 2020 is an interesting time to expand overseas. Witte: “We noticed a shift in budget funds moving from cloud infrastructure migrations to app modernisation and more digital projects which were leveraging the cloud. This introduces a lot of complexity in cost management as, in general, PaaS cost and consumption forecasting and tracking are a lot more complex than infrastructure.”
COVID and the rush to the cloud
The way COVID-19 shut down society has been a big gamechanger. Witte saw the usage of cloud components with Nebula’s clients increase tenfold. With offline businesses now moving online, many are facing the choice whether they buy their own servers, or move to host their apps in the cloud. The latter being the preferred option for many.
It does offer the challenge of keeping track of the expenses of cloud usage. Witte: “Providers are giving you more visibility in cloud costs, the billing is more transparent. But the products themselves are now more complex. Seeing 100,000 lines of data, you have to know what to look for.”
To get an accurate prediction on the costs of cloud usage, Witte says you have to be a cloud solution architect. “You need to have a degree on just that one thing. Turning on one feature can have a massive impact. CFOs are looking at the bills, while architects know more about the infrastructure and where the costs come from.”
Cloud usage and expenditure trends
To get up European enterprises up to speed with cloud usage and expenditure trends, Witte hosts a webinar courtesy of Nebula. one of the major trends he’ll discuss is training. “Understanding how cloud resources are deployed and used; knowing how they work. It allows you to design or use the different components to be more effective. That trend is going back to retraining your team.”
Another vital trend Witte spots are the opportunity for many companies to move to smaller Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). “Microsoft announced it would offer perpetual licenses for its cloud services. That’s a big announcement.” Primarily, explains Witte, because these flexible ‘licensing’ programs are based on monthly subscriptions.
“Typically you’d buy licenses for Microsoft software yearly and from larger Resellers, not from smaller CSPs. With these perpetual licenses, clients can pay monthly and change or adjust it monthly. So CSPs that are typically overlooked by enterprises, will now come into focus. It’s a big gamechanger.”
Webinar: ‘Essentials of cloud spend management in 2021’
For new and experienced users of the enterprise cloud, Andre Witte will host the webinar on ‘the essentials of cloud spend management in 2021’. Together with Nebula’s Client Success Executive Fred Taljaard he’ll talk in-depth and offer more insights on cloud expenditure and usage. The webinar takes place on December 10th, 4:30 PM (CET). Click here for more information and to register.