CNCF Releases FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS) 1.0
June 20, 2024
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The FinOps Foundation, a part of The Linux Foundation's non-profit technology consortium focused on advancing the people and practice of FinOps, announced the General Availability (GA) of the FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS) Version 1.0.

By creating a uniform format for cloud bills across different cloud providers, FOCUS reduces complexity for FinOps practitioners and eases adoption of cloud infrastructure and software.

All of the leading cloud providers, including Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), and Oracle Cloud, have all formally contributed to the development of Version 1.0. FOCUS boasts a Steering Committee with voting members from leading cloud providers as well as practitioners from some of the largest and most advanced cloud users in the world.

Today, the specification's 1.0 release is ready for general adoption having passed through a rigorous approval and IP review process. In the coming months, the Foundation expects to see improving data exports from billing generators such as the clouds, platforms, private cloud, and SaaS providers.

While this is an early major milestone in the FOCUS journey, the specification is just getting started. As the Use Case Library expands, FOCUS contributors, maintainers and steering committee members are already working on the 1.1 release and planning for the 1.2 release. The depth and quality of the spec will increase over time and the project expects to see billing generators (e.g. the clouds) increase the quality of their FOCUS outputs. As adoption grows, more vendors plan to support FOCUS data ingestion and reporting, adopt FOCUS terminology in their platforms, and align billing data outputs to the requirements in the specification.

Version 1.0 includes common taxonomy, terminology, and metrics for billing datasets produced by cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers. FOCUS will be extensible to other cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) billing datasets, including networking, observability, and security tools. Future updates are expected to add further support for SaaS providers and on-premises datasets.

"Adopting FOCUS now immediately gives cloud consumers the benefit of normalized cloud spend, plus starts them on a journey with the specification that will allow them to easily add future types of spending as iterative releases improve it. It solves for today's use cases, but it also sets you up for tomorrow's opportunities," said Mike Fuller, CTO at the FinOps Foundation. "We've moved beyond the initial building phase for FOCUS and into the phase where practitioners can use these datasets to perform multi-cloud discount analysis, optimize resource usage, and allocate shared costs. FOCUS makes it easier for organizations to increase value from their cloud investments."

To help realize business value, FinOps practitioners worked with the FinOps Foundation to build a library of over forty common FinOps use cases, each complete with an SQL query that leverages FOCUS columns to answer critical business questions. These use cases offer a standardized approach to extracting answers from billing data and give practitioners time back to work on higher priority FinOps capabilities.

To get to this simple set of columns that makes FOCUS so impactful, thousands of hours of discussion and reviews occurred in an operational structure that allows community inputs, and contains a set of IP protections processes to protect adopters from patent infringement concerns. Getting to consensus on a specification takes time, and deep discussion with product experts from the entire environment of cloud. Some conversations around simple labels and column descriptions are the culminations of hundreds of hours of conversations with dozens of contributors.

"The general availability of the FOCUS 1.0 specification represents not only a pivotal step in IT cost management but also a huge step forward in supporting multicloud strategies in billing disintermediation from any specific vendor environment. This is a BIG deal. All organizations of any size and at any point in their cloud journey and across all industries will benefit immensely. FOCUS 1.0 is the first step in a long journey towards the abstractable, composable cloud. It removes the burden of the multi-skill set knowledge required to manage costs across all of the tools and clouds organizations use to manage and support their IT environment. In doing so, organizations can more easily optimize their cloud investments and drive sustainable financial growth," said Tracy Woo, Forrester Principal Analyst.

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