Not so in public cloud environments, where every month brings a reminder of the cost of running systems. Many companies are now spending tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of dollars per month with AWS. Those numbers draw the attention of upper management. Questions will inevitably arise: "What are we doing to spend so much? Is there some way to detail what we're spending and whether we're getting our moneys worth?"
While Amazon does its best regarding billing, enterprises running complex application environments-dozens of applications, deployments for development, testing, load testing, staging and production for each app, and multiple versions of each application-clearly find the current state of AWS billing inadequate.
Look for 2013 to be the year of cloud spend management solutions to become a big deal. (To be clear, these are systems designed to manage the amount of money you're spending on running your cloud-based applications, not cloud-based spend management applications such as Ariba.) These systems track what you spend, identify under-utilized servers and make recommendations on different deployment arrangements that can save you money. They don't help you operate your applications to be elastic in the face of variable demand-that's the job of cloud management software-but they can help you make sure you aren't wasting money on overprovisioning servers or not choosing spending plans wisely.
Overall, 2013 Will Be a Year of Transition, Change
We are in the midst of a multi-year shift from traditional static compute environments based on inefficient asset ownership to a new form of agile environments based on infrastructure rental accompanied by careful operation. Next year will be the year in which this transition reaches a point where the discussion shifts from "It's not like what I've currently got and doesn't have the advantages my current environment brings" to "It's not like what I've got, and thank goodness, because it doesn't come with all the drawbacks my current environment has."