Blog - ParkMyCloud

New: Log in to ParkMyCloud with SSO for Security & Ease

SSO for security and easeWe’re happy to announce today that ParkMyCloud now supports single sign-on (SSO) using Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) 2.0. The following identity providers are supported:

  • Azure Active Directory
  • Google Apps
  • Okta
  • Ping

When you use SSO, your users are authenticated against your own directory services/identity provider and then, once authenticated, will be logged in to ParkMyCloud. If the user account does not exist within ParkMyCloud, it is automatically created.

SSO For Security & Simplicity

With SSO, signing into ParkMyCloud is easier than ever. Simply sign in using your preferred identity provider for an even more streamlined ParkMyCloud experience. Reduce the number of passwords you need to remember and type in – and use SSO for security by keeping a single point of authentication.

Additionally, with SSO, ParkMyCloud account administrators can add new users using existing sign-on infrastructure – simply send an invitation to your users to add them to ParkMyCloud.

Get Started

Are you ready to set up single sign-on for your ParkMyCloud account? Check out this article on our support page: Setting Up Single Sign-on (SSO) in ParkMyCloud.

Curious what else ParkMyCloud plans to release this year? Please see Triple the Clouds, Triple the Fun: What’s Coming in ParkMyCloud in 2017. We’re always happy to hear your feedback and suggestions.

 

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How to Save Money in DevOps: Interview with FinTech Company Using ParkMyCloud

We spoke to Tosin Ojediran, a DevOps Engineer at a FinTech company, about how he’s using ParkMyCloud as part of his approach to save money in DevOps.

Hi Tosin. So you work in FinTech. Can you tell us about what your team does within the company?

save money in devopsI’m on the DevOps team. We’re in charge of the cloud infrastructure, which ranges from servers to clusters and beyond. We have the task of maintaining the integrations between all the different services we use. Our main goal is to make sure our infrastructure is up and running and to maintain it. Our team just grew from two to three people.

What drove you to search for a cost optimization tool?

Last year, we were scaling our business, and with all the new development and testing, we kept needing to launch new clusters, databases, and instances. We did monitor the costs, but it was the Finance team that came to us and said, “hey, what’s going on with AWS? The costs keep going up, can you guys find a way to reduce this bill or move to a cheaper provider?”

So we looked into different options. We could move to Google for example, or we could move on prem, but at the time we were a team of two running a new project, trying to get things up and running, so we didn’t have the time. We had to find out how we could save money in DevOps without spending all our time to move to a new infrastructure. We went online to do research and came across ParkMyCloud, and started a trial.

What challenges did you experience in using AWS prior to using ParkMyCloud?

Like I mentioned, we were trying to cut costs. To do that, we were brainstorming about how we could write scripts to shut down machines during certain hours and spin them up. The problem was that this would require our time to write, integrate, and maintain.

We have different automation tools and containers – Chef, Docker machines, and Auto Scaling. Each of these takes time to script up. This all takes away from the limited time we have. With ParkMyCloud, we didn’t need to spend time on this automation – it was fast and simple. It allowed me to have all teams, including Analysts and others outside of the DevOps team, park their own resources. If you have a script that you run and if you have a two-man DevOps team, every time someone wants to park their machine, or start it outside of hours, they have to call me and ask me to do start their machines for them. But now with ParkMyCloud, I can assign machines to individual teams, they can start their machines whenever you want them – and it’s easy to use, you don’t have to know programming to use it

It frees up my time, because now everyone can control their own resources, when they used to have to ask me to do it for them.

Can you describe your experience so far using ParkMyCloud?

It’s been great for us to reduce AWS costs. We’re better staying within budget now. ParkMyCloud actually really exceeded my expectations. We sent the savings numbers to our CTO, and he said, “wow, this is awesome.” It’s easy to use, it does what it’s supposed to use. We’re reducing our bill by about 25-30%.

One other thing I love about ParkMyCloud. So, I work with a lot of vendors. A lot of times, they promise you one thing, and you get something else. There’s different terms and conditions, or you have to pay extra to actually qualify for different features. But with ParkMyCloud, it was up and running in 5-10 minutes, it was easy to integrate, easy to use, and you all deliver what you promise.

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Watch: Introducing ParkMyCloud for Microsoft – Reduce Azure Costs by 60% or more

Last week, we held a web session introducing ParkMyCloud for Microsoft Azure. We’re excited to open up the ParkMyCloud platform to Azure customers, so you can get the same savings that AWS customers have been enjoying for the past year and a half.

