re:Invent 2022: General takeaways on FinOps & GreenOps

12/12/2022 Benjamin van der Maas

Early this month the global cloud community came together in Las Vegas to rethink what is possible in the world of cloud computing during re:Invent 2022. Here’s what we took away on happening in the world of AWS FinOps and GreenOps:

FinOps: Consolidated tooling space

While there were no straightforward announcements done by AWS on the FinOps front, a lot of things were said and shown during the sessions. While we can’t make all of it publicly known yet, it is clear that AWS is consolidating their tooling space, which consists of three parts: Billing, Analysis and Visualization.

  • Billing: AWS is strengthening the Billing Conductor they released earlier this year and releasing some features that were previously only available to customers through third-party tooling. The fact that they can push CURs for specific billing groups natively (though the cost remains steep), is interesting because it feeds nicely into their visualization tooling.
  • Analysis: Cost Explorer had received a visual update just before re:Invent, but other than that no real announcements were made. We talked to some people about the checkboxes, and the general sense is that grouping by multiple layers will come out soon, making Cost Explorer even stronger in comparison to the current version.
  • Visualization: the CUDOS or Cloud Intelligence Dashboards were omnipresent at re:Invent, and AWS is really investing in the tool. The fact that customers can use the separate CUR files of the AWS Billing Conductor to create different dashboards for different subsets of accounts is powerful. If this were to become a service or something that you don’t have to build and maintain yourself, it could really rival some of the existing tooling out there.

Right now these three parts are developed by three teams and not really coupled together. They function differently, are priced and billed differently and require quite a lot of custom development to get to a level where third party tools are out of the box. The fact that you can’t carry over billing groups into a restrictive view in Cost Explorer or automate reporting from a Cost Explorer report (the sending of the report that is), are some basic functions that we still miss. Still, AWS is investing in the native tools and investing properly, with attention to feedback from the user community. This is great to see!

GreenOps: Still a long road ahead

On the sustainability front, it was nice to hear AWS pledge on water positivity by 2030. But there is still much work to be done to make the cloud greener. The current reporting on carbon emissions is not up to standard yet, and it does not integrate with for example a QuickSight dashboard or other dashboarding tools. A discussion on what information is really relevant concerning sustainable resource efficiency is also necessary. Why don’t we start looking at the energy consumption of AWS resources? If AWS data centers are truly carbon neutral by 2025, is this not something we should start incorporating in our logged metrics?

While re:Invent gave us a great feeling in terms of FinOps and AWS’s awareness of cost analysis and cost optimization tools, GreenOps seems like it has yet to earn a serious seat at the table aside from having a reporting tool available and some key pledges to improve their ecological footprint.

What did you take away from re:Invent, or what changes in the world of cloud computing would you like to see? Together we can build a sustainable future!




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