The CloudHealth blog—“The Daily Cloud”—is designed to provide relevant, helpful, and enjoyable content to help enable our readers’ success along their cloud journey. We create a lot of content for The Daily Cloud, with contributors from across the public cloud community. In effect, our blog can be seen as a repository for analysis on how the biggest developments in the cloud world affect the organizations that increasingly rely on the cloud to support their strategic decisions.
As 2020 comes to a close, we want to take the opportunity to look back at what we’ve written this year, and more importantly, what’s resonated most with the cloud community.
The Daily Cloud’s top 10 most popular articles of 2020
1. One Year After AWS Savings Plans: What Have We Learned?
In November 2019, AWS rolled out its new discount program—AWS Savings Plans—giving cloud managers a new option to save money by making an advanced financial commitment for one or three years. So, after a year of working with AWS Savings Plans, what have we learned? This article shares our three key takeaways from our experiences with thousands of customers who buy discounts from AWS.
Over the last year, we’ve also created several other resources to help customers understand the benefits of Savings Plans, how they work, what they cost, and how to best leverage them with their workloads:
- The Ultimate Guide to AWS Savings Plans
- AWS Savings Plans vs. Reserved Instances: Are RIs Dead?
- A Look at Reserved Instance and AWS Savings Plans Pricing
- Cloud Computing Cost Comparison with AWS Savings Plans Included
- Amortization by Usage: The Only Right Way to Amortize AWS Reserved Instances and Savings Plans Costs
2. How to Prevent Your Cloud Finances From Sinking You During Economic Turbulence
COVID-19 has changed—and will continue to change—how much of the world operates, impacting the lives of people all over the world and forcing organizations to make changes to business operations just to stay afloat.
In this article, we provide an action plan and best practices for businesses to rise above economic turbulence with a cloud financial management practice. Learn more here.
And if you’re looking for additional insights into the economic effects of COVID-19, along with resources to help your organization adapt, see our content below:
- How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Impacted Cloud Spend Globally
- Key Findings From Our 2020 Cloud Management Maturity Assessment
- A Volatile World Requires a New Approach to Cloud Management
- How Toast Saved $50,000 During COVID-19 Without Impacting Business Performance
3. S3 Cost: Amazon Cloud Storage Costs Explained
Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) is the world's most popular cloud object storage solution due to its durability, availability, and scalability. So it’s no surprise that this was one of our most popular articles.
Contrary to the name Simple Storage Service, S3 cost calculations are far from simple. In this article, we explain what makes pricing so complex and what you can do about it. We’ve also recently updated this article with five frequently asked questions (and answers) about Amazon S3. Learn more here.
In addition to S3, we’ve created several other resources to help cloud customers understand, manage, and optimize their cloud costs. Check them out below:
- The Ultimate Guide to Amazon Cloud Storage Pricing
- Understanding Elastic IP Pricing on AWS
- Common Culprits of Unexpected AWS, Azure, and GCP Service Cost Spikes
- Reviewing Cloud Costs From An Engineering Director’s Perspective
- AWS vs Azure vs GCP: Discounts Commitments, and Reservations
4. Managing Cloud Costs with Kubernetes: 5 Questions You Should Be Asking
Kubernetes has quickly emerged as one of the leading cloud technologies—and for good reason. Kubernetes makes it possible to deploy modern applications that are scalable, modular, and fault-tolerant.
With all the benefits of Kubernetes, there are also challenges. As more and more teams start to adopt containers and Kubernetes to develop and deliver their applications, your landscape can quickly become crowded and fragmented.
The CloudHealth team has created several resources to help customers who are leveraging Kubernetes or container environments (or thinking about taking that step) get the most out of their investment. A good place to start is with our article that covers five questions your cloud management team should be asking in order to understand, align, and report on Kubernetes performance and costs.
Additional resources we suggest reading include:
- Managing Cloud Costs with Kubernetes: 5 Best Practices to Optimize Your Kubernetes Cloud Costs
- Kubernetes Cost Optimization: How to Rebalance Fragmented Kubernetes Clusters to Reduce Cloud Costs
- Managing Multi-Cloud Kubernetes to Reduce Cloud Spend
- Serverless Computing: Identify Candidates for Serverless Architectures Within Your Kubernetes Clusters
5. The Key to a Meaningful Cloud Cost Analysis is a Global Tagging Policy
If you’ve been in a position where it’s virtually impossible to extract meaningful data from a cloud cost analysis, you’ve probably wondered how much easier it would be if every user tagged resources in the same way.
This article explains the challenges with tagging, especially in hybrid and multi-cloud environments, and best practices to develop and enforce a global tagging policy that enables meaningful cloud cost analysis.