Watch the video here, and use the guide below to skip ahead to the parts of the session that interest you:

    • 00:28 What is ParkMyCloud?
      • WHAT: Simple, single-purpose SaaS tool.
      • HOW: Automatically schedule on/off times for idle servers.
      • WHY: Optimize cloud services spending.
      • ROI: Save 60% or more; 6 week payback.
    • 01:13 How ParkMyCloud Works
      • •Discover & Manage cloud computing resources
      • •Analyze & Recommend resources to ‘Park’
      • •Policies automatically schedule resources for off/on
      • •SAVE $$$!!!
    • 01:48 ParkMyCloud vs. AWS cost savings options
    • 02:15 How much has ParkMyCloud saved our customers?
    • 02:39 The Azure World
      • Your Azure Account (Active Directory Tenant ID)
      • Your Azure Subscription (Subscription ID)
      • Your Application (Application ID)
      • Service Principal for Your Application
      • Limited Active Directory Role for Service Principal
      • Your Azure Cloud Resource Groups and Resources
    • 03:47 Azure Credentials
      • Azure limited access role credential is analogous to an AWS IAM Role + policies
      • Requires a lot more information:
        • Subscription ID ~ analogous to an AWS account
        • Tenant ID ~ the ID of our Azure AD instance
        • App ID ~ the ID of the ParkMyCloud App in AD
        • Password (a.k.a., Client Secret) ~ You set this
    • 04:39 Four Azure CLI Approaches to creating Azure credentials
      • Windows Powershell – manual or scripted
      • Unix azure-cli – manual or scripted

 

  • 05:42 ParkMyCloud Demo

 

    • 05:51 PMC Dashboard
    • 06:05 Adding an Azure credential to ParkMyCloud
    • 07:29 Walkthrough of the ParkMyCloud dashboard
    • 08:27 How to attach a schedule to an instance
    • 09:18 How to create a custom schedule
    • 10:51 Your savings projections in ParkMyCloud
    • 11:51 How to see information about your individual instances
    • 12:34 Teams and Roles in ParkMyCloud – containers for organizing users and resources with role-based access control (RBAC)
    • 14:22 Logical Groups – the ParkMyCloud construct for organizing resources for group scheduling and sequencing
    • 16:51 Policy engine – apply schedules in an automated fashion
      • 17:02 Never Park policy – protect production instances from parking
      • 17:26 Creating a new policy for scheduling
      • 19:44 Always Off Schedule – use to park for the maximum amount of time. Useful when users are across time zones.
      • 22:09 Audience Question – using the policy engine for sorting to teams, “snooze only” for schedule enforcement, and others.
    • 23:37 Actual Savings number
    • 24:04 Quick filters for viewing the dashboard
    • 24:32 Recommendations – how to edit and add recommendations, and parking resources that are recommended to park.
    • 25:00 How to download reports in ParkMyCloud
    • 25:12 Audit Log
    • 25:33 Pricing – by instance count
  • Audience Questions
    • 26:45 Is there any functionality for AWS that doesn’t translate to Azure?
    • 28:59 Do you plan to support other clouds besides AWS and Azure?
    • 29:42 How are the projected savings and actual savings numbers calculated?

 

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Overspending on Cloud? Rein in the largest utility

cloud-as-utilityHere at ParkMyCloud, we’re always trying to solve a problem many companies are facing: overspending on cloud. As we now support Microsoft Azure along with Amazon Web Services (AWS), we have spent significant time over the past several weeks talking with analysts, writers, and industry pundits about this problem and our vision for our customers and the ParkMyCloud platform. What is interesting in these discussions is the current size of the public cloud IaaS market ($23B in 2016) and the growth rate (28% in 2016).

The Size of the Massive Public Cloud “Utility”

Most analyst reports clearly state that AWS is the public cloud market leader, with at least 3X the size of Azure in terms of market share, generally measured by revenue. AWS has roughly 31-33% of the public cloud market, while Azure has roughly 11%, followed by IBM Bluemix and Google Compute Engine. All are growing rapidly. In fact, according to analyst reports, the “Big 4” are growing anywhere from 50-100% year-over-year. In fact, each of the Big 4 providers are growing much faster than the industry average – it is a truly disruptive, transformational time in IT.

What comes with this growth is greater adoption. According to Gartner, at the end of 2016 only 14% of enterprise workloads were in the public cloud, but by 2020 they expect that to grow to 41%. That basically means the public cloud needs to triple in size to support this workload migration to public cloud (assuming it’s not already “overbuilt” and new technologies don’t drastically shrink the infrastructure needed to support applications). At these current growth rates, the public cloud infrastructure market will be a $60B+ industry by 2020. This will be one BIG $%# market, right?

