This week I published my first Forrester Wave™: “The Forrester Wave: Cloud Cost Management And Optimization, Q4 2020“! This report is an update of the 2018 report. In 2020, the pandemic has spurred increased momentum in this space as companies look to slim down technology spending and repurpose this spend to power their adaptation. We looked at the top eight vendors in the market — Apptio, CloudCheckr, Densify, Flexera, Nutanix, Replex, Turbonomic, and VMware — and evaluated them across 27 criteria. Although the report stands alone with its results and key takeaways, I did want to take the opportunity to share some other key findings that didn’t make it into the report:

  • Pricing and support are key. Waves largely evaluate functionality, but customer references in this space revealed that pricing and the support models ranked far more important than functionality in their vendor selection process. In our conversation with 20 different customers, happiness with the product directly correlated to the level of support they received. Customers liked attentive product teams, adaptable roadmaps of which they could influence, agile functionality adds, and quick bug fixes. Second, customers wanted a product that had a good pricing model. Unsurprisingly, discounting, and in some cases severe ones, kept big clients from walking away. Ensure that your evaluation process considers these factors in addition to functionality.
  • Hyperscalers are playing a role, too. Increasingly, conversations with customers showed a mixed use of both cloud vendor’s cost management services along with third-party cost management platforms. As one customer reference noted, “Five years ago, AWS’s cost management tool was a dumpster fire. Now, I supplement its services with my own cost management solution.” One reason for the rise in use is that more  are jumping in on the game. We’ve seen Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) each offer and continue to improve on their product offerings. The other reason is that hyperscalers are pushing the pace of innovation and have the ability to provide “at time of provisioning” guidance rather than “after the fact” correction or guidance via policy. Third-party cost management tools are now pushed to embrace these new capabilities in their own tools and find ways to innovate on top of these solutions.
  • Containers, containers, containers. Most players in this space are working on flushing out their container management and optimization capabilities. Much of this is reflected in this report. Leaders in cost management offer full container support not just for one major cloud vendor but for the big three: AWS, Azure, and GCP. However, what is not noted is that multicloud container development platforms are building out cloud management capabilities and increasingly looking to get into the container cost optimization world.

All in all, this process was an ocean of emotion, but I’m incredibly proud of the final product. I believe this will be an incredibly useful tool for those looking to manage and optimize their cloud costs, especially as a means of adapting to their new reality. Use “The Forrester Wave: Cloud Cost Management And Optimization, Q4 2020” report to help you choose the cost management tool that best fits your needs. Remember, the devil is in the details. The upper right corner may not necessarily be the best choice for your organization. You can easily download the spreadsheet and customize the results for your priorities. Forrester clients can read the full report on our website. In a few weeks, we will be publishing “The Forrester Wave: Hybrid Cloud Management, Q4 2020.” Keep your eye out for that one.

If you’d like to discuss these findings or the cloud cost management landscape at large, please schedule an inquiry ( In the meantime, happy reading.