We also recommend checking out these articles for additional tagging tips and best practices:
- Cloud Cost Allocation Best Practices: Tags vs Resources
- Multi-Cloud Tagging Best Practices
- Creating Multi-Cloud Tagging Strategies
6. Azure vs. AWS Comparison: Is Azure Really Catching Up?
When comparing the leading cloud providers in terms of market share, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has consistently led the pack, followed by Microsoft Azure. Is that still the case today? Given that this article made it into our top 10 most viewed articles from 2020, it’s clear that this is a popular question.
We’re not giving away any spoilers here! See our article to learn more, as we dive into the cloud market landscape, conduct an AWS vs Azure comparison, and provide key considerations when it comes to your decisions in the cloud.
And if you’re looking for more cloud service provider comparisons, the team at CloudHealth has created several resources to help you compare services across security, cost management, containers, and more:
- Comparing Services for the Big Three Cloud Providers
- Comparing Security Across the Three Main Cloud Providers
- Cloud Services Terminology Guide: Comparing AWS vs Azure vs GCP
- AWS vs Azure vs GCP: Discounts Commitments, and Reservations
- Comparing Cloud Container Services Across AWS, Azure, and GCP
7. Key Takeaways from The Forrester Wave™: Cloud Cost Management and Optimization Report
Earlier this year, Forrester released The Forrester Wave™: Cloud Cost Management and Optimization, Q4 2020 report. If you’re not familiar, The Forrester Wave™ is a guide created to help buyers evaluate a shortlist of vendors in order to make the right purchasing decisions for their business.
Of the vendors selected in this year’s Cloud Cost Management and Optimization report, we’re excited to share that CloudHealth by VMware was named a Leader!
In this article, we take you through the vendor requirements, evaluation criteria, and key takeaways for cloud financial management and FinOps professionals.
CloudHealth was featured in several other analyst reports throughout 2020, including The Forrester Wave™: Hybrid Cloud Management, Q4 2020 and Omdia Universe: Selecting a Hybrid and Multicloud Management Solution, 2020-21. See them all in our resource center here.
8. How CloudHealth Differs from AWS and Azure Native Tools
Public cloud adoption—and more specifically multi-cloud adoption—is ramping up as enterprises seek improved agility, faster time to market, and decreased risk. Conversely, many businesses unexpectedly discover that their environment is multi-cloud, and must then face the challenge of retrofitting a strategy that accommodates multiple public clouds.
As a result, there’s an increasing need for enterprises to leverage a cloud management platform to optimize, secure, and govern their public cloud or multi-cloud infrastructure. In this article, we break down the differences between cloud service providers’ native tools and CloudHealth, including visibility, ease-of-use, and reporting, as well as security, financial, operations, and governance management capabilities. Learn more here.
For more resources comparing cloud management solutions, see our content below:
- The Cloud Management Platform Buyer's Guide
- Let’s Talk About Cloud Agnostic vs. Cloud Native
- You Can’t Afford Free: Things to Consider Before DIY Cloud Cost and Financial Management
- Cloud Service Management: Making the Right Choice
9. Cloud KPIs You Need to Measure Success
To monitor success, the most successful organizations benchmark and track their progress at each stage of the cloud maturity model. We wrote this article to help identify the key cloud management metrics you should be measuring across cloud visibility, optimization, governance, automation, and business integration.
If you’re looking for more metrics and best practices specifically around cloud cost optimization, we recommend the following:
- How to Set Effective Cloud Cost Management KPIs
- Top 5 KPIs For Measuring Success With AWS Savings Plans
- Why Cloud Cost KPIs are Still Important in Today’s Automated World
10. You Need a Cloud Center of Excellence Now More Than Ever
Given the events of 2020, old ways of responding to financial and market crises just don’t apply. Businesses are reducing, shifting, or even increasing their cloud spend, and since every decision weighs heavily, organizations need a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) now more than ever.
A CCoE is a cross-functional team tasked with supporting and governing the execution of an organization's cloud strategy. The team facilitates collaboration and adoption of best practices across a range of disciplines—primarily operations, finance, security, engineering, and enterprise architecture. Our article explains the challenges organization’s face and reasons why a CCoE is critical for achieving success in the cloud. Learn more here.
We also recommend the following resources that explain how to establish a CCoE, including details on real customer examples:
- The Next Generation of Cloud Management Starts with a Cloud Center of Excellence
- How The Financial Times Accelerates Digital Transformation with a Cloud Center of Excellence
- What are the Three Key Areas of Excellence for a Cloud Center of Excellence
- 3 Steps to Establish an Effective Cloud Center of Excellence
- The Role of Engineering Within the Cloud Center of Excellence
We hope this list was helpful for you. If you’re looking for even more resources, there’s plenty more articles to discover on our blog, categorized by what’s important to you—optimization tips, cloud financial management, cloud comparisons, success stories, cloud security, and more.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Take our five-minute survey to receive a detailed cloud management checklist, which shows your results compared to other survey respondents and specific recommendations to help you take the next steps in your cloud maturity journey. Get started today!