This GigaOm Research Reprint Expires: Jun 23, 2023

GigaOm Radar for Evaluating Financial Operations (FinOps) Toolsv1.0

1. Summary

In modern IT environments, hybrid and multicloud infrastructures are now the norm. But runaway costs due to unmonitored growth and unanticipated spend have emerged as a major challenge. Enterprise finance departments are currently unable to do accurate cost breakdowns of cloud spends to the correct cost centers, and there’s no transparency in monthly billing and no accurate forecast of future spend. This is driving the need for a new focus that cloud financial operations (FinOps) promises to resolve.

FinOps is a method of bringing financial accountability to the cloud’s operational expense (OpEx) spending model. This new way of handling financial operations allows distributed IT teams, development, and finance to work together to enable faster product delivery while managing and predicting costs.

FinOps is different from the traditional IT procurement capital expense (CapEx) model. Instead of finance allocating budgets to product teams, a cross-functional FinOps team coordinates technology, business, and finance to optimize cloud vendor management, service rates, and discounting. It’s all about establishing financial accountability in cloud spending.

The GigaOm report, “Key Criteria for Evaluating Financial Operations (FinOps) Tools,” outlined issues, trends, and purchase considerations for prospective customers. It identified key criteria and evaluation metrics for selecting a FinOps platform. This companion Radar report recognizes the vendors and products that excel in their FinOps offerings.

This FinOps Radar report provides a forward-looking analysis that carefully plots the relative value and progression of the various FinOps solutions available in the market. Factors such as strategy and execution are evaluated for each vendor. In addition, highlights of each offering are presented in a short summary.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Solution Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

2. Market Categories and Deployment Types

For a better understanding of the market and vendor positioning (Table 1), we assess how well FinOps solutions are positioned to serve specific market segments.

  • Small-to-medium business (SMB): In this category we assess solutions on their ability to meet the needs of organizations ranging from small businesses to medium-sized companies. Also assessed are departmental use cases in large enterprises, where ease of use and deployment are more important than extensive management functionality, data mobility and feature set.
  • Large enterprise: Offerings are assessed on their ability to support large and business-critical projects. Optimal solutions in this category have a strong focus on flexibility, performance, data services, and features to improve security and data protection. Scalability is another big differentiator, as is the ability to deploy the same service in different environments.
  • Multinational: This market segment needs the ability to deploy and report financial needs normalized on currency and ability to track unique operational and financial aspects of working in multiple countries. They typically have the basic needs of large enterprises but are complicated by operational issues from running in multiple countries.
  • Managed service providers (MSPs): MSPs or system integrators (SIs) that run cloud-like services or broker larger clouds and provide value-added services have a unique multitenancy requirement and can rebrand the user interface. A few enterprises that act as holding companies and offer shared services to their wholly owned companies may also value the multitenancy functionality. Added requirements include features to track markup, discounts, and cloud credits differently than traditional business needs in a FinOps tool.

In addition, we recognize three deployment models in this report: software as a service (SaaS), hybrid, and self-managed solutions.

  • SaaS: These solutions are available only in the cloud. Often designed, deployed, and managed by the service provider, they are available only from that specific provider. The advantage of this type of solution is integration with other services and functions offered by the cloud service provider, as well as simplicity.
  • Hybrid solutions: These solutions are meant to be installed both on-premises and in the cloud, allowing customers to build hybrid or multicloud infrastructures. Integration with a single cloud provider may be limited compared to cloud-only options and these solutions may be more complex to deploy and manage. On the other hand, they are more flexible, and the user usually has more control over the entire stack in areas such as resource allocation and tuning.
  • Self-managed solutions: With these solutions, the vendor provides the software but the customer is resptonsible for installing it on compute platforms supported by the vendor. The operating system (OS) or Kubernetes integration and all patching and software lifecycling is the responsibility of the customer. These are often chosen by buyers who need to run on-premises or in private clouds where it would not be possible to route traffic to and from a SaaS solution.

Table 1. Vendor Positioning

Market Segment

Deployment Model

SMB Enterprise Multinational MSP SaaS Hybrid Self-Managed
Anodot (Pileus Cloud)
Apptio
Centilytics
CloudZero
DoiT
Exivity
Flexera One
Harness
Kubecost
Neos
Spot by NetApp
Ternary
Yotascale
3 Exceptional: Outstanding focus and execution
2 Capable: Good but with room for improvement
2 Limited: Lacking in execution and use cases
2 Not applicable or absent

3. Key Criteria Comparison

Building on the findings from the GigaOm report, “Key Criteria for Evaluating Financial Operations (FinOps) Tools,” Tables 2, 3, and 4 summarize how well each vendor included in this research performs in the areas we consider differentiating and critical for the sector: key criteria, evaluation metrics, and emerging technologies.

  • Key criteria differentiate solutions based on features and capabilities, outlining the primary criteria to be considered when evaluating FinOps solutions.
  • Evaluation metrics provide insight into the impact of each product’s features and capabilities on the organization.
  • Emerging technologies and trends indicate how well the product or vendor executed against the technologies and trends identified in the previous report.

The objective is to give the reader a snapshot of the technical capabilities of available solutions, define the perimeter of the market landscape, and gauge the potential impact on the business.

Below is a summary of key criteria used in this report (Table 2):

  • Normalized billing across multiple cloud vendors: In a multicloud environment, it’s vital that FinOps tools hide complex and non-standard cloud billing and instead show directly comparable costs.
  • Cloud vendor cost comparisons: Leading FinOps tools provide granularity in pricing comparisons.
  • Cloud rate optimization: FinOps tools should leverage discounts and provide an accurate picture of cloud spend.
  • IT finance integration and chargeback: FinOps tools should leverage in-house IT finance tools from SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, and the like.
  • Identification of cost optimization opportunities: FinOps tools must understand historic consumption trends and provide suggestions on reducing the cost for various cloud resources.
  • Real-time decision making: FinOps tools that provide real-time (or close to real-time) optimization suggestions provide greater value to the business.

