Cloud
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5 mins
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Highlights from the FinOpsX Conference

by

Jon Thompson

Last week I attended the FinOps Foundation’s FinOpsX conference in Austin, Texas. It was great to catch up with lots of FinOps folks I’ve met remotely and in London, and to meet many more.

It was my first time in Austin. As well as attending the conference, I had some amazing BBQ, and saw the Austin Bridge Bats. It was also great to see the city gearing up for Pride, with rainbow flags in shops and venues all over the downtown area.

A few of my highlights from the conference were:

1 - Opening Keynote - State of FinOps Data & Latest Cloud Spend Forecast

The opening keynote looked at the latest state of FinOps data (now available here), and how the community is maturing. The latest Gartner Cloud spend forecast was also shared - a staggering $1.8 Trillion of Enterprise IT Spending that could shift to the Cloud by 2025.

2 - Driving Industry Standards

One session was about the Open Billing Standard which is being driven by one of the FinOps Foundation’s pillars. Currently large organisations have to handle myriad different billing data structures across the Hyperscalers and SaaS providers. The goal of the initiative is to standardize this. For me, as well as being a great idea in its own right, it highlights the benefit for us all of getting people together in the Foundation. Any of us individually could not effect such change, but as a group we can.

3 - KPIs and Maturity

I attended a great talk on how one organization has approached KPIs. They’re now entering their 3rd year of these. A key message was that they have adjusted over the 3 years to reflect the maturing of the organization and the successes & failures of previous years. Don’t keep your KPIs too fixed, let them evolve so they continue to focus the organization in the right way.

Virtasant's booth at FinOps X
Virtasant's booth at FinOps X

4 - Lightning Talks

One of my favourite parts of the conference was the Lightning Talks. A series of 10 minute presentations on a wide variety of topics. All kinds of things: from how to handle the challenges presented by billing data delays, through Governance as Code, and (one of my personal favourite topics) how to successfully engage engineers in a FinOps programme. On the latter topic I also attended a very lively discussion about understanding the difference between Financial and Engineering mindsets.

5 - Reservations & Savings Plans - Understand Flexibility

I attended a Chalk Talk session about Reservations. It reinforced something I’ve seen with our clients: there is a wide variation in the level of experience and understanding of these savings vehicles. For me the key point is that everyone should understand the flexibility they can have. For example, many people see a 3 year Azure Reservation as a fixed point, a lock-in on one compute family for 3 years. That holds them back from achieving a high reservation coverage for fear of being stuck with reservations they can no longer use. But the flexibility that exists means you can adjust what is covered over the 3 years to reflect your changing footprint. Some organisations take advantage of this to rebalance their Reservation portfolio very frequently, and there are some products available that can do this for you if your situation warrants that.

Conclusion

I could have covered many more highlights, there were so many useful sessions and informal discussions. The FinOps Foundation and the community it supports is continuing to mature. I’m looking forward to next year’s conference, and other meet-ups in the interim.

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