The FinOps Foundation today announced the availability of FOCUS – the FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification – version 1, created to provide a uniform format for cloud billing across the different providers.

The world’s top cloud providers – Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Oracle – have contributed to the development of the specification, which has now passed through an IP review and approval process to be made public. Looking ahead, the foundation, under the auspices of The Linux Foundation, expects billing from clouds, platforms, private clouds and SaaS providers to have improved data exports. The goal is to reduce complexity for FinOps practitioners and ease adoption of cloud infrastructure and software, the foundation wrote in its announcement. 

“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,” Forrester Principal Analyst Tracy Woo said in the announcement. “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.”

According to the foundation, version 1 is just a start, and it expects to see cloud and cloud service providers support FOCUS data ingestion and reporting, adopt FOCUS terminology in their platforms, and align billing data outputs to the requirements in the specification.

FinOps practitioners worked with the FinOps Foundation to come up with a library of more than 40 common use cases for FinOps, each with an SQL query that leverages FOCUS columns to answer critical business questions. These use cases, the foundation wrote, offer a standardized approach to extracting answers from billing data, and give practitioners time back to work on higher-priority FinOps capabilities

Version 1.0 includes common taxonomy, terminology, and metrics for billing datasets, and the foundation noted that the specification will be extensible to other cloud Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) billing datasets, including networking, observability, and security tools. 

“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.”

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