Optimization KPIs & Rightsizing Workflows

J.R. Storment
J.R. Storment in Member Calls
14th April 2019

This week, we had a great speaker from ThermoFisher Scientific, one the biggest companies you’ve probably never heard of with revenues of more than $20 billion and approximately 70,000 employees globally according to LinkedIn. They use AWS to provide a platform that helps medical researchers and scientists securely store, analyze and share data globally. Sarah Hussainy, is the Sr IT Project Manager of Cloud Financials.


Sarah’s team has been deploying rightsizing and optimization KPIs across their enterprise based on workflows and schedules and she led a solid discussion around the areas of:

– FinOps Organizational Structure
– Optimization KPI’s, sample dashboards and how they are shared
– Rightsizing process, workflows and opt-outs
– RI thresholds and goals
– What they’ve learned

Before getting started, Sarah shared the structure of the team at ThermoFisher Scientific who does Cloud Financial Management. The FinOps practitioner, Sarah in this case, has reporting lines to both a technology leader and a finance leader and partners with automation and optimization engineers to enact change in the organization. Her role is focused on financial analysis monitoring and tracking their spend and optimization efforts. The automation manager helps implement and automate things like their rightsizing optimizations.

Below is a summary of their optimization processes in Sarah’s words:


We have an $Xm cost avoidance goal. We plan to achieve that by ramping up our RI coverage to 80%. We break down our RI coverage by budget tranches. As we continue to buy RIs, we want to ensure a high RI utilization. We have a goal of 95% RI utilization and track that by budget tranches as well.

We have a KPI for tagging as it’s critical to our optimization efforts. The application owner tag is critical to our efforts around rightsizing. We also track Rightsizing opt-out. We track who has opted in and out of the recommendations we provide to them. Our goal is to get to only 25% of rightsizing recommendations being opted out of.

Also, we’re tracking our cloud provider budgets across two things: 1) our commit to the provider and 2) our budget progress within each budget tranche. Finally, we track a total opportunities to save number via rightsizing and RI coverage and how that number changes over time. We have a target for 2019 for how low we want to get the total opportunities to save.

We meet bi-weekly to go through FinOps plans. We review status on various optimization tasks, discuss roadblocks and how to remediate them, and a plan for future optimizations like Future Right Sizing, RI Purchases, RI conversions, etc. that are scheduled on the shared calendar and later loaded to our Schedule Tracker for planned optimizations.

It shows optimization tasks assigned by owners with an associated color coding based on progress.

Our rightsizing process is fully automated. At the start, we kick off rightsizing scripts that links to their cost management vendor recommendations API. The recommendations are then queried into the table and a change request submitted for change review for all production instances. If the change is approved, an email is sent out to the application owner notifying them that they have a rightsizing saving opportunity.

If the application owner opts into rightsizing, it’s automatically executed at the date and time specified in the email. Once that rightsizing has been executed, then we publish the cost avoidance associated with the rightsizing. If they opt out, that data is also queried into a table to create a “Wall of Shame” that we call the Opt-Out wallThen we try to better understand why people may be opting out of the process.

Here is a sample email of what an application owner will receive when they have a candidate for rightsizing, along with information on the instance and the recommended change and savings.


Sarah then went into a lot of detail on how they track rightsizing savings and apply reserved instance processes behind them. For details, we recommend you check out the video of her talk in the members section of FinOps.org.

To join the conversation about FinOps, we invite you to join the FinOps Foundation. Each week, we host conversations like this with the world’s thought leaders in this space.

Keep breaking down the silos…