Table 2. Key Criteria Comparison

Key Criteria

Normalized Billing Across Multiple Cloud Vendors Cloud Vendor Cost Comparisons Cloud Rate Optimization IT Finance Integration & Chargeback Identification of Cost Optimization Opportunities Real-Time Decision Making
Anodot (Pileus Cloud) 3 0 2 2 3 2
Apptio 3 2 3 3 3 3
Centilytics 3 2 2 1 2 2
CloudZero 3 0 2 1 3 2
DoiT 3 0 3 0 2 0
Exivity 3 0 2 3 0 0
Flexera One 3 3 3 3 3 2
Harness 3 2 2 0 2 2
Kubecost 2 1 2 1 2 3
Neos 2 0 1 0 1 2
Spot by NetApp 3 0 2 3 3 3
Ternary 3 3 2 1 3 3
Yotascale 2 2 2 2 2 2
3 Exceptional: Outstanding focus and execution
2 Capable: Good but with room for improvement
2 Limited: Lacking in execution and use cases
2 Not applicable or absent

Table 3. Evaluation Metrics Comparison

Evaluation Metrics

Usability Flexibility Scalability Monitorability Interoperability
Anodot (Pileus Cloud) 2 3 3 2 2
Apptio 3 3 3 2 3
Centilytics 2 3 2 3 3
CloudZero 2 2 3 2 1
DoiT 2 2 2 2 1
Exivity 1 2 3 3 3
Flexera One 3 3 3 3 3
Harness 3 2 3 1 1
Kubecost 2 2 1 3 2
Neos 2 3 2 2 2
Spot by NetApp 2 3 3 2 3
Ternary 2 2 3 1 2
Yotascale 2 2 3 2 2
3 Exceptional: Outstanding focus and execution
2 Capable: Good but with room for improvement
2 Limited: Lacking in execution and use cases
2 Not applicable or absent

Table 4. Emerging Technologies

Emerging Technologies

AI to Predict Future Spending Container & Serverless Computing Tagging Governance & Policy Support Predictive Modeling
Anodot (Pileus Cloud)
Apptio
Centilytics
CloudZero
DoiT
Exivity
Flexera One
Harness
Kubecost
Neos
Spot by NetApp
Ternary
Yotascale
3 Exceptional: Outstanding focus and execution
2 Capable: Good but with room for improvement
2 Limited: Lacking in execution and use cases
2 Not applicable or absent

By combining the information provided in the tables above, the reader can develop a clear understanding of the technical solutions available in the market.

4. GigaOm Radar

This report synthesizes the analysis of key criteria and their impact on evaluation metrics to inform the GigaOm Radar graphic in Figure 1. The resulting chart is a forward-looking perspective on all the vendors in this report, based on their products’ technical capabilities and feature sets.

The GigaOm Radar plots vendor solutions across a series of concentric rings, with those set closer to the center judged to be of higher overall value. The chart characterizes each vendor on two axes—balancing Maturity versus Innovation, and Feature Play versus Platform Play—while providing an arrow that projects each solution’s evolution over the coming 12 to 18 months.

Figure 1. GigaOm Radar for FinOps

As you can see in the Radar chart in Figure 1, a majority of the vendors are in the Innovation, Feature-Play quadrant which reflects the newness of this technology. The three vendors in the Mature, Platform-Play quadrant are legacy companies that have expanded into this market. Two vendors are considered Innovative, Platform-Play solutions, reflecting that they provide more value outside of FinOps and are still maturing. As adoption of FinOps grows, several vendors are poised to capitalize on that growth, which can be seen by their Outperformer arrows.

Neos has been in this market for a while but has a narrow feature set focused on FinOps rather than a general platform with a suite of services.

A major trend in FinOps is support for Kubernetes; some vendors provide focused support that allows solutions to optimize Kubernetes costs. All but one vendor in this report support Kubernetes or container-based workloads in their financial optimization and reporting feature sets.

Some vendors are focused on billing accuracy; others concentrate on short-term optimization, while others extend their value by providing intelligent forecasting for the next three years. However, only a few vendors let you model costs of applications that have not been deployed yet.

Inside the GigaOm Radar

The GigaOm Radar weighs each vendor’s execution, roadmap, and ability to innovate to plot solutions along two axes, each set as opposing pairs. On the Y axis, Maturity recognizes solution stability, strength of ecosystem, and a conservative stance, while Innovation highlights technical innovation and a more aggressive approach. On the X axis, Feature Play connotes a narrow focus on niche or cutting-edge functionality, while Platform Play displays a broader platform focus and commitment to a comprehensive feature set.

The closer to center a solution sits, the better its execution and value, with top performers occupying the inner Leaders circle. The centermost circle is almost always empty, reserved for highly mature and consolidated markets that lack space for further innovation.

The GigaOm Radar offers a forward-looking assessment, plotting the current and projected position of each solution over a 12- to 18-month window. Arrows indicate travel based on strategy and pace of innovation, with vendors designated as Forward Movers, Fast Movers, or Outperformers based on their rate of progression.

Note that the Radar excludes vendor market share as a metric. The focus is on forward-looking analysis that emphasizes the value of innovation and differentiation over incumbent market position.

5. Vendor Insights

Anodot (Pileus Cloud)

In November 2021, business monitoring company Anodot acquired a FinOps tool known as Pileus Cloud. The resulting solution, Anodot for Cloud Cost, visualizes and optimizes cloud costs by monitoring cloud environments end to end, which includes providing an accurate breakdown of SaaS and Kubernetes costs. The solution is cloud agnostic and offers accurate billing with a six-hour delay.

Anodot creates budget settings based on tags, service, and accounts. It also allows the integration of internal tools via an API that enables reading data from Anodot and loading it to external data warehouses. Alerts warn users before thresholds are crossed based on usage forecasts. The solution connects to cloud provider billing reports and uses anomaly detection to detect spikes in real time. The granularity and speed-to-awareness of cloud spend and the ability to correlate spending by application across cloud vendors exceeds the market on the key criteria for normalizing billing across providers.

Anodot can identify and manage shared costs, and its cost explorer enables showback and chargeback based on applications, environments, service, and accounts. Forecasting is one of its strengths, with the company able to produce a 95% accurate one-year forecast based on two months of historical data. The system lets users create custom dashboards for each user/persona in the organization. It also supports dashboard and report sharing among users, as well as the option to create events that explain what happened on a specific day. This helps DevOps and the finance department communicate about spending changes. Additionally, it recognizes new services offered by cloud providers and new generations of servers, and creates recommendations accordingly.

