Last week, Amazon.com VP and CTO Werner Vogels closed out re:Invent 2023 with his keynote address on the “frugal architect.” This isn’t the first time that Vogels has introduced this topic. In fact, it was a theme he originally introduced in 2012 that revolves around architecting with cost in mind. To me, and likely to all of us who think about cloud costs and FinOps on a daily basis, his words couldn’t have rung more true. Without actually saying the word “FinOps,” Vogels hit on some of the biggest themes of FinOps: cross-functional collaboration (i.e., “make sure your business decisions and your technology decisions are in harmony with each other”), shift-left cost management (i.e., “consider cost at every step of the design … every engineering decision is a buying decision”), implement a governance framework (i.e., “if you build a cost-aware architecture, you also need to implement cost controls … you can’t just rely on good intentions”), cloud-unit cost economics (i.e., “understand what you’re measuring and how that measurement can change behavior”), and sustainability (i.e., “cost is a close proxy for sustainability”).
Vogels also introduced two new tools that manage AWS environments at the application layer. myApplications is a new feature for the AWS Management console that provides unified visibility across cost, health, security, and performance per application and provides a wizard-based application designer. The second announcement, Amazon CloudWatch Application Signals, is an observability tool for distributed systems. These two features further enhance a very rich management portfolio that runs far deeper and wider than its competitors’ management tools.
AWS Joins FOCUS And The FinOps Foundation, Silently Validating FinOps For The Enterprise
After FinOps X, it became clear that AWS needed to join in on the FinOps Foundation in the FOCUS movement. I wrote about it then. In the following months, when we were developing our cloud predictions for 2024, I made the call that AWS would join the FinOps Foundation and the FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS), a Linux Foundation open source project, by the end of the year or next year. Before we could even publish our Predictions 2024 report — which launched in late October of this year — AWS had already joined the FinOps Foundation as a premier member. AWS didn’t take a backseat role either. Different individuals joined its governing board and technical advisory council. Within a few weeks, AWS joined FOCUS as part of the steering committee. Its latest Cost and Usage Report (CUR 2.0) will support FOCUS. This move is the final validation for the booming FinOps Foundation community that is already over 12,000 members strong.
Vogels’ keynote and revisiting of the “frugal architect” underscored the predominant question for cloud in 2023: “How can we maximize the value of our cloud spend?” This keynote, along with the announcement of new management tools for better application management and visibility, only underscores the weight of the FinOps movement. If anyone in operations, finance, business, or engineering had any doubts about the validity and role that FinOps plays in the modern cloud strategy, those doubts should be gone now. The refocusing on FinOps on the mainstage at AWS was a resounding statement of FinOps taking a seat at the executive table.
If you want to talk FinOps, I’d love to talk with you via an inquiry or a guidance session. Please reach out to email@example.com. Also, if you haven’t seen it yet, I created Forrester’s first solution blueprint this year. The topic? You guessed it: Optimize Your Cloud Costs With FinOps. Take a look!