Public Cloud: The “Utility” for Enterprises

One way to think about the public cloud is as a “utility” – you can buy services on demand, just like electricity, or water, or heating. Each of these utilities are consumable – as you grow you can consume more, as you shrink you can consume less – it’s elastic. Seems like an interesting parallel to compute, databases, and storage. In the case of the public cloud, you are consuming IT-related infrastructure and services to build, test, and run enterprise and consumer applications which we consume either as an enterprise (e.g., Salesforce) or a consumer (e.g., Netflix) .

But like any utility, there is waste – lights are left on, faucets leak or are left running, and the heat running when you are not home, I am guessing you get the gist. This is why there are now consumer applications like Nest. Buildings and homes alike have ‘automated’ ways to turn lights and water off/on to reduce waste and save money and protect the environment. Why should the public cloud be any different?

Overspending on Cloud Expected to Grow

Enter the problem of overspending on cloud, or cloud waste – servers left running when people are not using them (at nights and weekends), oversized databases and servers not optimized for the applications they support, and storage volumes not being used or “lost” in the cloud. These are just a couple examples, there are many more.

This overspending is a huge problem in the cloud market.

Let’s break it down on the 2016 numbers:

2016 / In Billions
Size of Public Cloud IaaS $23B
Non-production Public Cloud IaaS $10B
Cloud Waste $6B

 

So, we calculate that enterprises can save up to $6B by optimizing their public cloud spend in just 2016, and by 2020 that number grows to $17B.

Sounds like it’s time to use a “Nest for the Cloud” tool to reduce overspending on cloud and eliminate waste.

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Announcing ParkMyCloud Microsoft Azure Scheduling!

Now Supporting Microsoft Azure Scheduling

ParkMyCloud microsoft azure schedulingWe are excited to share that ParkMyCloud now supports Microsoft Azure scheduling!

For the past 18 months since our launch, Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers have been using ParkMyCloud to manage their compute resources by turning them off when not needed (called “instance scheduling”) – saving a total of $1,749,279.06 so far – and counting!

Now, that same “Nest for the Cloud” capability is available to Microsoft Azure customers.

Plus, if you use both AWS and Azure, you can manage and govern your accounts together in a single ParkMyCloud dashboard.

Why We’re Excited

Being able to control costs with Microsoft Azure scheduling is our most frequently-requested capability – so we’re excited to share this with our customers and new users.

The size of cloud waste is enormous, with up to $5.6 billion wasted every year on computing time that no one is using.  While much of this wasted spend is on AWS resources, Azure is certainly the second-biggest player in the public cloud market. We look forward to helping Azure customers eliminate wasted spend. Learn more in our official press release.

How Does ParkMyCloud Work on Azure?

Just like AWS, it’s simple:

  1. Discover: Connect with Azure to discover your virtual machines (VMs)
  2. Schedule: Schedule on/off times for the desired VMs
  3. Smile: Reduce your costs by up to 60%

If you’re new to ParkMyCloud, check out these additional resources:

See it In Action

Join us next Thursday, February 2 at 2 PM Eastern for a web session highlighting the Azure release – plus, learn how to use our automated policy engine for automated cost savings. Sign up here.

Try it Now

Azure users, try it now now with a 30-day free trial of ParkMyCloud.

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ParkMyCloud Adds Auto-Scheduling for Microsoft Azure

auto-scheduling for microsoft azureAuto-Scheduling for Microsoft Azure Opens Door for Microsoft Azure Customers to Save Millions

January 24, 2017 (Sterling, VA) – ParkMyCloud, the leading enterprise app for optimizing and reducing cloud spend, today announced that it now supports auto-scheduling for Microsoft Azure in addition to Amazon Web Services (AWS). ParkMyCloud launched its “Nest for the cloud” platform in September 2015 to enable AWS customers to automatically turn off idle instances, saving 20-60% on their cloud bills every month. The company has seen rapid customer growth, and customers include companies such as McDonald’s, Sage Software, Neustar, Avid, and Wolters Kluwer.

With Azure, ParkMyCloud significantly broadens its public cloud appeal. AWS has the largest Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) market share at about 30%, while Azure comes in second at 11%. Adding the second-largest provider means that a greater share of public cloud users can now manage and optimize their resources and get savings on their cloud environments. Additionally, ParkMyCloud now supports not only customers who primarily use one provider or the other, but others who have a multi-cloud environment crossing both AWS and Azure.