Anodot for Cloud Costs supports MSPs, providing cost tracking and management of each tenant’s discount or markup costs and generating billing for the MSP’s customers. Its ability to identify cost optimizations exceeds the market. Whereas many products simply extend a trendline (which can introduce risks in budget forecasts versus actuals as few projects grow linearly forever), Anodot for Cloud Costs is AI-powered and helps to predict future costs. This allows better negotiation of long-term discounts with cloud providers.

In addition to providing data analytics for VM-based cloud consumption, Anodot also works with serverless and container spend, and provides similar accuracy in forecasting for those workloads. This is an emerging area of FinOps that few vendors have addressed.

Anodot scored high on the evaluation metrics flexibility and scalability and exceeds others in the market in terms of flexibility to deal with new types of workloads or IT projects, as well as scalability to meet global enterprise needs.

Like many other cloud-native FinOps tools that work with hyperscale cloud providers, Anodot does not provide cloud vendor cost comparisons (one of the key criteria). This feature is needed by companies that want to estimate spend prior to deployment, or to evaluate the cost of changing cloud vendors.

Strengths: Anodot uses AI to predict costs based on historical trends and identify cost optimizations beyond computing instance sizing. It exceeds the market on normalizing billing across cloud vendors, which allows it to excel at identifying cost reduction opportunities.

The solution has good support for Kubernetes workloads and exceeds the market on the variety of use cases it supports, as well as on its ability to scale to meet enterprise demands.

Challenges: Anodot is relatively weak in providing advice on which cloud vendor to use to host an application, and on modeling applications before they go live.

Apptio Cloudability

Cloudability enables IT, finance, and DevOps teams to work together to optimize cloud resources for speed, cost, and quality. It addresses areas such as reserved instance planning, workload placement, rightsizing of cloud resources, container cost allocation, cost sharing, and anomaly detection. It uses tagging and business mapping to track billing and usage, and to provide real-time insight and accountability across business units.

Apptio was involved in the early days of the FinOps Foundation and continues to contribute to the FinOps Framework. The platform has recently added support for additional clouds like IBM Cloud, and Oracle Cloud, to complement its public cloud capabilities on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). Budgets can be automatically ingested into Cloudability from financial systems, matched to reporting periods, and tied to flexible allocation rules.

Authentication to all Apptio products is managed via Apptio Frontdoor, which supports any single sign-on (SSO) provider that is SAML2 compliant. Role-based permissions match specific personas. This cloud-based FinOps system provides a daily summary email to users of estimated spend. More detailed analyses are provided for the current month, projected future spend, and historical spend.

A long history in this market and an already mature feature set have enabled Apptio to focus on adding emerging technologies to its platform. This lets it extend its lead while others are just attempting to match Apptio’s position today.

Of note is Apptio’s strong performance across the key criteria; it exceeded the market in all but vendor cost comparisons. Its ability to do chargebacks provides bidirectional links with financial systems, reduces the work needed to maintain the FinOps tool, and increases the accuracy of data provided to the finance system. Rate optimization takes full advantage of Apptio’s near real-time spending awareness and knowledge of cost optimization possibilities. Though not a leader in AI prediction capabilities, its support for containers and serverless computing, along with the ability to provide governance and normalization of billing tags, allows Apptio to support governance and policies. Updating its AI functionality is easy and will increase the company’s market lead, just as with other emerging technologies where it already exceeds.

Due to its early market entry, Apptio has had time to become user friendly and easy to interoperate with other IT systems. It allows a company to use current observability solutions to pick up on issues Apptio finds, reducing the need for daily dedicated monitoring of this FinOps tool. The combined impact allows Apptio to exceed the market on the flexibility and scalability evaluation metrics without degrading its usability.

Strengths: Apptio’s cloud vendor support is among the broadest, ensuring that if your business grows or acquires another company, its cloud choices are more than likely covered. The solution provides extensive support for Kubernetes and other cloud-based services, giving you more than instance-type awareness in costs and spending trends.

Challenges: Tighter integration with prebuilt configurations to Open Metric and OpenTelemetry would make it easier for companies to maintain enterprise visibility and value stream mapping (VSM) to enhance the business value of the solution.

Centilytics

Centilytics offers continuous cost optimization and actionable insights to achieve resource rightsizing, instance scheduling, instance reservation, reserved instance (RI) utilization, termination of unassociated resources, and identification of underutilized resources. From one screen, users can view, edit, and tag multicloud, multiservice, and multiple-account infrastructure. The platform also allows FinOps and IT personnel to set up rules to identify untagged and mistagged resources, visualize tags, define tagging nomenclature, and autocorrect tags.

Centilytics caters to multiple stakeholders. It helps the CIO improve engineering efficiency and optimize resources to gain maximum ROI. For CTOs, it can discover opportunities for savings without compromising on performance. The CFO can use it to monitor cloud costs and receive optimization recommendations, personalized for usage patterns to allocate cost and prevent cloud overspend. The platform can also show back to different cost centers, and follow the simplest and most efficient approach to tag multiple resources—including mandating tags that need to be followed across the infrastructure.

This SaaS platform can manage, optimize, secure, and automate cloud infrastructure. In addition to cost optimization, it includes cloud mapping and topology, utilization, inventory, security automation, resource scheduling, automated backups, audits, performance optimization, fault tolerance, and reports.

Centilytics’ Cost Visibility aggregates terabytes of unstructured data into interactive graphical dashboards to offer insights into cloud usage and costs. Correlations among accounts, subscriptions, services, regions, and resource tags are also provided. Its Asset function allows IT to keep a track of the resource inventory of their cloud environments. Future versions of Centilytics intend to add direct integrations to common financial software packages from Quickbooks to SAP. Thus, the product provides showback, not chargeback, as it can’t directly make updates to the general ledger, instead requiring finance staff to handle all of the entries; the entries will be more accurate, they’re just not automated.

Centilytics has a platform approach that provides additional value beyond FinOps. This reduces vendor sprawl and simplifies training and integration in the long term because eventually this market will consolidate to a few vendors spanning cloud management automation, resource SLA/SLO optimization, and FinOps. This makes Centilytics a critical vendor for prospective buyers who want to reduce the number of vendors used in deploying and optimizing cloud compute and spending.

