In the last weeks, I published a series of 5 articles related to FinOps for cloud-deployed SAP environments:
- first, I introduced the concepts of FinOps and expand why it’s relevant for SAP systems.
- next, I talked about FinOps how-to from different, non-technical perspectives, focusing on including your SAP Basis team in this practise.
- one week later, I switched gears and explained technical cloud components that are relevant to SAP and should be considered from cost optimization standpoint.
- finally, I went deep into a list of actions aiming to implement FinOps-related techniques for SAP systems.
- and even proposed some more aggressive, cloud-native solutions for lower-end systems to squeeze the last 20%.
That’s already a lot, but there is definitely a lot more to learn about on your FinOps journey. That’s why I’d like to explain a few more concepts and point you to a number of additional materials that deal with this exciting topic.
First of all, I’d like you to be mindful when comparing on-premises vs cloud costs. Looking at a unit price of a VM or other resource is HUGE oversimplification which ignores a ton of hidden costs like cooling, energy bills, renting data center space and others. It may be obvious to you, but since it’s not obvious to everyone dealing with cloud resources, feel free to launch a personal crusade to explain it to anyone who’d listen :).
You might expect some resistance, mostly due to another misconception that goes like this: “if public cloud provides a lot of managed services where it’s the cloud provider who is responsible for delivering and managing them, I might become redundant as soon as we migrate our workloads”. The truth is that public cloud changes the demand for IT staff, but it does so by offloading repeatable, daunting tasks that you don’t enjoy doing anyway and lets you take your career to the next level by gaining new skills and doing more interesting, challenging tasks than previously. With the right mindset, that’s more of an opportunity rather than a threat.
The other misconception I’m seeing is about putting an equal sign on public cloud and Opex billing model. Despite cloud changed the default charging model from Capex to Opex, CFOs are often motivated to keep the operating expenditures low. This is where the Opex approach might make it harder to create a valid business case to migrate SAP workloads to GCP (or any other public cloud). However, some of the methods I’ve explained here allow customers to make decisions resulting in following Capex model even when utilising cloud resources. Whenever a Committed Use Discount is bought or a Sole-tenant machine is reserved (or both happen at the same time: a CUD is bought for a Sole-Tenant), that part of your cloud resources (often contributing of 60%+ costs for SAP workloads) can be considered as a Capex-compatible solution. With some prepayment options, monthly GCP bills can be managed using Capex-like approach if required.
I tried to make this a theme in all of the articles, but let me underline it again: learning is the key to increase the overall understanding and adoption of FinOps across your organisation. The bigger an organisation is, the broader spectrum of eduction should it offer, ranging from on-demand, instructor-led to hands-on trainings and workshops. There should be a common goal of having everyone understand the “why” and (to some extent) “how” of the FinOps principles. Some organisations try to build a solid education / CoE team in house, while others reach out to specialised education companies which can deliver targeted trainings using a network of trainers certified in specific areas. Regardless what’s your choice, consistency and broad, diverse audience are the keys to upskilling your employees.
But it’s not only learning! It’s also about building some internal, company-specific FimOps resources. Having a FinOps portal and a knowledge base with common how-to guides and lessons leared over time will be useful as the practice matures. It’s recommended to build a community space and set up communication channels for everyone interested. As with any speciality, you will identify FinOps champions, who tend to contribute to cost optimization more than others. Be sure to make use of them – they’re the perfect candidates to spread the knowledge (and enthusiasm!) and attend different internal events, where they might give lectures on the outcomes of cost optimisation actions.
Finally, let me post some links to external resources which I found useful:
- FinOps Foundation page is the go-to place for every FinOps enthusiast!
- If you’d like to dive a bit deeper into GCP cost optimization techniques, check out this Google whitepaper.
- You’re only getting started with FinOps in GCP and would like to get a holistic overview of this practise? Why don’t you start here?
- If you have other, non-SAP workloads you’d like to cost optimise, make sure to have a look at this whitepaper, released by Google.
- In case you prefer a well-structured online courses than whitepapers, Coursera might have just the thing you need.
- Make sure you’re following those best practices for optimizing GCP costs.
- If you’re a developer or administrator dealing with GKE clusters, BigQuery datasets and other resources, see what you should be mainly looking at from cost perspective.
- Want to know why we’re asking the wrong questions with respect to FinOps? Find out here.
- You prefer to listen than read? No problem: tune in to this cost-optimisation episode and this interview with Joe Daly from FinOps Foundation on Google Cloud Platform Podcast, where you’ll find a ton of other interesting interviews.
- If you’d like a printed copy of a book about cloud cost management, Cloud FinOps book might be your best option. Also, Cloud Strategy is a decent choice if you’re planning a cost-effective cloud migration project.
I might update this list with time, but other than that, we’ve reached the end of “FinOps for SAP” series and I’d like to congratulate you if you’ve stayed with me until this point. Armed with this knowledge you’re ready to explore FinOps world further on your own and start a successful career in this area. From my perspective, FinOps will be a fast evolving and useful specialisation as more and more workloads are being migrated to public cloud, often following a complex, multi-cloud approach. If only that sound interesting to you, you might be one of the early FinOps adopters and pioneers in this area!
As always, feel free to contact me for any GCP / SAP / FinOps / learning topics, or a combination of those 😉. Plus, if you’d like to know more about those areas, why don’y you propose a topic for next article?