451 Research Vice President William Fellows commented on the announcement, saying, “After ParkMyCloud’s work in 2016 deepening their functionality in AWS, supporting Azure helps them target this additional market. The single-purpose tool approach helps ParkMyCloud efficiently address the cloud cost control market and Azure customers should appreciate the new opportunity for simple savings.”

“During 2016, our customers saved over $1.6 million on their cloud bills using our innovative approach to cost savings,” said ParkMyCloud CEO Jay Chapel. “Support for Azure was the top requested feature, so today’s launch will help us drive even bigger growth during 2017 as we become a go-to resource for DevOps and IT users on all the major cloud service providers.”

ParkMyCloud plans to support Google Compute Engine early this year. Following this expansion, ParkMyCloud will broaden its cost-saving offerings to cover databases, storage, and rightsizing.

About ParkMyCloud

ParkMyCloud is a simple, single-purpose SaaS tool that enables users to automatically schedule on/off times for their idle cloud computing servers (also known as “parking”). Users save up to 60% on cloud server spend by paying only for the time they actually use to avoid wasted spending. Customers include McDonald’s, Sage Software, Neustar, Avid, Wolters Kluwer and Tristar Medical Group. For more information, visit http://www.parkmycloud.com.

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Meet the Instance Slayer, who Fought to Control Cloud Costs

jack the instance slayer who fought to control cloud costsToday I’d like to tell you a story* about how one company learned to control cloud costs. Let me introduce you to Jack.

Jack is the instance slayer.

“The instance slayer?” you ask. “What does that mean? It sounds fun and powerful.”

Powerful? Perhaps. Fun? Not exactly.

You see, Jack is a software engineer at a large financial services company. Unlike some of his co-workers who are more specialized, Jack is, well, a jack-of-all-trades. He does a little in mobile, a little in infrastructure, a little in architecture. He’s busy.

One day, Jack’s boss came to him with a new task.

“We need to take control of our department’s cloud instances to control cloud costs,” his boss said. “I need you to come up with a way to ensure that instances are turned off when they’re not being used.”

So, Jack developed a set of scripts that determined whether everyone’s instances met the new on/off compliance standards. These standards required non-production instances to be “stopped” when not being used. If they were left running when they shouldn’t have been – and a lot were – Jack would first send an email to the owners of the offending instances. But if after the email they still didn’t comply, Jack’s scripts would terminate the instances overnight.

As you can imagine, people got quite annoyed when Jack’s scripts terminated their instances.

“Well, I warned you,” he would say. What could Jack do? This wasn’t his idea. He understood that there was a lot of wasted cloud spend each month, but ultimately this was just a task he was carrying out at the request of his manager.

Nonetheless, Jack made a couple of enemies. They’d call him the Terminator. The Instance Slayer.

Jack didn’t mind the enemies. It was the time out of his day that it took to wrangle them, email them, and clean up their instances that irked him. He had things on his to-do list that he’d much rather spend his time on.

Then, Jack’s teammate Roland introduced ParkMyCloud to the team. A bunch of people tried it out, including Jack.

“This is great,” Jack told Roland. “If I set up simple automated policies to put everyone’s instances on schedules, I won’t need to chase them about turning their resources off when they’re not being used. I’ll have more time for my other projects.”

Everyone else was happy, too. With ParkMyCloud’s simple governance model, Jack and the other administrators could add users and create teams, enabling end-users to apply their own schedules. Plus they got reporting to know if instances weren’t complying. Remember those scripts? Well, Jack didn’t need those anymore.

Jack gets free time: Jack wins. Jack’s teammates get more control over their resources: Jack’s teammates win. Jack’s company gets to control cloud costs by cutting wasted spend on unused cloud time: Jack’s company wins. Win, win, win.

Jack may have stood down as the instance slayer, but his name will live on in legend.

 

*This is based on a true story! Names changed & company anonymized to protect our customer’s privacy – especially Jack.

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Triple the Clouds, Triple the Fun: What’s Coming in ParkMyCloud in 2017

triple the clouds: google, aws, azureLast year was a great year for the ParkMyCloud product and our customers – check out all the features and functionality we added throughout 2016.

As we launch into 2017, we’re looking to bring our public cloud users even more ways to save on their cloud spend. Here’s a preview of some of the more impactful features and functionality we’ll be releasing throughout the year.