Strengths: Centilytics is one of the few products that supports white-labeling, giving MSPs and SaaS vendors a way to track costs and provide extended value over the competition. It also provides good support for normalized billing across multiple vendors. Moreover, Centilytics offers FinOps as a “go-to-market” solution to its incumbent partners to enable revenue generation while providing cost optimization to end users.

Challenges: The solution lacks integration with other finance systems, so human effort or third-party tools are needed to create reports that make sense to the finance part of a business. It’s relatively weak in comparison to others on SMB and multinational support, and needs to add multilanguage and better currency converters tied to a value the finance department has agreed to. Alternatively, Centilytics should provide an API.

CloudZero

CloudZero controls spending and translates cloud cost into a shared language for engineering and finance. It dynamically ingests cost data from AWS, Azure, GCP, and Snowflake in near real time and enriches billing data with context, such as AWS metadata and event streams like container insights and application telemetry.

CloudZero uses a code-driven approach to allocating and organizing cloud spend, using a domain-specific language (DSL) in a code artifact—even on containerized and multitenant infrastructure or in the case of untagged, untaggable, and shared resources. It automatically detects cost anomalies by service, feature, customer, and more. In addition to showback or chargeback, users can track budgets, forecast spend, and detect cost anomalies.

Spend is organized into business categories, such as features, development teams, customers, and microservices. This is useful in detecting when the cost spikes for a product feature or single customer and how business changes impact spend. CloudZero heavily focuses on unit economics that create a common language between finance and IT staff.

The data model is provider agnostic. The platform supports AWS, Snowflake, Azure, and GCP. It supports data export via Snowflake (the Snowflake data sharing feature) and Excel (CSV). By integrating third-party tools, CloudZero can provide exceptional optimization in the use of pricing models (such as on demand versus reserved), as well as cloud vendor credits or other usage earnback customers get. Automating these aspects helps free enterprise staff to use their time on higher value tasks.

CloudZero facilitates a shared understanding of cost across organizational stakeholders. In particular, it helps engineering to take action based on FinOps feedback. This includes providing alerts for engineers as well as reports to help them quickly understand the costs associated with cloud architecture and software development decisions. Together, a new telemetry-based feature and the dimensioning reporting feature allow companies to get a more accurate view of spending by application feature and customer usage, even without tagging 100% of consumption elements. This means you can still get great value even if your tagging efforts are ineffective.

It also helps developers adopt a FinOps mindset, by quickly showing developers the negative impacts to budgets on a deployment, then providing them with the context to connect the dots between cost and architecture. It also delivers on the idea of providing traceability between the owner of an IT product and the various parties involved in delivering and paying for the services.

CloudZero would be a good fit for companies wanting to drive a FinOps culture from developer to product owner, with the governance and financial discipline needed to drive success.

Though CloudZero has passed both SOC 1 type 2 and SOC 2 type 2 certifications, the process to get this data into updates to a general ledger involves human intervention. This is still better than almost all of the other vendors in this report.

Strengths: CloudZero has good multinational support and a greater ability to scale than most multinational companies need. It also excels in tagging—leading to a high score for this emerging technology—where it can make intelligent suggestions as to who drives/owns a cost and also identify mistagged items.

Challenges: The product offers relatively weak integration with IT finance systems and other IT management tools.

DoiT Flexsave

DoiT Flexsave continuously detects which workloads aren’t already covered by compute commitments, assigns reserved compute resources from DoiT’s own wholesale inventory to cover any uncovered workloads, and saves money when the organization is paying full price.

Raw billing records and pricing data are pulled from AWS and GCP using APIs, then processed and made available for analysis. Users can create customized budgets for product lines, teams, and apps. Threshold alert levels can be set up and assigned to a variety of individuals.

DoiT’s budget capabilities leverage ML to predict when budget thresholds are reached, allowing users to guard against overspending. Users can sign in with a Google, Microsoft, or email account. Flexsave also operates with Kubernetes clusters that often share workloads.

DoiT plans on expanding authentication and authorization in 2022 to address larger enterprise needs and expectations. As a newer vendor in this space, it has avoided mistakes earlier vendors are now having to fix, but the product has a way to go to become a general-purpose FinOps tool for customers of cloud vendors AWS and GCP.

Users can create custom forecasts for any combination of cloud resources, and analyze trends in spending rapidly. Period-over-period analysis (actuals or percentage) can be performed to understand cloud consumption changes. Actual spend versus budgeted spend is displayed in two ways: from the overall budgets list or within the budget itself.

Cloud analytics capabilities can filter cost components that are specific to a single cloud or are not relevant to a certain analysis. An internal TCO calculator offers GCP to AWS cost comparisons. Google Cloud and AWS customers can leverage Flexsave to ensure their compute unit costs are optimized for rate. In addition, anomaly detection can define normal behavior across each project and/or account, and automatically alert stakeholders about any abnormal cost spikes. Specific functions are available for FinOps practitioners, heads of infrastructure, product owners, engineering leads, procurement, engineers, and developers.

Unique features for GCP and AWS users are the ability to optimize spend on Google’s BigQuery for GCP customers, and to optimize AWS’s Spot Instances to reduce AWS costs while meeting business expectations.

Because AWS and GCP get paid by DoiT for customer consumption, there’s no software cost to start a FinOps practice. Companies need to pay for the integration and staff training to use the tool, but overall, this approach allows DoiT to be a great entry into FinOps for GCP and AWS customers.

Strengths: DoiT removes the need for companies to negotiate spending plans with cloud providers or lock in one- to three-year contracts, yet allows savings as if they had. It allows dynamic workload shifting and optimization efforts by other tools that IT uses to manage compute needs. The ability to optimize cloud rates makes it a leader in this area.

The cloud vendors providing DoiT as a value-added service reduce direct costs to the customer, making it an attractive solution for companies that are growing but don’t have dedicated cost structures for these types of tools.

Challenges: The solution does not address tracking costs to the application product for showback or chargeback billing. This is also the case with regard to its interoperability with other enterprise and ITSM systems. It does not cover storage, network optimizations, or use of cloud services such as databases.

