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You’re Not Monitoring Kubernetes Cost, and You Should Be

When I got my first (real) job washing dishes at an ice cream and sandwich shop, I spent every single penny I made in my first few paychecks. Then my dad suggested I start saving some money. I remember hearing the advice and thinking, "Huh, yeah I guess that makes sense." Paying attention to what the money was doing and being intentional about it seemed obvious, but I had never stopped to consider it before.

It seems like almost all financial advice to individuals says two things:

1) Start saving, even just a little bit, as soon as you can

2) Create a budget

And getting to adulthood comfortably usually requires some skill in at least one of these two categories.

What's fascinating to me is that most companies, while budget conscious, seem to have blind spots when it comes to costs in their cloud infrastructure. In fact the CNCF recently released a white paper on FinOps and Kubernetes and the title of it is literally, "Insufficient – or Nonexistent – Kubernetes Cost Monitoring is Causing Overspend." The title of the report is focused on the fact that many people are not doing cost monitoring on Kubernetes. At all.

I've been through enough corporate budget planning meetings to believe that budgets are probably quite common. But I also know  many companies just accept increases in cloud cost and don't ask any questions about where the money goes. It's a common joke amongst engineers with access to the cloud spend that they will have someone ask them about a stray Twix purchase (was this really for business reasons?), but they can spin up a few $10,000/instances in their company virtual private cloud (VPC) and no one will even notice.

This report shows that, when it comes to Kubernetes, there is even less visibility into where costs are going by cluster, namespace, or workload. And 68% of companies in this report said their costs are increasing.

CNCF report shows that the majority of companies are at-best estimating their Kubernetes costs.

I have to believe that if your own personal budget was increasing year over year you'd want to know where that money was going. Software for managing Kubernetes spend exists and, depending on your cloud spend, there is a good chance you'll save money by buying it and using it. In fact, when you demand your infrastructure teams use software to manage their Kube spend, their response will likely be "Huh, yeah I guess that makes sense."

The report is worth spending some time digging through. You may well be one of the many people ignoring your Kubernetes costs. Maybe someone on your team has told you the problem is too hard to monitor well —  and it is difficult to build this logic yourself because of the nuances of Kubernetes — but it’s also a solved problem with software like Fairwinds Insights.

There is no excuse to be running a business without insight into where your cloud spend is going. The same lessons that applied to me at 16 still apply to your business. It doesn’t have to be difficult! We can help make it easy — our free tier is a low-friction option you can use to get visibility into your Kubernetes spend quickly and get to the “Huh, yeah I guess that makes sense” stage.

Want to understand how Kubernetes is contributing to cloud spend? Read The Guide to Kubernetes Cost Optimization