1.Understanding How The Cloud Works
The cloud revolutionized human life. Yet, there’s an enormous gulf between how much we use the cloud and how much we understand about the cloud.
The resources below will explain where the cloud came from, detail how the cloud works, and introduce basic concepts around cloud architecture and management.
The evolution of the cloud
Cloud architecture and scalability
- What Is Cloud Architecture? A Guide To Cost-Efficient Design
- What Is Cloud Scalability? 4 Benefits For Every Organization
- What Is Cloud Elasticity? (+How Does It Affect Cloud Spend?)
- Cloud Agnostic: What Does It Really Mean And Why Do You Need It?
- Horizontal Vs. Vertical Scaling: How Do They Compare?
General cloud monitoring and management
Migrating to the cloud
2.Cloud Cost Optimization And Management
A disconnect between the people who buy cloud resources (engineers) and the people who pay for cloud resources (finance professionals) led to an abundance of wasteful spending in the cloud — and, in turn, the advent of cloud cost optimization strategies and techniques.
Reducing how much you spend in the cloud is more than just buying better — it’s also about building better. This section will cover the basics of cloud cost optimization, how it’s evolving, and why a traditional cost optimization approach isn’t enough for modern companies operating in the cloud.
Start here: The Modern Guide To Managing Cloud Costs
The basics of cloud cost optimization
- Why Traditional Cloud Cost Optimization Isn’t Enough
- What Is Cloud Cost Optimization? 15+ Best Practices
- Cloud Financial Management 101: The Definitive Guide
- What Is AWS Cost Management? A Guide To Managing Costs
- What Is Cloud TCO? (Total Cost of Ownership)
- The Simple Formula For Managing Cloud Cost
- What Can Energy Efficiency Teach Us About Cloud Cost Management?
Ways to immediately reduce your cloud spend
- 5 Ways To Find Immediate Cloud Cost Savings Opportunities
- The Definitive Guide To Reduce Your AWS Bill (Step-By-Step)
- Why Your Cloud Costs Are So High (+ 3 Quick Tips To Reduce Spend)
- 7 Effective Ways To Reduce Cloud Waste
- 10 Cloud Cost Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making
- 10 AWS Cost Reduction Strategies To Implement ASAP
Developing a cloud cost strategy
- 4 Signs Your Cloud Cost Strategy Isn’t Working (And How To Fix It)
- How To Conduct A Cloud Cost Analysis: A Step-By-Step Framework
- The 10-Step Framework To Developing A Cloud Cost Strategy
- The Complete Cloud Operations Guide (+5 Best Practices)
- How To Create A Cloud Center Of Excellence (CCOE)
- 12 Cloud Cost Optimization Examples For Your Cost Journey
Monitoring and tracking cloud spend
Improving efficiency in the cloud
Traditional cost optimization/rate optimization/ Committed-use
Specialized cost optimization
3.An Introduction To FinOps Practices
If you’re at all familiar with cloud cost challenges, you might have heard of FinOps — short for “Financial Operations,” and concerned with helping companies maximize the return on investment of every cloud dollar they spend.
How can you get started creating an effective FinOps program? The resources below will help you better understand the evolution of FinOps — and how you can implement and improve your own FinOps practice.
Start here: FinOps 101: An Intro To The Basics Of FinOps
The basics of FinOps
Implementing and improving your own FinOps practice
Staying up-to-date on the latest FinOps developments
4.Building A Cost-Conscious Engineering Culture
Every engineering decision is a buying decision. Yet, engineers often lack the cost visibility needed to understand exactly how their architectural decisions impact their organization’s spending in the cloud.
Traditional cost optimization focuses on buying better (i.e., maximizing discounts, utilizing Savings Plans, buying Reserved Instances, etc.). But this approach isn’t enough. You also need to build better. By giving engineers better cost visibility and fostering an engineering culture that considers costs, you can build more cost-efficiently (i.e., profitably) in the cloud.
