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Cloud flexibility is for FinOps, too

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cathi-allen
Cathi Allen
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How come the IT and CloudOps guys seem to be so often at odds with the FinOps guys? How come FinOps guys are always pointing IT to the power of cloud flexibility–and want more of it? The friction and frustration are real. IT and CloudOps teams aren’t usually charged to spend the time and energy to deal with the financial aspects of things in their primary mission. These teams know what they need—and they need it now. FinOps teams, on the other hand, are all about the numbers, who spent what, utilization, and economic efficiencies. They also know what they need to do and what they’re responsible for. And the responsibilities of the two teams don’t always align. In that case the teams become frenemies. They work together, but not always smoothly, and they don’t necessarily like it.

IT and CloudOps guys, you have one overall job: Keep your hybrid multicloud environments running smoothly, securely, and efficiently. You need tools and services to do your job, and sometimes your need is urgent. You want to buy what you need as easily as getting a new cellphone case through Amazon Prime and your PayPal account — but that’s not the reality. To get the funds to do the real work often requires lengthy, cumbersome PO processes that feel archaic. Similarly, you may need to exchange product licenses that are no longer being used for licenses for a completely different product. Or you may need to move service entitlements from one system to another, but you can’t do that easily. Dealing with the economics of getting your job done is not what you signed up for.

It’s not always sunshine and rainbows for the FinOps guys either. Your primary task is to make sure that your company finances run right: that spending is managed, and resources are used effectively. You’re delighted by balanced economic efficiency. You know that the PO process isn’t easy, but it’s a reality to make sure that you have the necessary audit trails — that’s your jam. You’d love to make funding projects and purchases as easy as transferring money to your kid’s spending card, and you wish you had cloudlike flexibility for that, but that would disrupt governance and audit. So it’s a conundrum. 

Cloud Manager Digital Wallet

A key part of the answer to removing the “enemies” component from frenemies comes with the NetApp® Cloud Manager Digital Wallet. Digital Wallet is all about delivering value across the entire business, blending the power of unified hybrid multicloud management with real financial dynamics. Digital Wallet enables your IT and CloudOps teams to get the resources they need immediately, while the FinOps team has full visibility to support simplified acquisition, entitlement, and maximum consumption of resources. It’s a next-level “win-win.”

What is Cloud Manager Digital Wallet?

Digital Wallet is a service in Cloud Manager that delivers unified license and entitlement management to your data storage and data services resources. It serves as a secure repository of prepaid licenses for a variety of services, with the power to manage, exchange, and float entitlements and subscriptions from one product or system to another, all from one intuitive web UI. The Digital Wallet dashboard delivers to IT and CloudOps a centralized view of and access to their resources for immediate use, while providing FinOps real-time visibility of license allocation, utilization, and overall spending. IT and CloudOps teams can submit one PO for multiple credits and have FinOps deposit those credits into the Digital Wallet, where they are available for on-demand use.

Float and exchange licenses through Digital Wallet

However, Digital Wallet doesn’t just act like a license and entitlement debit card. It’s much more powerful than that. Digital Wallet enables you to exchange existing NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP® licenses that are not activated or used, for entitlement to other valuable data services such as NetApp Cloud Tiering, Cloud Backup, and Cloud Data Sense. The exchange rate depends on the initial Cloud Volumes ONTAP license type (High Availability or Single Node) and is converted into capacity-based licenses for one of the other supported cloud data service products. The exchange is easy and provides immediate access to the services you need. No more wasted licenses, and no more wading through red tape to get things done.

The Digital Wallet isn’t just for cloud services, either. If you have FabricPool licenses tied to an existing AFF or FAS system but would like to “float” them to another system or use them for cloud-based tiering, Digital Wallet can help. Simply upload the FabricPool license into Digital Wallet, and Cloud Tiering (powered by FabricPool technology) can use the remaining capacity and time available on that license for another AFF or FAS system. You can then manage all tiering instances in your environment from one platform. No more wasted resources as your environment and workloads change.

Manage Keystone Flex Subscription in Digital Wallet

And, get this, you can now manage NetApp Keystone™ Flex Subscription from Digital Wallet, too. Because these subscriptions are available for both ONTAP on-premises and Cloud Volumes ONTAP environments, you have a unified view across all your subscriptions. From the Digital Wallet dashboard, you have clear visibility into the number of subscriptions you have, your committed capacity, how that capacity breaks down, and any errors flagged, by subscription. You also have clear reporting on the subscription expirations and renewals. No more multiple tools to manage subscriptions.

FinOps finally gets cloud flexibility

Gone are the days of having to manage licenses from multiple consoles, UIs, and platforms. Also gone are the days of vague and disjointed reporting about availability, utilization, and spending for these resources. Gone are the manual report consolidation processes, the delays and hassles of requesting POs, getting approvals, allocating budget, technology acquisition, and tracking after the fact – and absolutely no one will miss that stuff. FinOps gets to realize the flexibility of the cloud, as they play happily in the same sandbox as their IT and CloudOps colleagues. Frenemies become…just friends.

Technology should always be this flexible, powerful, and easy. And it is, when it’s delivered by NetApp, the cloud storage specialists.

To learn more, check out NetApp Cloud Manager.

Cathi Allen

Cathi Allen is a long-time technologist. She started as a programmer and moved on to systems engineer, network and virtualization administrator, product management, and product marketing. Cathi has three master’s degrees: MSM – Information Systems Security, MBA – Project Management, MBA – Information Technology Management. Her thirty (30) plus years in the IT industry affords her the status of subject matter expert. She is currently the product marketing manager for Cloud Data Services at NetApp. She enjoys traveling, antiquing, movies, off-roading, camping, and hanging with her four-legged children.

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