AWS, Microsoft, Google and Oracle partner to make cloud spend more transparent

As enterprises move to the cloud, figuring out how and where they are spending their money has become increasingly difficult. The different SaaS provider and cloud platforms use their own definitions for how they report what these companies spend. On top of that, they then make that data available in different formats, too. All of this has given rise to FinOps, a new practice that aims to bring more accountability to cloud spend.

The FinOps Foundation today announced the first preview of its foundational project: the FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS). The companies involved here include companies that you would typically consider competitors, including AWS, Microsoft, Google, Oracle Cloud, IBM, Meta, VMware and large cloud users like Walmart and Capital One, as well as service providers like Atlassian, Twilio, Datadog and Snowflake. The fact that these companies are working together on creating this spec goes to show how pervasive this problem is.

“We are establishing FOCUS as the cornerstone lexicon of FinOps by providing an open-source, vendor-agnostic specification featuring a unified schema and language,” said Mike Fuller CTO at the FinOps Foundation. “With this release, we are paving the way for FOCUS to foster collaboration among major cloud providers, FinOps vendors, leading SaaS providers, and forward-thinking FinOps enterprises to establish a unified, serviceable framework for cloud billing data, increasing trust in the data and making it easier to understand the value of cloud spend.”

The idea behind FOCUS is to create a basic framework that normalizes cost and usage data between SaaS and cloud providers. The spec itself (PDF) includes definitions for commonly used terms and the kind of metrics that providers should attach to them.

Before the specification hits its 1.0 release, the project members expect to be able to take the spec and offer a library of real world use cases curated by FinOps practitioners from the likes of Capital One, among others.

“The FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS) — an initiative driven by the FinOps Foundation — is the result of years of effort from organizations frustrated by vast and complex bills,” Forrester analyst Lee Sustar noted earlier this year. “Given its backing by cloud users such as big banks and retailers, FOCUS is gathering momentum.”

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