CloudZero calls this “Engineering-Led Optimization.” This section covers all the finer points of Engineering-Led Optimization — and how you can foster a cost-conscious engineering culture.
- Reduce Cloud Spend With Engineering-Led Optimization — Not Just Discount Hunting
- Why Cost Optimization Should Be More Like Pulling Levers, Not Using Scissors
- How We Used CloudZero To Find $1.7M Of Annualized Cloud Savings
- Preventing A $70K Cost Spike In 4 Clicks — And Protecting Our Profit (Video)
- 4 Low-Effort Tactics That Saved CloudZero Users Over $2M
Cost metrics engineering should monitor
- The Best Engineering OKRs: 5 Real Examples That Get Results
- The 10 Top Engineering Metrics To Start Following In 2022
5.Cloud Costs For SaaS And Tech Finance Teams
The first stage for SaaS startups isn’t always a metrical one. Early in the life of a startup, the most important thing is finding product-market fit — developing a product that people love, and getting it in front of as many people as possible.
But often, companies make dire cost sacrifices in search of product-market fit. Eventually, all SaaS companies need to start prioritizing key metrics, like cost of goods sold (COGS), the Rule of 40, gross margin, and more, to ensure healthy and sustainable scaling.
Here, read about all these and more — and put yourself on a track to scalable, sustainable innovation.
Understanding COGS for SaaS
Improving SaaS profit margins
- What Is The Rule Of 40 For SaaS? Here’s How To Calculate It
- The Simple Formula To Calculate SaaS Gross Margin
- 12 SaaS Renewal Best Practices To Ensure Profitability
- How To Calculate Margin Analysis For SaaS (And Increase Profitability)
- 3 Must-Use Strategies To Make Better SaaS Pricing Decisions
- Feature-Based Pricing: A Guide To Per Feature Pricing in SaaS
- How To Ensure Healthy SaaS Metrics As Your Cloud Costs Grow
- How To Calculate Customer Retention Cost: The Hidden SaaS Metric
Surviving tech slowdowns
Cloud costs for FP&A
- 4 Ways FP&A Can Partner Successfully With Engineering
- 6 Strategic Recommendations FP&A Can Make With Cloud Cost Intelligence
- How FP&A Teams Can Tame Cloud Costs: 4 KPIs For Success
- Good Vs. Bad FP&A: 5 FP&A Best Practices You Should Be Using
- 3 Improvements Finance Teams Can Make To Their FP&A Process
- 15 Best FP&A Software Tools To Use ASAP
6.Budgeting And Forecasting In The Cloud
For SaaS and tech companies, the cloud plays a significant role in product creation and delivery.
Yet, this can create a scenario ripe for conflict: Engineers make important decisions about features and functionality without knowing how those decisions will impact spending — and finance continuously gets surprised by seemingly exorbitant cloud bills.
Setting a cloud budget is the obvious solution, but oftentimes budgeting is perceived as restrictive, or a drag on production.
This section will cover budgeting and forecasting in the cloud, how you can set budgets without stifling innovation, and how you can accurately forecast cloud spend.
7.Aligning Engineering, Finance, Product, And FinOps Teams
When companies fail to effectively manage their cloud costs, it’s usually not for a lack of trying. Really, they run into a common issue: Different organizations speak different languages, and much is lost in translation.
A cloud engineer has vastly different expertise than a CFO. So, when a CFO comes calling with a huge AWS invoice, asking engineers to cut their cloud spend by 20%, it’s rarely a productive discussion.
FinOps is all about getting different stakeholders on the same page. Here, read everything about this crucial layer of FinOps — and get all your cloud stakeholders speaking the same language.
Engineering and finance alignment
Engineering and product alignment
Engineering and finance alignment
8.Cloud Cost Allocation And Tagging
Cloud cost allocation involves identifying, aggregating, and allocating cloud spend among specific use cases within a company.
Most companies use tagging to allocate their spend. Yet, challenges like misspelled and mislabelled tags, shared resources, and untaggable spend make allocating costs this way nearly impossible.
