19/05/2022 Benjamin Van der Maas

FinOps Shared Responsibility Model

The theory

When someone starts their journey into the AWS cloud resources and services, one of the first things they are bound to run into is the AWS Shared Responsibility Model for security. The model describes how it is both up to AWS and the end user to ensure that their cloud workloads are sufficiently secure. AWS makes the destinction between security of the cloud and security in the cloud. While AWS will take care of protecting the infrastructure that runs the services offered in the AWS Cloud (this goes for the hardware, software, networking, …), the customer is responsible to secure the workloads they create with infrastructure and services provided by AWS.

When talking FinOps or Cloud Financial Management, we can also discern a very similar shared responsibility model. Instead of the security aspect of the cloud, the cost efficiency is a shared responsibility on multiple levels of the organization. The FinOps team or expert is in charge of standards and guidelines and makes sure the proper guard rails, cost monitoring and alerting, processes and rate optimization are in place. The engineering teams making use of the cloud services within the organization can then work on making sure the solutions they architect and engineer are as cost efficient as possible.

In short, the centralized FinOps efforts (whether that is a team or a person) are responsible for the cost efficiency of the cloud, while the different parts of the organization (the engineering teams, security teams, developers and so on) are responsible for cost efficiency in the cloud.

FinOps Shared Responsibility Model

Into practice

Now, this is a nice theoretical model. Putting it into practice can be a bit more tricky. In order to make the different parts aware of their responsibility, it is very important that real-time data of the cloud costs are available at all times. To make that happen, you’ll want to have a solid showback model in place. Here’s a few things you can do:

  • Reporting is crucial to help the teams understand how they are doing in terms of costs. While you can work on getting information to the product owner, system owner or project manager, it is even better to make cost/usage information directly available to the teams driving the cost.

TIP: Third-party tools like Cloudcheckr allow you to set-up automated alerting and reporting directly in your Slack, MS Teams or other spaces. This is a powerful way to let teams know what they are spending without having to manually surf to a dashboard that may or may not work.Need help setting this up? We can get it done for you! Reach out.

  • Create communication about what efforts are being made and what the savings are. If your centralized FinOps team/person pushes for some reserved instances and savings plan, it is important that the engineering teams are aware of this. Knowing that there is a compute savings plan in place might incentivise them to use more AWS Lambda or Fargate instead of EC2 in solutions they are building.

TIP: Try sending out bi-weekly or monthly updates to the different stakeholders via your internal sharepoint or KMS (Confluence allows for some great hooks into slack to do this).

  • Instead of doing a shame-back model and punishing cost inefficiency, make sure you provide mentoring and support for the teams that face challenges in their cost efficiency.

TIP: Set-up a weekly office hour where teams have the opportunity to come and pose challenges. If this does not gain the traction you hope for, try inviting people directly until they find the way themselves.

As always, we remain available to help, spar and advise if you need us. Be sure to reach out!



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