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Broadcom and Google Cloud’s FinOpsX 2024 Announcements: A Deep Dive

Broadcom and Google Cloud's FinOpsX 2024 Announcements: A Deep Dive

The News: The FinOps community gathered this week in San Diego for what is becoming the go-to event for all things cost management. Check out the Broadcom and Google announcements.

Broadcom and Google Cloud’s FinOpsX 2024 Announcements: A Deep Dive

Analyst Take: The FinOps community, specifically cloud financial operations, has experienced excellent growth in recent years. This growth was clear at the FinOpsX conference as the number of certified professionals doubled from 11,000 in 2023 to an impressive 22,000 this year. With efficiency and cost management top of mind for organizations, it’s clear that there is an increasing understanding of the importance of FinOps in the modern cloud landscape.

The introduction of the FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS) 1.0 highlights significant strides being made within this community. This open-source specification sets clear requirements for cloud vendors to produce consistent cost and usage datasets, reducing complexities of cloud financial management. Similar to the Open Telemetry (OTEL) community’s efforts to standardize data collection, FOCUS aims to provide a unified approach to cloud cost data. Both initiatives strive to enhance interoperability, reduce complexity, and empower professionals with standardized, reliable data.

Broadcom and Google’s Announcements

At FinOpsX, Broadcom announced a shift in its strategy by adapting VMware’s go-to-market model for its software portfolio. Arrow Electronics has been tasked with streamlining the purchasing, management, and support processes for VMware Tanzu CloudHealth as the exclusive global provider. This move aims to consolidate Broadcom’s approach while aligning with its broader vision of enhancing user experience through dedicated partnerships.

The industry’s reaction to this pivot has been skeptical. Many commentators argue that this consolidation limits customer choice and flexibility, raising concerns about monopolistic tendencies within the cloud services market. Broadcom risks alienating customers who value diversity in their cloud service providers by narrowing the distribution and support channels to a single provider. Additionally, this move may stifle competition within the ecosystem as other potential providers and partners are excluded from participating in the CloudHealth market. Many stakeholders are questioning the long-term benefits of Broadcom’s approach and the overarching sentiment in the market seems to lean toward apprehension.

On the other hand, Google Cloud’s announcements at FinOpsX 2024 were met with excitement and optimism. I met with Sarah McMullin, Group Product Manager, Cloud FinOps at Google Cloud to discuss the announcements the company made at the event. One of the most notable was the introduction of a new BigQuery view that transforms Google Cloud cost data to align with the latest FOCUS specification. This development should enable users to visualize and filter their billing data according to standardized metrics while also looking to reduce manual work and enhance data-driven decision-making.

Google Cloud also introduced Gemini Cloud Assist that is a tool designed to augment FinOps cost management capabilities. Gemini Cloud Assist leverages AI to help users create cost reports, summarize key insights, and uncover granular cost trends. This tool seeks to provide accurate, real-time insights while enabling FinOps professionals to optimize their cloud spending. Google’s focus lies in accuracy and privacy with Gemini Cloud Assist and it highlights its commitment to addressing the needs of FinOps practitioners. For me, the native integration of Gemini into Google services is going to be one of the ways in which Google differentiates in the AI era.

Lastly, Google Cloud integrated carbon footprint reporting into its FinOps hub, which allows users to optimize their cloud environments for financial performance and sustainability. This integration could provide actionable insights to reduce carbon emissions while achieving business goals that further aligns with Google’s dedication to holistic cloud management. The overall sentiment around Google’s announcements at FinOpsX seems to be optimistic with “forward-thinking” and “customer-centric” at the heart of the message.

FOCUS 1.0 Launches

The FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS) 1.0 was a major highlight of the announcements at FinOpsX 2024. This announcement represents a standardization in cloud financial operations by providing a cohesive approach for cloud vendors to produce consistent cost and usage datasets. This open-source specification simplifies cloud financial management while enabling FinOps practitioners to make data-driven decisions with greater ease and accuracy. By offering a unified approach to cloud cost data, FOCUS looks to enhance the transferability of FinOps skills across different clouds, tools, and organizations.

This initiative is analogous for me to what the OpenTelemetry (OTel) community is accomplishing in the observability space. OTel aims to create a cohesive system for collecting telemetry data, ensuring that metrics, logs, and traces are consistent and interoperable across diverse platforms. Both FOCUS and OTel seek to reduce complexity, enhance data reliability, and promote industry-wide standards. These efforts empower professionals to leverage standardized, reliable data for improved decision-making and operational efficiency in their respective domains. Put another way, laptop vendors don’t want to discuss power supplies; they just want USB-C to be a standard.

Looking Ahead

The increasing maturity of the FinOps space was evident at FinOpsX, with over 80 vendors showcasing their solutions. This ecosystem reflects the growing sophistication and specialization within the FinOps community. The introduction of FOCUS 1.0 is a milestone in standardizing cloud cost data by providing a foundation for more consistent and transparent financial operations. The involvement of the big three hyperscalers—Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud—along with key players such as Oracle and IBM, exemplifies the role these giants play in shaping the future of FinOps.

As the FinOps community continues to grow and evolve, the emphasis on standardized data and transparent cost management will likely intensify. The support for initiatives such as FOCUS and OTEL call attention to a broader industry trend toward interoperability and collaboration, which is important for enabling organizations to navigate the complexities of multi-cloud environments.

The announcements at FinOpsX 2024 give emphasis to the dynamic nature of the FinOps space. While Broadcom’s strategy shift has raised concerns, Google’s innovations have been positively received, reflecting the diverse approaches within the industry. The ongoing efforts to standardize cloud cost data and the increasing involvement of major cloud providers promise a bright future for FinOps.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

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Author Information

Regarded as a luminary at the intersection of technology and business transformation, Steven Dickens is the Vice President and Practice Leader for Hybrid Cloud, Infrastructure, and Operations at The Futurum Group. With a distinguished track record as a Forbes contributor and a ranking among the Top 10 Analysts by ARInsights, Steven's unique vantage point enables him to chart the nexus between emergent technologies and disruptive innovation, offering unparalleled insights for global enterprises.

Steven's expertise spans a broad spectrum of technologies that drive modern enterprises. Notable among these are open source, hybrid cloud, mission-critical infrastructure, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech innovation. His work is foundational in aligning the strategic imperatives of C-suite executives with the practical needs of end users and technology practitioners, serving as a catalyst for optimizing the return on technology investments.

Over the years, Steven has been an integral part of industry behemoths including Broadcom, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), and IBM. His exceptional ability to pioneer multi-hundred-million-dollar products and to lead global sales teams with revenues in the same echelon has consistently demonstrated his capability for high-impact leadership.

Steven serves as a thought leader in various technology consortiums. He was a founding board member and former Chairperson of the Open Mainframe Project, under the aegis of the Linux Foundation. His role as a Board Advisor continues to shape the advocacy for open source implementations of mainframe technologies.

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