As an industry, cloud computing services have matured to become a staple of information technology in the enterprise. Organizations of all sizes are using cloud computing to achieve economies of scale that could never have been reached with conventional on premises solutions. But while the benefits of cloud computing solutions may be obvious, at least anecdotally, measuring the actual cost benefits can be a bit more elusive.

        By acquiring Cloudyn, a company that helps enterprises optimize their investments in cloud services, Microsoft is looking to add a toolset to Azure that can provide customers with a way to measure the cost benefits of cloud computing. It is an important step toward creating the dominant cloud services platform for business and confirms Microsoft’s strategy of competing in a mobile-first, cloud-first world.

        SEE: Microsoft Azure: The smart person’s guide

        Taking measures

        Microsoft confirmed the deal to acquire Cloudyn on June 29, 2017, for an amount speculated by Wall Street experts to be between $50 million and $70 million. The actual transaction amount is not publicly disclosed. Cloudyn and Microsoft were already close working partners, so the acquisition should not cause too much upheaval in terms of the technology. However, Microsoft did announce a major restructuring and layoffs the week after this acquisition.

        Cloudyn technology provides enterprises with optimization tools to help automate the process of monitoring their cloud costs with analytics. It is important to note that the technology also works with competing cloud services like Amazon’s AWS and Google’s Cloud. Indications are that the Cloudyn solutions will continue to support multiple cloud services even after the acquisition is complete. How that will work in reality is not clear.

        Enterprises deploying multiple cloud solutions across global boundaries need advanced analytical tools to monitor, measure, optimize, and manage those services. As cloud-based services have become so integral to business operations, the need to measure costs and manage the cloud network has become of paramount importance. Adding Cloudyn technology and solutions to the Azure toolset should enhance those capabilities for Microsoft customers.

        SEE: Use the free Azure price calculator to determine what services will cost before you sign up

        Bottom line

        Over the past year or so, the deployment of cloud-based solutions has seen a marked increase across all enterprises, big and small. According to a report published by Gartner in February 2017, the worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow to $246.8 billion in 2017, up from $209.2 billion in 2016. That’s an 18% increase.

        More and more, business is conducted via the cloud–it is now just standard operating procedure. That means the market for providing cloud services is about as competitive as any market can get. To stay in the game, Microsoft must take bold action to make Azure more alluring to a customer base clamoring for better and more efficient cloud solutions.

        Enterprises must be able to take the abstract benefits of cloud computing–like agility, scalability, and efficiency–and put a concrete, measurable cost number on them. Microsoft plans to incorporate the innovative tools developed by Cloudyn into Azure to make taking those cost measurements as automated and as analytical as possible. In the long run, it could be this toolset that differentiates Microsoft from the rest of the industry.

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        Your thoughts

        How does your enterprise measure the cost benefits of its cloud solutions? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.