Exivity

Exivity is metering and billing software for public, private, and hybrid cloud environments, and it reports on cloud consumption from any IT resource. It can be used by an MSP, cloud service provider (CSP), or internet service provider (ISP) to apply specific billing rules to customers or for internal chargeback and showback for enterprise IT. Exivity extracts IT consumption data from various endpoints and maps it to services, SKUs, customer IDs, names, and contracts.

The platform supports all major public clouds using various data extractors for consumption, discount, and pricing information. Customers can modify templates to meet specific use cases. These templates are frequently updated and available directly from within the software.

Budget revisions can be configured for any level of the enterprise. Allocating budgets can be done by application, resource group, or subscription level. Budget thresholds can be configured based on a percentage spend, which can trigger an event (email, Slack, SMS, or webhook). These features and the ability to link Exivity to popular financial systems contribute to a high score for this key criterion. It also gets a high score for its support of multicloud and hybrid application deployments without losing visibility of the application’s TCO. Exivity is not designed for real-time cost optimization, nor for comparing cloud-hosting costs to justify re-hosting an application. It is best suited for MSPs and ISPs that host customer applications, and CSPs that need to provide detailed billing and help their customers optimize their spend.

Shared hybrid IT costs can be automatically allocated to business units, departments, or external clients. It can use equal or percentage-based distribution methods, manual lookup tables, or resource tagging to achieve any type of charging distribution logic. Automation is accomplished via mapping techniques involving a combination of tags, naming conventions, lookup tables, and third-party data source integration.

Exivity ships with a Microsoft Power BI plugin, enabling users to execute forecasting and trending reports based on an out-of-the-box Power BI report. Exivity works with virtually any cloud provider, such as AWS, Azure, and Google, as well as on-premises, and data center IT resource systems. Rather than focus on cloud vendor comparisons, it emphasizes making IT costs visible across the entire enterprise (cloud and on-premises).

The platform supports authentication via local accounts, LDAP or SAML2 identity providers. Authorization (global permissions as well as fine-grained account access) can be managed within the software or provisioned from SAML attributes.

Exivity is one of the few vendors that is wholly managed by the customer and can be installed in a customer’s data center or private cloud. So if a SaaS alternative is not viable, this may be a key purchase consideration for your company.

Strengths: By supporting all major and many smaller cloud providers, Exivity offers the most updated pricing data because it focuses on billing accuracy. Good integration with IT finance systems empowers customers via budget and forecasting accuracy.

Challenges: As the focus is on metering and billing of cloud providers, Exivity only provides ballpark values for on-premises deployments. The solution lacks strength in the SMB market.

Flexera One

A long corporate history of tracking usage gives Flexera One a leading advantage in this space. Its FinOps product capitalizes on that history with some of the best scores in this year’s radar across key criteria and evaluation metrics. To extend that value long-term, however, it needs to prioritize development around the emerging technologies. It is able to meet the needs of large and multinational organizations, and exceeds the needs of most SMBs.

Flexera provides near real-time data collection across all major cloud providers, including AWS, AWS China, Google, Azure, Azure China, Oracle, and Alibaba.

The solution provides alerts to help users manage budgets by application, resource group, or subscription level. Billing centers can be configured in a hierarchical structure so that cost reporting can better match the organizational reporting structure. This exceeds the market and allows reports that are more useful and can be tailored to each manager and the scope of their needs.

As a Platform Play, Flexera can reduce the vendors needed across IT. Flexera cloud-cost optimization can be bought independently or as a part of the Flexera One suite of tools. Either way, it uses the Flexera One Administration module to manage users, user groups, and roles across accounts. Flexera supports authentication with username and password or through an IDP.

Flexera models can track costs back to business services. Billing centers provide a method to allocate costs into certain groups, or cost centers, which can be analyzed and reported or alerted on. Users can create any number of billing centers, each one spanning multiple cloud vendors and accounts.

Flexera normalizes the cloud bill across AWS, Azure, and Google with a direct connection to each provider, and any cloud or SaaS service can be ingested. In addition to cloud spend, the platform can encompass software licenses, purchase orders, and SaaS expenses. A cost optimization service provides cloud vendor cost comparison to highlight the best business value. Another feature compares the costs for migration to different public clouds.

Rate reduction recommendations seek to reduce cloud spend. Further cost optimization features cover infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS)— including unused volumes, instances, and databases—as well as rightsizing databases and instances covering AWS, Azure, and Google. Such recommendations can run at a frequency of 15-minute intervals, alerting the user about optimization opportunities in near real time.

Flexera’s customizable dashboards and table views allow reports to be created to suit specific needs. Hosted in AWS, Flexera One is a cloud-based, API-driven solution designed with a microservices-based architecture. Bill ingestion can scale to thousands of cloud accounts and billions of lines of cloud bills.

Strengths: Leading the market in most metrics, Flexera provides exceptional value in its functionality for a broad range of needs. Focusing on emerging technologies will extend its position as a Leader in this market for years to come.

Challenges: Support for Kubernetes could be improved and derive greater meaning from the metrics of container spending. Flexera could expand AI/ML modeling to predict future spend on more than just historic trends, as well as improve data provenance to better support compliance on needs like GDPR.

Harness

Harness Cloud Cost Management provides out-of-the-box visibility of and cost savings for containerized workloads running on Kubernetes, Amazon ECS, and on-premises solutions. But it also provides value beyond containerized workloads, to all cloud workloads running in AWS, Azure, and GCP. A cloud-cost business intelligence feature can be used to create custom reports and dashboards that visualize information and analyze complex budgeting and forecasting scenarios. Current costs can be compared against recommended changes and optimization opportunities across the infrastructure.

Users can create contextualized views at any layer of the organization using budgets set at the required level of granularity. Alerts can be set up for costs that are forecast to go over budget to alert stakeholders if and when they do go over budget. Users can create custom reports and dashboards that show high-level budgets, visualize groups of budgets across the organization, tie them to business key performance indicators (KPIs), schedule reports, and set alerts based on requirements.

Harness supports role-based access control (RBAC), SSO, two-factor authentication (2FA), email, password authentication, and SSH authentication. Encryption is provided for those using APIs, and those using multiple Harness modules can share across modules to save the time and effort of configuring multiple products.

Kubernetes visibility is down to the pod level, allowing users to understand where and how resources are used, and to find the right allocation of shared resource costs across cost centers.