This section will cover tagging in more detail, including the challenges tagging presents and ways to overcome them using more modern cost allocation methods.
Best practices for tagging success
Overcoming tagging challenges
- 8 Issues With AWS Tags And How To Overcome Them For Good
- How To Handle Untaggable And Untagged Cloud Spend
- 5 Things Dimensions Can Do That Regular Tagging Can’t
- Messy AWS Tags? Confidently Allocate Costs Without a Perfect Tagging Strategy
- 5 AWS Tagging Challenges — And How CloudZero Solves Them
- Managing Cloud Cost Integration During A Merger Or Acquisition
Code-driven cost allocation
Shared cost allocation
Viewing all your spend through a “single pane of glass”
9.Unit Cost For Cloud-Driven Companies
The term “unit economics” refers to the revenue and cost of a business measured on a per-unit basis. Often, they describe how a specific unit impacts a company’s costs, revenues, and other essential financial metrics.
For many tech and SaaS companies, this unit cost is cost per customer. But, unit cost can be any metric that matters to your business. This includes cost per feature, per product, per team, per cloud environment, or even specific units of value like cost per stream, per ride, per purchase, etc.
This section will cover unit costs in more detail, including why measuring unit costs are important and how you can use unit cost to reduce spending, build more efficiently, and become more profitable in the cloud.
Measuring cost per customer
10.Comparing Cloud Services And Pricing
Understanding all of the different cloud services available today is a daunting task. AWS alone has more than 200 services, and then there’s Azure and GCP, as well as more specialized services like Snowflake, MongoDB, Databricks, and others.
Choosing the right ones and understanding how those choices will affect your costs is crucial to laying a foundation for long-term cloud cost efficiency.
That’s why we created the guides below to help break down each service and cloud provider, give you a better understanding of how each service works (in layman’s terms), and highlight pricing in a simple and easy-to-understand way.
If you’re evaluating different AWS resources and pricing, try CloudZero Advisor, a free tool to compare the finer points of AWS services like EC2, RDS, ElastiCache, and more.
Evaluating the top cloud providers
Evaluating AWS services
An overview of different AWS services
AWS services pricing
Evaluating Azure services
Evaluating GCP services
11.Understanding Kubernetes And Gaining Better Cost Visibility
For cloud engineers, Kubernetes is a tool as powerful as it is difficult to understand — much less to optimize. Kubernetes offers unparalleled compute flexibility, spinning resources up and down on an as-needed basis, but migrating to Kubernetes causes most organizations to lose total cost visibility.
In this section, we offer a variety of Kubernetes resources. Check out the blogs, books, and guides below for everything from Kubernetes basics to the finer points of Kubernetes visibility and optimization.
Understanding the basics of Kubernetes
Improving your Kubernetes practices
Kubernetes vs. other containerization platforms
Getting better Kubernetes cost visibility
- Container Cost Management: Allocating Kubernetes Costs The Easy Way
- How To Unlock Granular Kubernetes Cost Metrics
- The Power Of Combining Kubernetes And Non-Kubernetes Cloud Spend
- How CloudZero Unlocks Kubernetes Costs Better Than Anyone
- 9 Kubernetes Cost Optimization Best Practices To Consider
- How Tracking Kubernetes Costs Over Time Reveals Important Context
12.Evaluating Cloud Cost Platforms
Most companies’ first foray into cloud cost management comes via their cloud provider’s native tool (e.g., AWS Cost Explorer, Microsoft Cost Management, GCP Cost Management). But there comes a point where these tools don’t provide the visibility or features you need to allocate 100% of your cloud spend or to understand exactly what’s driving your cloud costs.
The resources below will introduce you to more powerful solutions — and what to consider when evaluating different cloud cost platforms.
Building vs. buying a cloud cost solution
The best solutions available today
Guides to help you compare solutions
Comparing native cloud provider tools
CloudHealth versus other solutions
Comparing other cost tools available today