Fudge Sunday - Once in a Pipeline

by Jay Cuthrell
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This week we take a look at FinOps via Fuller, Franklin, Talking Heads, and Cunningham.

Music: Talking Heads - Once in a Lifetime (1980)

Getting Informed

~300 years earlier in our jargon filled shift-left world, Thomas Fuller and Benjamin Franklin offered the proverbial phrases about one timely stitch and one ounce of prevention. Indeed, we know we must approach challenges with financial operational excellence perspective to avoid more expensive stitches and to avoid an expensive pound of cure.

~42 years ago, Talking Heads released their album Remain in Light which was produced by Brian Eno. One track, “Once in a Lifetime”, gained notoriety due in large part to a new and innovative approach that creatively combined video and music to create a brand new genre (now commonly known as a music video) that aired on the newly formed cable entertainment channel Music Television (MTV).

~30 years ago, Ward Cunningham coined the term “Technical Debt”. In effect, Cunningham captured the essence of deleterious deferral of diligence, decisions, and debugging by developers in dollars.

~10 years ago, the focus on value management in IT by companies was often referred to as Technology Business Management aka TBM. Today, combined with modern cloud economics, the discipline of TBM has a wider audience of increasingly DevOps and DevSecOps culture oriented communities embracing FinOps.

To understand FinOps, let’s explore how the lyrics and music video innovation of Talking Heads can unify what Cunningham saw in micro with what Franklin and Fuller saw in macro. So, we begin by looking lyrically at FinOps in general.

🎶 Once in a pipeline, revenue flowing underground 🎶

“Well, how did I get here?”

FinOps is a direct response to the broadly exuberant embrace of whim based on-demand cloud technology stacks, ungoverned adoption rates, and morning after regret when that unexpectedly higher party bill arrives. In fact, one 2021 survey canvased 800+ attendees of the $30B party.

So, understanding why FinOps exists might be as simple as realizing complexity grows until it collapses in our pursuit to simplify and control costs. As such, focusing on value early and often instead of costs after the fact is an evolved (shift-left) posture that embraces Gall’s Law.

“How do I work this?”

Again, getting started with FinOps might begin with a big bill surprise followed by a sudden interest in FinOps. Or, to borrow the iconic commercial phrases…

“Turn your phone off, Jeremy. Turn! It! Off!”

“For crying out loud, Jeremy. Close an app!”

For example, consider policies as a progression towards value realization.

Showback = Crawl

  • Show what was consumed
  • Show who consumed what

Chargeback = Walk

  • Show who consumed what
  • Draw against the appropriate budget

Shameback = Run

  • Show who consumed what
  • Draw against the appropriate budget
  • Report on value return (revenue) per investment (consumption costs)

“Am I right, am I wrong?”

Applying FinOps is, in practice, a combination of people, processes, and tools. Holistically, the progression of policy above is only possible if you plan to take initiative (sit) and operationalize (fly).

Telemetry = Sit

  • Gather all cost sources
  • Gather all mapping of cost sources to organizational groupings

Showback = Crawl

Chargeback = Walk

Shameback = Run

Automation = Fly

In other words, progress will come from iterations upon innovative combinations and convergence of cultural disciplines that value an operator mindset. The cultural disciplines will be DevOps, DevSecOps, GitOps, DevCommsOps, FinOps, DataOps, MLOps, ModelOps, AIOps, RevOps, and the future .NextOps to-be-named operational culture mindsets that push service provider ethos deeper into even the largest enterprise matrix organizational chart.

Recommended Read and Repo

Newsletter section experiment: One thought provoking read and repository

Good = FinOps and Great = RevOps

The inspiration for this FinOps issue of the newsletter is Grey Meyer at Find Data Ops. Greg is a must subscribe writer asking great questions.

What would happen if every department had only one place to look for changes?



Good = Reported and Great = Estimated

What if instead of getting reported costs after the fact you could gather estimated costs before incurring costs in the first place? For example, infracost provides a FinOps tool to gather cloud cost estimates for Terraform in pull requests and in the CI before the CD💰📉




I am linking to my disclosure.


✍️ 🤓 Edit on Github 🐙 ✍️

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