Cost perspectives can allocate resources, see associated costs, and tie future resource changes to those same cost perspectives. This helps to simplify showback models. Costs can be allocated to internal cost centers down to the developer level, but also to customers, products, teams, or any other configuration. Each of these scenarios can be supported by a custom dashboard for stakeholders that speeds up the process of validating showback or chargeback.

A unique feature for use in non-production environments (Dev, Test, Stage) is the ability to turn off instances when not in use to reduce non-production hosting costs.

Strengths: Harness is one of the few vendors planning to integrate Open Policy Agent (OPA) to improve governance and tagging compliance, in an effort to create long-term value in driving financial accountability in cloud consumption. Harness can (if firewalls allow) obtain operational metrics from Kubernetes on-premises to provide insight on that level of consumption. Harness Continuous Deployment (CD) customers gain the ability to provide tracking and forecasting from development to production.

Challenges: Harness’ ability to support operations teams with health metrics is complicated by its limited ability to work with other ITSM systems.

Kubecost

Kubecost provides real-time cost visibility and insights for teams using Kubernetes, helping users continuously reduce their cloud costs. It breaks costs down by any Kubernetes concept, including deployment, service, namespace, and label. It can also view costs across multiple clusters in a single view or via a single API endpoint.

Kubernetes costs can be joined with any external cloud services or infrastructure spend. External costs can be shared and attributed to any Kubernetes concepts. Recommendations are offered on how to reduce spend without sacrificing performance, and prioritized based on key infrastructure or application changes for improving resource efficiency and reliability.

Kubecost is designed to catch cost overruns and infrastructure outage risks before they become a problem with real-time notifications. Engineering workflows can be preserved by integrating with tools like PagerDuty and Slack.

Kubecost natively integrates AWS, Azure, Google, and Alibaba, and can custom integrate with other cloud platforms. Accurate cloud costs are shown for users within the application in a unified dashboard. Real-time alerts can be set for efficiency, budget thresholds, spend changes, infrastructure health, and recurring updates. These are configurable via the Kubecost interface or deployment values. Alerts can be received via email, Slack, the Kubecost interface, or custom tools such as PagerDuty. These alert-related features contribute to a high score for the real-time decision-making key criterion.

Kubecost supports SSO/SAML 2.0, enabling users to manage application access with identity providers like Okta, Auth0, AzureAD, PingID, and KeyCloak. It natively supports user authentication to restrict access internally and externally. It also has custom access roles and predefined user roles to restrict users to various product parts or assign admin or read-only access.

Kubecost forecasting looks at a period of usage and then extrapolates this over a longer time to predict future expense. Customized reports can be tailored to various stakeholders within an enterprise, including engineers, managers, and executives across departments.

As this tool is focused on Kubernetes workloads and cost optimizations, it does not score well with tools that support all cloud consumption. If Kubernetes constitutes a majority of your cloud spend in the public cloud or on-premises, however, this may be a great solution for your needs. Kubecost can also consume all cloud spending so it does provide value beyond just Kubernetes.

Strengths: Kubecost provides deep support for Kubernetes financial controls. It can be used on-premises, with a future SaaS offering that promises ease of implementation and use to smaller or less-skilled organizations while retaining its Kubernetes focus.

Challenges: Kubecost focuses on Kubernetes in public clouds, so you might need another tool to provide value-managed financial accountability for non-Kubernetes spend.

Neos CloudVane

Neos CloudVane consolidates multicloud cost and usage data. It enables overall visibility and management of cloud resources through automation, scheduling, cost allocation, recommendations, and reports. It facilitates and simplifies the introduction of FinOps best practices into an organization.

CloudVane brings all cloud data into a single pane of glass. It’s part of the Oracle for Startups Program and takes advantage of the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, but supports Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud as well. Cost and usage data is regularly downloaded by CloudVane and presented in near real time, contributing to a good score on the real-time decision-making key criterion. Users can create multiple-scope budgets and define thresholds (actual and predicted) with alert notifications when thresholds are reached. A new feature can trigger the stopping of all resources in an action group when a threshold is reached. A recommendations feature assists with discounts and committed spends, consolidating multiple public cloud providers and subscriptions on central points.

While Neos is a SaaS vendor, it offers a private instance option that may address multitenancy issues but may not be able to support air-gapped needs for companies that want to prevent some or all of their private environments from connecting to the public internet. In May 2022, Neos added support for the three large hyperscale cloud providers beyond its original Oracle OCI offerings.

While currency normalization is supported, many finance groups may not like using a UK-based website API, which shows rates at local time. But for less-demanding groups, the solution can take global cloud spend in those local currencies and show a relative value in the currency of the customer’s choice. Due later in 2022 is a currency exchange API a customer could use to push to Neos the exchange rates their finance group wants to be used.

At the close of research for this report, cloud vendor cost comparisons were not supported, but this is on the vendor’s roadmap for 2022. Rate optimizations are also not supported as the product started with Oracle, which did not have the same pricing models as the top three hyperscale cloud providers. Rate optimizations are expected to be added in the future as Neos adds more support for AWS, GCP, and Azure. The vendor also plans to improve support for SAP and Oracle Financials. Currently, showback and chargeback are statically configured with human intervention.

Strengths: Neos started with Oracle, so it provides leading support for the costing details of those engaged in Oracle Cloud Computing and Oracle Cloud Services.

Challenges: Neos is relatively weak on cloud rate optimization features and the identification of cost optimization opportunities.

Spot by NetApp

Spot by NetApp is aimed at IT organizations with heavy cloud investments and complex environments. Spot processes multiple real-time pricing streams from AWS, Azure, and GCP, including all major account types for each cloud provider. It updates public cloud pricing analysis multiple times per day. Users gain access to numerous budget and alerting options—from application and resource groups to contract management—including defining budget cycles and multiple cost types. They also define alert thresholds or create alerts based on cost fluctuations and spikes when compared to average costs over time.

