Automating Your FinOps Process the Right Way: A Step-by-Step Guide

Introduction:

As cloud adoption continues to grow, organizations are increasingly focusing on optimizing their cloud costs through FinOps practices. Automating your FinOps process can help streamline operations, reduce manual effort, and improve efficiency. However, it’s crucial to approach automation strategically to ensure success. In this blog post, we’ll explore the right way to automate your FinOps process, focusing on key principles and providing practical examples.

Principle 1: Keep the Human in the Loop

When automating your FinOps process, it’s essential to keep the human element involved. While automation can handle repetitive tasks and data analysis, human judgment and decision-making remain critical. Involve your FinOps team in defining the automation goals, reviewing the results, and making informed decisions based on the insights provided by the automated systems. Strike a balance between automation and human oversight to ensure accuracy and accountability.

Principle 2: Focus on Automating Parts, Not Everything at Once

Attempting to automate your entire FinOps process from day one can be overwhelming and lead to complications. Instead, adopt a phased approach by identifying specific parts of the process that can benefit from automation. Start with tasks that are time-consuming, error-prone, or require consistent data analysis. By automating these parts first, you can gain quick wins and build momentum for further automation efforts. Remember, automation is a journey, not a destination.

Principle 3: Integrate Automation with Your Existing Environment and Tools

When implementing automation, consider how it will integrate with your existing environment and tools. Ensure that your automated solutions can seamlessly exchange data and trigger actions within your current setup. For example, if you use a task management tool like Jira, explore ways to integrate your FinOps automation with Jira to streamline workflows and keep stakeholders informed.

Example: Automating Cost Optimization Detection and Notification

Let’s consider a specific example to illustrate how you can apply these principles in practice. Suppose you want to automate the detection of cost optimization opportunities and notify the relevant resource owners for approval before taking action. Here’s how you can approach it using Wiv:

  1. Automate the Detection:
    • Utilize Wiv’s built-in integrations with cloud cost monitoring tools to analyze your cloud usage and identify potential cost optimization opportunities.
    • Set up automated alerts or notifications within Wiv when specific cost thresholds are exceeded or when resources are underutilized.
  2. Notify Resource Owners:
    • Use Wiv’s workflow automation capabilities to create a process that automatically notifies the relevant resource owners when cost optimization opportunities are detected.
    • Customize the notification templates to include details about the identified opportunities and the potential cost savings.
  3. Request Approval:
    • Leverage Wiv’s approval mechanism to allow resource owners to review and approve the suggested optimizations directly within the platform.
    • Provide a user-friendly interface for owners to grant approval or request further information.
  4. Automate Actions and Integrate with Task Management:
    • Upon receiving approval, use Wiv’s automation features to execute the approved cost optimization actions.
    • Integrate Wiv with your task management tool, such as Jira, to automatically create tasks or tickets for tracking the progress and completion of the optimizations.
    • Configure Wiv to update stakeholders on the status of the optimizations through automated notifications or task updates.

By leveraging Wiv’s no-code/low-code capabilities, you can automate specific parts of your FinOps process while keeping the human in the loop for decision-making. The platform’s intuitive interface and pre-built integrations make it easier to implement automation without extensive engineering resources.

Benefits of Automating Your FinOps Process:

By automating your FinOps process, you can expect significant benefits, including:

  • Cost Savings: Automated cost optimization detection and actions help identify and eliminate unnecessary cloud expenses.
  • Improved Efficiency: Automating repetitive tasks and data analysis frees up valuable time for your FinOps team to focus on strategic initiatives.
  • Faster Decision-Making: Automated alerts and notifications enable quicker identification and resolution of cost optimization opportunities.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: Integrating automation with task management tools promotes better communication and collaboration among teams.

Conclusion:

Automating your FinOps process the right way involves keeping the human in the loop, focusing on automating parts incrementally, and integrating automation with your existing tools. By following these principles and leveraging platforms like Wiv, you can streamline your FinOps workflows, reduce costs, and improve operational efficiency. Start by assessing your current processes, identifying automation opportunities, and creating a phased implementation plan. With the right approach and tools, you can unlock the full potential of FinOps automation and drive long-term success in cloud cost optimization.

Navigating the Rising Tide of AWS Pricing: A FinOps Perspective on Extended Support Fees and Automation Strategies

Introduction

In recent months, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has introduced several pricing changes and constraints that have caught the attention of businesses relying on their cloud services. From disabling the ability for third-party vendors to move Savings Plans between organizations to limiting the sale of EC2 Reserved Instances on the marketplace, AWS has been making adjustments that impact cost management strategies. Additionally, AWS has introduced a new charge for attached Elastic IP v4 addresses, which can add up quickly for organizations with a large number of instances using Elastic IPs.

