If I called you and told you that your gasoline budget should be on the same dashboard as your movie ticket budget, you’d look at me like I just laid an egg. 

Why, then, do so many companies insist you need to view your GCP, Azure, and AWS spend in the same dashboard?

Different cloud providers run different workloads for your business (or at least they damn well should!) because multi-cloud for a given workload is invariably the wrong move. 

I go into this in some depth elsewhere. But today’s post is less about the poor strategic decision itself than it is the idea of having a dashboard to centralize all of your public cloud spend in the same context. 

When you’re using multiple providers, the billing dimensions are different, the confusion levels are similar, and there’s no direct comparison that makes sense at a resource level. CPU and RAM options alone vary to a point where it’s very hard to get 1:1 equivalence between instances (or virtual machines) across providers, so you’re rounding. Invariably, you’re rounding badly.

Your CFO doesn’t care what you’re spending on container orchestration. They care how big the checks you’re writing to AWS and Azure are, how much of those checks are for development versus production, and what those numbers are going to look like 18 months from now. 

The comparisons that can be exposed and shown via API aren’t the things that are relevant to a business context—and business context is something that cloud visibility dashboards are completely lacking. 

To wit, everyone’s got a metric for 500 errors. But nobody’s got a metric for how happy their users are.

It turns out there’s no API for business insight. 

My perhaps overly cynical take is that the companies selling these multi-cloud solutions have a vested interest in customers making suboptimal cloud decisions. 

If you go all in on a single cloud provider, the right dashboard answer is either “the one they provide for your use” or “picking up the phone and yelling at them until the dashboard they provide for your use meets your needs.” It’s not cutting large checks (or worse, a percentage of your cloud bill!) to third-party companies that are selling a solution for a problem you almost certainly don’t have. 

What’s worse is that as native dashboards continue to improve, third-party vendors become actively incentivised to encourage and promote multi-cloud strategies that actually  harm their customers. 

I remain steadfast in my opinion that a big driver behind multi-cloud discussions is a sea of vendors who depend on you making a poor decision. Otherwise, they have nothing to sell you.