Telstra claims over $500,000 in service credits from AWS, Microsoft and Google

Telstra has successfully claimed over half a million dollars of service credits from the three major cloud providers – AWS, Microsoft and Google – for incorrect charges levied in the past five months.

The telco revealed the figure in a presentation to the Apptio TBM ‘21 conference late yesterday, where process architect John Feore talked about Telstra’s FinOps – cloud financial management – efforts.

Feore said Telstra had been implementing TBM – technology business management – through Apptio software since 2015, as a way to account for application and IT system costs and to measure the value these assets delivered.

More recently, Telstra has started using Cloudability, a specific cloud financial management platform also made by Apptio, with Feore saying the telco had spent “a fair bit of time … getting Cloudability and Apptio linked together.”

The integration has been in place since June, and coincided with several efforts within Telstra that targeted more efficient and cost-effective use of public cloud services.

Feore said Telstra “runs FinOps for the cloud” – FinOps is a set of practices used to manage cloud spend – and that the FinOps team, together with internal “evangelists”, had “almost gamified” some cost reduction efforts.

“They’re actually trying to get internal competition [between] projects for better ways of designing, reviewing, or sharing some platforms,” he said.

“Even within AWS and Azure, we are sharing platforms and we have multiple applications running on single groups, whether it be data services or whether it be an application platform.”

Feore said evangelists in different areas of the telco had “taken on the business view [of cloud spend] and said, ‘We can do this a lot better, a lot cheaper, a lot more efficiently, by combining all these small cloud things into a shared platform’.”

This was the opposite of “the way people first started [in cloud], which was, ‘I’ve got my small thing and I’m a project team and I’m going to do it as if I was a very large application’,” Feore said.

“I think one of the key things is that Cloudability has been giving them some real access and linkages between performance, between recommendations and how much it’s costing, through to the FinOps team actually being able to see it summarised in Apptio.”

Business managers could also go behind the numbers they saw rolled up into Apptio by looking directly into Cloudability, where they could view change “trends on a daily basis”. 

“One of the things that has given us – I’ll say value but it’s actually cost reduction – is each of the cloud suppliers, because we have three, each of those tends to have an [internal to Telstra] evangelist that looks at the costs and has been able to identify where in fact – on occasions – the cloud supplier has been incorrectly charging us,” Feore said.

“We’ve had in the order of, just in the last four or five months, over half a million dollars worth of credits from people looking at cloud suppliers and saying, ‘Some of these conversion things should never have been charged, [or] some of these other costs [are incorrect]’.”