One of the most significant changes introduced by AWS is the Extended Support Fee, which applies to older versions of popular services like Amazon RDS for MySQL and PostgreSQL, as well as Amazon EKS. AWS will end standard support for both MySQL 5.7 on February 29, 2024 and PostgreSQL 11 on March 31, 2024. After this date, any database instances still running these versions will be automatically enrolled in Amazon RDS Extended Support. These fees will persist until the databases are upgraded to newer supported versions, such as MySQL 8.0 or PostgreSQL 15. To avoid these additional costs, it is strongly recommended to upgrade to a newer version before the enrollment dates.

This new fee has raised concerns among businesses, leading to the question: Is this a new trend in cloud pricing?

In this blog post, we’ll focus on the Extended Support Fee, exploring its impact on RDS and EKS pricing, and discuss how FinOps strategies and automation can help businesses navigate these changes effectively.

The Complexity of RDS Extended Support Pricing

The Extended Support Fee for RDS introduces a new layer of complexity to pricing calculations. The fee is based on a combination of factors, including the number of cores used by the database instance, the specific database engine (such as PostgreSQL), the version of the engine, and the duration of the extended support (1 year or 3 years).

To accurately assess the financial impact of the Extended Support Fee, users need to carefully review each RDS instance in their infrastructure. This process involves identifying the specific engine, version, instance type, and size, and then determining the number of cores to perform the cost calculation. For organizations with a large number of RDS instances, this task can quickly become overwhelming and time-consuming.

The Dramatic Increase in EKS Pricing

Another notable change in AWS pricing is the substantial increase in EKS costs for older versions. The hourly price for EKS clusters running Kubernetes versions in extended support (1.23 and higher) has skyrocketed from $0.10 to $0.60, representing a staggering 600% increase. These changes will take effect from the April 1, 2024. This dramatic price hike can have a significant impact on businesses heavily reliant on Kubernetes orchestration.

While upgrading to a newer EKS version, such as 1.27 or higher, is often the most straightforward solution to avoid the increased costs, it may not always be feasible, particularly for production environments. Businesses should plan to upgrade their Amazon EKS clusters to newer Kubernetes versions in standard support before the extended support pricing takes effect on April 1, 2024.

Kubernetes versionUpstream releaseAmazon EKS releaseEnd of standard supportEnd of extended support
1.29December 13, 2023January 23, 2024March 23, 2025March 23, 2026
1.28August 15, 2023September 26, 2023November 26, 2024November 26, 2025
1.27April 11, 2023May 24, 2023July 24, 2024July 24, 2025
1.26December 9, 2022April 11, 2023June 11, 2024June 11, 2025
1.25August 23, 2022February 22, 2023May 1, 2024May 1, 2025
1.24May 3, 2022November 15, 2022January 31, 2024January 31, 2025
1.23December 7, 2021August 11, 2022October 11, 2023October 11, 2024

Automation becomes a critical tool in the FinOps arsenal.

Automation: The Key to Managing Pricing Changes

To effectively navigate the complexities of AWS pricing changes, automation becomes a critical tool in the FinOps arsenal. Automating the process of calculating the impact of the Extended Support Fee and identifying instances subject to the fee can save time and reduce errors.

By building automated processes to monitor the impact of pricing changes on your infrastructure, you can gain real-time visibility into your costs and make informed decisions. These automation solutions can help you:

  • Identify RDS and EKS instances subject to the Extended Support Fee
  • Calculate the cost impact based on specific engine, version, and instance characteristics
  • Generate reports and dashboards to visualize the financial implications
  • Trigger alerts and notifications when costs exceed predefined thresholds

Moreover, automation can assist in the process of upgrading RDS and EKS instances to newer versions that are not subject to the Extended Support Fee. By implementing an automated upgrade process with built-in approval workflows, you can streamline the transition to cost-effective versions while maintaining control over the process.

Leveraging FinOps Platforms for Automation

Platforms like Wiv can simplify the process of implementing FinOps automation. Wiv provides a no-code/low-code environment that empowers businesses to create and manage workflows for automating FinOps tasks, including cost optimization and control.

With features such as workflow automation, process management, integrated dashboards, and datastores, Wiv allows users to build tailored FinOps automation solutions that address their specific needs, regardless of their coding expertise.

Conclusion

The introduction of the Extended Support Fee and the increase in EKS pricing are just a few examples of the pricing changes and constraints introduced by AWS in recent months. These changes have raised concerns among businesses and prompted the question of whether this is a new trend in cloud pricing.

