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The Importance of Effective Container Management

The Importance of Effective Container Management

Many organizations have questions about containers, how to use them, how to track costs and how to control those costs. Migration and containerization are just the start to reaping cloud benefits. A quick review of the issues around containers can help set you on the path to optimizing costs while unleashing your full potential.

What are Containers?

Containers are a common option for deploying and managing software in the cloud. They are rapidly becoming a key part of cloud strategy for many organizations. Containers are used to abstract applications from the physical environment in which they are running. A container packages all dependencies related to a software component and runs them in an isolated environment. That eases management headaches and makes it easier to move workloads if required.

Why are Containers an Important Consideration?

Containers are fast becoming a crucial element of many successful cloud projects. Lightweight and ready for business in minutes, they give developers the speed, agility and the ability to innovate faster – they make cloud promises come true. Containers also provide the portability which is required to run true multi-cloud environments. Figures from Turbonomic 2022 State of Multicloud report show 65% of organizations believe containerization will play a strategic role within 18 months, up from 61% in 2021.

Container Costs are ... Cloudy:

Traditional FinOps approaches to allocating costs of resources and charging them back to the right department struggle to cope with containerized workloads. This is significant because figures from the FinOps Foundation reveal that containers account for about 25% of corporate cloud spending. Teams share resources without transparent prices attached to workloads, while organizations increasingly run resources on disparate machine types and even across multiple cloud providers. Measuring costs in Kubernetes/container environments can be complex. For many IT teams the first hurdle is getting the information required to estimate costs and likely increases.

The 2022 FinOps Foundation survey found accurate forecasting of spending was the second most often cited pain point. The benefit of containers, and especially Kubernetes is that applications and their resource needs are dynamic – but this almost instant scalability means pricing needs to be done in real time too, not as a one-off procedure. The research carried out by the FinOps Foundation reveals the top challenges included accurate reporting of container costs, which is an issue for 30% of those questioned. Establishing and maintaining accurate metadata impacts 24% of the Foundation’s respondents, leading to issues of fair and accurate distribution of costs to different departments. The table below shows the main container related challenges respondents faced…

FinOps - Main Container
Main Container, source: FinOps Foundation, 2022 FinOps Foundation survey

What is the Barrier to Visibility?

Getting clear data on container utilization (and therefore on costs) is difficult. The problem often lies in how workloads were first migrated to the cloud and how containers were set up without consideration for tracking and assigning costs. This can make it very difficult to extract meaningful Information. Developers tend not to consider cost implications and visibility but focus on performance and other factors. Tagging and labelling are important to help identify costs, but it takes real expertise to make it work in a containerized world. Getting that data without increasing overhead costs is another challenge. Spending a dollar to save a penny will not do.

This is a new area for teams to deal with. Flexera’s State of Cloud report found a lack of internal expertise was a challenge to some degree for 81% of those surveyed. Finding the right partner to work with can give you access to the skills required to make cloud and containers really pay off.

Why Does this Matter?

Organizations need to ensure they have consistent and accurate visibility across all workloads. That means you can charge the right departments the right amount. But it also helps to counter a frequent cloud challenge - understanding why costs are growing. And just getting that data will help departments make better decisions and focus more on making economical use of their resources. Showing that data will also help developers and systems engineers make more cost-effective decisions earlier in the development process.

Finally, without that information you are essentially flying blind when it comes to working with your provider. If you need to negotiate with your existing cloud provider, or to accurately assess the cost savings from moving to another provider then you need these numbers at your fingertips.

Key Considerations

FinOps provides both the technology and the cultural shift required to gain visibility and control of your container costs. It is important that an organization builds an effective framework for container management – from the labelling of containers that identify workloads and ownership – to effective reporting that satisfies the requirements of the varied stakeholders across an organization. It requires a FinOps team to work together across an organization to put financial control and predictability at the center of software design and implementation.

Our certified experts are here to help

SoftwareONE can help you define your container strategy to ensure you are able to successfully manage them and related costs. Whatever your current stage of FinOps maturity, we can provide the intelligence you need to make the right data driven decisions and bake in the right financial approach from the very start of your technical strategy. That means you will always get the best value from your cloud investment and have the insights you need to inform your multi-cloud journey, or to enhance your existing infrastructure as your needs evolve.

The Importance of Effective Container Management

Containerization is fast becoming a common option for deploying and managing software and a key part of cloud strategy for many organizations. We review the key considerations of containerization and why effective management will set you on the path to cost optimization and unleashing your full potential through FinOps.

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  • FinOps
  • Cloud, Cloud Spend Management, Cloud Financial Management, Container

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