Spot adds a layer for containers and Kubernetes to allow for cost allocation based on pods and/or deployments or application labels to address the cost complexity of microservices. It can break apart costs by application, business vertical, or other groupings. Costs can then be allocated to particular teams or business users to give them an exact view of the costs they’re responsible for. It provides a number of showback reporting tools, including the ability to manipulate and allocate costs in artificial methods to align content to the appropriate business units or teams. As Spot has the ability to provide cloud resource optimization (CRO) and automation through its cloud management platform (CMP) features, it can also automate the remediations (changes) to actually optimize costs. MSPs and CSPs get extra value from Spot, as they can charge custom rates for cloud resources automatically, thus reducing the MSP/CSP labor.

Two complementary approaches deal with optimization for volume and committed spend. Analytics and reporting help IT to visualize volume discounts, committed spend, and potential optimization scenarios. Alternatively, ML-driven capacity planning and automated procurement actively manage commitments between the consumer and cloud providers to drive deeper discounts.

Spot supports 1-N SSO/SAML integrations for authentication as well as user-defined sign-in. Additionally, it has partnerships with authentication companies such as Okta, OneLogin, Azure AD, and Google. Spot is backed by a permission management system to meet user and role assignment requirements. Multiple audit paths are provided, including a user-event audit page for administration as well as an API audit-tracing solution that helps identify API calls that were made by an external team and the order of operations.

A unique area of differentiation is the ability to digitally provide non-repudiation of financial data. This is critical to regulatory compliance for publicly traded companies to demonstrate that reported data was not altered or manipulated. Matched with a suite of products for CRO and a CMP, NetApp provides intelligent placement, performance optimization, and financial accountability. In addition, reports are securely delivered to the source of record as well as to human consumers of the data.

Strengths: Non-repudiation of financial data reports is a unique feature that ensures companies with regulatory requirements of financial accuracy that the reports they generate have not been manipulated and can be trusted. Integration with a wider suite of cloud management and automation tools places NetApp in a leadership role that will help the market respond to its new abilities. In all but a few areas, NetApp ranks high on the key criteria and evaluation metrics in our analysis of this market.

Challenges: The solution could be stronger on multinational support, and it’s not as easy for SMBs to enter and grow with Spot compared to other vendors. The ability to help companies intelligently place new workloads by comparing estimated hosting costs among cloud vendors would be useful. This is tricky, as it risks alienating a cloud vendor that has a lower value to the customer but is needed as an active partner in go-to-market efforts.

Ternary

Ternary retrieves dynamic pricing data from AWS and GCP, providing cost, usage, and custom pricing, as well as usage metrics from cloud providers such as Stackdriver to enrich pricing data. Budgets can be managed from the top-level billing account down to specific projects or custom groupings. The solution supports alerting based on actual spend as well as forecasted spend. Because Ternary can be used as customer-managed software, it can run behind firewalls that would otherwise block functionality. This also allows Ternary to support more on-premises costing elements.

Ternary has a committed spend discount scenario modeler that allows for the automatic import of regions and CPU types. It can demonstrate via a slider the optimal amount of CPU and RAM to purchase for one- and three-year committed-use discounts. Reference budgets can be set per team, label, resource, or project, and differential spend can be tracked over time. Trends are displayed by day, week, month, and variable periods. These features contribute to a high score for the identification of cost optimization opportunities key criterion. This allows customers that want to or have contractual minimum spend to get discounts with cloud vendors to track after a contract is signed or to optimize the commitment before they sign a long-term contract with a cloud provider.

The Ternary reporting engine allows the quick creation of reports and dashboards. It can also be used to generate reports that combine Ternary data with external data sources. It’s built on GCP-native services with a BigQuery data lake. Graphs can load thousands of metrics instantly. These features contribute to a high score for the real-time decision-making key criterion.

Ternary’s API connects it to other systems. Integrations with Slack and Datadog are currently available. The company has integrations with Jira and ServiceNow on its roadmap for the near future. Additional metrics providers such as New Relic and Prometheus are also on the near-term roadmap. Ternary’s Kubernetes tool is agentless and can track container costs across clusters, namespaces, and workloads. This allows the tracking of Kubernetes cost and usage across pod labels.

Strengths: Ternary is strong on normalization of billing and comparing costs among cloud vendors, and it can compare cloud vendors to help with net-new load placement, and identify areas of significant savings to justify moving an application from one cloud vendor to a competitor. The product has good support for real-time decision making and identification of cost optimization opportunities, and this ability does not come at the cost of scalability, as Ternary has an exceptional ability to scale to meet the largest corporate needs.

Challenges: Ternary needs to improve integration with IT finance systems. Its support for on-premises workloads and private clouds (not reachable via the internet) is less than other vendors in this market and is limited to Anthose and Stratozone, but is more focused on Kubernetes costs. For most buyers this will not be an issue, but for those that want one cost management tool for hybrid workloads, it may be a deterrent.

Yotascale

Yotascale provides granular cost allocation of resources, services, accounts, subscriptions, and shared container resources, across single- or multicloud provider infrastructure. Using automated tagging policies and health management tools to improve cost allocation accuracy, Yotascale provides costs in the context of the customer business hierarchy, and can present this hierarchy through multiple views depending on the needs of the business. This enables Yotascale users to view costs from a different perspective than that of engineering. Additionally, Yotascale allows reallocation or cost distribution of any cloud service to be shared among multiple business units or contexts by defining which percentage of the cost each context is responsible for. This is critical as some cloud services can’t be fully allocated to a cost center, and instead are shared among multiple cost centers, departments, or applications.

Yotascale also allows the breakdown of budgets so various stakeholders can better understand their cloud spend and future needs. Budgets can be set for any business context and are monitored in real time for cost anomalies using AI learning of historical cost trends. Cost anomaly alerts and notifications are sent in real time via Slack or email to the responsible engineers based on their roles or assigned resources.

Yotascale normalizes billing and cost data across AWS and Azure, presenting an all-in-one view of multicloud costs, including containers. GCP is on the vendor’s roadmap for 2022. Yotascale provides multicurrency support, normalizing cloud costs in the finance department’s preferred currency. While it will normalize costs across cloud providers and currencies using exchange rate tables published daily, most finance departments want to track using the exchange rate used in their financial models.

Yotascale can provide rightsizing, downsizing, and termination recommendations for cloud infrastructure based on historical usage of compute, memory, and network, leveraging its APIs to pull that information from performance monitoring tools. These recommendations are sent directly to the engineers responsible for those assets via Slack or email, and provide a closed-loop feedback option for engineering to record the status of the recommendation.