To navigate these changes effectively, businesses must adopt FinOps strategies and leverage automation to manage costs and optimize their cloud infrastructure. Automation plays a crucial role in calculating the impact of pricing changes, identifying instances subject to new fees, and streamlining the process of upgrading to cost-effective versions.

Platforms like Wiv can simplify the implementation of FinOps automation, empowering businesses to create tailored solutions that address their specific needs. By embracing automation and adopting a proactive approach to cost management, businesses can navigate the rising tide of AWS pricing changes and ensure the long-term sustainability of their cloud infrastructure.

Why Ownership Tracking in FinOps is Crucial: Unpacking the Challenge

In the world of FinOps, where Cloud Cost Management and Optimization is paramount, identifying the ownership of specific resources stands out as one of the most formidable challenges.

The Challenge of Ownership

Imagine a scenario where multiple teams and members are using various resources within the cloud. Without proper tracking, it’s nearly impossible to understand who is responsible for what, leading to inefficiency, lack of accountability, and spiraling costs.

The market is flooded with tools that can generate substantial saving opportunities. However, when ownership is missing, questions arise like who will implement these recommendations? How can we verify if these recommendations are true? Often, the FinOps team is stuck, unable to act on these cost-saving measures because they don’t know how to find the ownership of the resource that should be handled.

Best practices in FinOps advocate the use of specific tags like ‘createdby’ or ‘owner.’ These tags offer a clear line of sight to the responsible party for any given resource, such as an EC2 instance, facilitating cost tracking and ensuring proper governance.

How can I handle — untagged resources

Now that we understand why it’s so important to add the owner tag, the question is: how can I handle a situation where I have hundreds of untagged resources? How can I find the owner of the resource?

Extract owner from CloudTrail

CloudTrail is an audit service log that can help customers track activity in their account. You can find the event of creating the resource, extract the username that created the resource, and then add the tag owner to the resource.

Here is an example of a CLI command that can find the event:

aws cloudtrail lookup-events --lookup-attributes AttributeKey=ResourceName,AttributeValue=INSTANCE_ID --query "Events[?EventName=='RunInstances']" --region us-east-1

Cases that can be a little bit more challenging (EBS)

With Elastic Block Store (EBS), things get more complicated. If an EBS is created via an EC2 instance, you’ll need to find one event type (RunInstances).

If it’s without an EC2, it’s a different event altogether (CreateVolume). This complexity requires a nuanced approach to track and manage the resources effectively.

Real-time Governance with CloudTrail

CloudTrail is a real-time events service, and it can be a game-changer by listening and finding resources that were created without specific tags, and then tagging them appropriately. By automating this process, you can ensure that all resources are tagged as they are created, keeping your governance structure robust and reactive.

Automate with Wiv: Your Partner in FinOps

In the intricate labyrinth of FinOps, finding a streamlined path is essential. But what if there was an even simpler way to navigate all of this? Meet Wiv, our cloud-native No Code Drag & Drop Workflow Automation platform, tailor-made for FinOps and operations teams. Wiv is not just a tool; it’s a solution, a way to make complex processes feel effortlessly simple.

With Wiv, you can:

  1. Automate the Tagging Process: No more manual tracking or complicated coding. With predefined workflows, Wiv understands how to find the owner in CloudTrail and automatically tag your resource, even in intricate cases like EBS. It’s about making what’s complex simple.
  2. Real-time Response with CloudTrail Events: Wiv listens to CloudTrail, reacting in real-time to add tags, avoiding the risk of unmanaged resources. It’s like having a vigilant watchdog ensuring everything is in its right place.
  3. End-to-End FinOps Automation: From executing recommendations to enforcing governance, handling alerts, managing commitments, and so much more, Wiv is here to handle every aspect of your FinOps process. And the best part? You can do all this without writing a single line of code!

By leveraging Wiv’s capabilities, the challenges of resource ownership tracking become stepping stones to a more streamlined, cost-effective cloud operation. Wiv is not just about automation; it’s about intelligent automation that understands your needs, adapts to your challenges, and helps you conquer your cloud management goals. Let Wiv be your guide, your ally, in the ever-evolving world of FinOps.

Conclusion

The challenge of identifying ownership in FinOps doesn’t have to be a roadblock. By embracing best practices like tagging, using tools like CloudTrail, and leveraging automation platforms like Wiv, you can conquer this obstacle. Wiv’s intelligent automation helps you navigate even the most complex scenarios, ensuring that your resources are always managed efficiently. Let Wiv help you automate your everyday FinOps tasks, and take your cloud cost management to the next level.