Yotascale provides what-if analysis and recommendations for cloud provider savings plans and reserved compute instances, as well as reporting on usage relative to those plans. Multiple savings scenarios, from single- to multiyear, and varying levels of the equivalent of AWS’s reserved instances or spot pricing rates can be saved for team review and acted upon directly via API or links to the CSP contract tools.

REST APIs allow customers to integrate with existing IT, finance, and procurement tools. These APIs are read and write based, so information can be dynamically collected from Yotascale and dynamically written (for example, to define a business hierarchy). APIs are bidirectional; they can ingest data from as well as export into other systems. This includes the ingestion of workload configurations, financial data, performance data, and business information from third-party tools to ensure accurate cost allocation, and actionable recommendations based on cost and performance.

For security and access, Yotascale integrates with the most common enterprise authorization and authentication services, including SAML 2.0, Okta, Google SSO, Ping Federate, and Auth0. Yotascale supports role-based access control, ensuring that users only have access to the cost data and business contexts that apply to their role.

Strengths: Yotascale enables seeing costs through multiple views beyond those of engineering or business heads. Its design also allows it to scale to the largest enterprise needs—contributing to a high score for this evaluation metric—while providing the granular reports departmental heads or product owners need.

Challenges: Yotascale is relatively weak on cloud-rate optimization features compared to its competitors. While the product can scale, other aspects of the solution are better suited to the SMB market at this time. Enterprises need more integration and ability to monitor the health of Yotascale to meet their expectations. More critical is the need to improve the cloud rate optimization features to help a company plan for years two to three on a cloud budget cycle.

6. Analyst’s Take

As businesses mature in cloud usage, their attention moves beyond just getting to the cloud, to making spending align more with budgets. This is similar to what happened with the emergence of virtual machines in data centers over a decade ago. The promise of more business value for less money quickly pushed things out of control. Tools were needed to manage capacity, governance, and spending. Unfortunately, the lessons learned at that time were largely forgotten during the growth period of cloud deployments.

The FinOps Foundation is an outcome of the need to make financial accountability a permanent part of organizational response to uncontrolled cloud spending. The FinOps Foundation is codifying language, practices, and methodologies to accurately track cloud spend (and this can be extended to all IT spend). Finance, operations, and development all play a part in actively managing spending to align to budgeted values. For many companies, the immediate need is little more than accurate billing. There are vendors in this review that mainly or exclusively focus on accurate billing. While this is critical, it’s only a partial step on the journey. There are two types of partner memberships in the foundation—Premier and General. All of the vendors in this report have partner memberships. These vendors are Premier members: Apptio, Spot by NetApp, Flexera, Kubecost, and Ternary.

The future of FinOps will come in three formats. The first will be dedicated tools that support financial accountability of IT spend, moving beyond just cloud spending. The second will be the merging of tools for automated cloud deployments and management, cloud performance optimization, and financial accountability. The third will be the use of consulting services and training certifications to support qualified outsourcing or upscaling of current staff.

Over the next several years, FinOps tools will focus on either enforcing compliance or exposing deviations to approved spend. The best tools will also provide intelligent forecasting of, and optimization recommendations for, future spend. This is reflected in how many of these tools are monetized; you pay for a portion of what they save in reduced cloud spending. Over time, however, funding will change as businesses mature. That shift necessitates proactive operational governance. This, in turn, will drive demand for convergence of tools in the second half of this decade.

7. About Michael Delzer

Michael Delzer

Michael Delzer is a global leader with extensive and varied experience in technology. He spent 15 years as American Airlines’ Chief Infrastructure Architecture Engineer, and delivers competitive advantages to companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 corporations by leveraging market insights and accurate trend projections. He excels in identifying technology trends and providing holistic solutions, which results in passionate support of vision objectives by business stakeholders and IT staff. Michael has received a gold medal from the American Institute of Architects.

Michael has deep industry experience and wide-ranging knowledge of what’s needed to build IT solutions that optimize for value and speed while enabling innovation. He has been building and operating data centers for over 20 years, and completed audits in over 1,000 data centers in North America and Europe.. He currently advises startups in green data center technologies.

8. About Farhad Sayeed

Farhad Sayeed

Farhad Sayeed has been an IT leader in various software development, insurance, and airline industries for more than 25 years. He spent the last 17 years with one of the largest airlines, implementing enterprise technologies in various lines of business, such as cargo, loyalty, employee technology, regional airlines, and more.

Farhad provides vision and technical know-how in a wide variety of areas, including compute (on-prem and cloud), storage, data protection (backup, archiving, and so on), load balancing, virtual desktops, and infrastructure as code. He is a pioneer in hyperconverged/converged and virtualization technologies, and he led an OpenStack implementation to support Pivotal PaaS for vital airline applications.

Farhad architected and oversaw the governance of a Travel & Transportation industries’ first public cloud (Azure) implementation. His deep technical knowledge extends from designing and operationalizing data center and hybrid cloud solutions through implementing automation via CMP, SDN, CI/CD, and the like.

9. About GigaOm

GigaOm provides technical, operational, and business advice for IT’s strategic digital enterprise and business initiatives. Enterprise business leaders, CIOs, and technology organizations partner with GigaOm for practical, actionable, strategic, and visionary advice for modernizing and transforming their business. GigaOm’s advice empowers enterprises to successfully compete in an increasingly complicated business atmosphere that requires a solid understanding of constantly changing customer demands.

GigaOm works directly with enterprises both inside and outside of the IT organization to apply proven research and methodologies designed to avoid pitfalls and roadblocks while balancing risk and innovation. Research methodologies include but are not limited to adoption and benchmarking surveys, use cases, interviews, ROI/TCO, market landscapes, strategic trends, and technical benchmarks. Our analysts possess 20+ years of experience advising a spectrum of clients from early adopters to mainstream enterprises.

GigaOm’s perspective is that of the unbiased enterprise practitioner. Through this perspective, GigaOm connects with engaged and loyal subscribers on a deep and meaningful level.

10. Copyright

© Knowingly, Inc. 2022 "GigaOm Radar for Evaluating Financial Operations (FinOps) Tools" is a trademark of Knowingly, Inc. For permission to reproduce this report, please contact sales@gigaom.com.