New Cloud Service Providers

Thus far, ParkMyCloud has supported customers of Amazon Web Services (AWS) alone. (No small fries here; about 30% of public cloud infrastructure is in AWS). However, in two weeks, we’re expanding by releasing support for Microsoft Azure. You will be able to manage AWS and Azure resources side-by-side in a single dashboard.

In the following months, Google Compute Engine support will follow.

New Ways to Save

In addition to the new cloud service providers, we’re also adding support for additional services and new ways to save on your cloud infrastructure.

We’ll start the expansion from compute services by parking databases (Amazon RDS and others). We will also offer resource rightsizing, so you can ensure that you’re not wasting money on resources that are larger than you need them to be.

Adding to the ParkMyCloud Experience

We’ll also be enhancing the ParkMyCloud experience with surrounding features, starting with single sign-on (SSO) using SAML 2.0 coming in February.

Following that, we’ll add external notifications leveraging AWS SNS. And for the quants out there we’ll be adding a data analytics layer. We’re also excited to share that we’ll have native mobile support for iOS and Android by the summer.

And more!

Of course, as a small and agile company, this list is not complete! We’re happy to hear your thoughts and suggestions about what you’d like to see in ParkMyCloud this year – so what’s at the top of your list?

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In 2017, I will… Not “build” when I should “buy”. (When to buy vs. build software.)

Buy vs. build software: The eternal question

buy vs. build softwareThe question of whether to buy vs. build software may be an old one, but it’s still relevant. Particularly as companies face rising IT costs, it’s important to consider the most cost-effective options for your business.

When you have an internal development team, it’s tempting to believe that “just having them whip something up” is cheaper than purchasing an off-the-shelf software solution. However, this ignores the opportunity cost of having your skilled developers focus their efforts on non-core activities and ones typically that deliver less value to the business.

To put a number on it, the national average salary for a software developer is $85,000. Including benefits, that’s about $110,000. . So a back-of-the-napkin estimate puts an hour of a developer’s time at $55. Then, consider the number of developers involved, and that you may not be as stringent in budgeting their time for “side projects” as you might for your core work.

So it’s expensive to build. Isn’t the outcome the same?

Actually, probably not. Though internally developed solutions may in theory have the same functionality as purchased software – for example, “it turns instances off when you don’t need them” – they will require additional work to integrate with team structures and to cover a broad variety of use cases. In that example, what about the reporting and savings information? After all, isn’t that the point of turning the instances off in the first place? And then there’s advanced features and the cost to maintain homegrown solutions over time as new requirements creep in.

For one look at how an off-the-shelf solution may compare in functionality to homegrown scripted solutions, here’s a simple side-by-side comparison we put together, showing ParkMyCloud vs. an in-house developed solution.

Functionality In-house Developed Scripting ParkMyCloud
Multi-User / Multi-Team · In small environments, may be difficult to meet demand for skilled DevOps personnel with knowledge of scripting & automation

·  In small environments,  Significant risk if knowledge of infrastructure and scripting is managed by single individual (knowledge transfer)   

In large environments, unless highly centralized, difficult to ensure consistency and standardization of automation approach across entire organization

·   DevOps support for all AWS environments across multiple teams / business units will get complex and resource intensive

·   DevOps resources distracted from core business activities – PMC offers API for integration into DevOps process

·   Opportunity Cost

·   Ability to devolve management of AWS instances to non-technical teams for scheduling on/off (PMC requires NO scripting)

·   Supporting existing team structures and ensuring appropriate controls is difficult to achieve without building out complete custom solution.

·  Role-based access controls (RBAC) and access-based enumeration (ABE) for enhanced security

·  Unlimited teams

·  Unlimited users

·  Laser development focus on EC2 cost optimization

·  One way to automate on/off times with enterprise-wide visibility

·  Options for centralizing or decentralizing control to departments, teams & individuals

·  Designed to support global operations

·  Single view of all resources across locations, account and cloud service providers (CSPs)

·  Reporting

·  $3.00 or less per instance per month

·  Configures in 15 minutes or less

Multiple Credentials /

Multiple CSPs

(Coming soon)

·  Must develop means to securely handle and manage credentials and other sensitive account information.

·  Must keep up-to-date on changes / updates to public cloud which is constantly evolving and adding and changing services.

·  Must develop approach to assign access to different credentials by different teams with PMC RBAC

·  Must develop approach and interface across multiple CSPs

·  Unlimited number of credentials / accounts

·  IAM Role and IAM User support (for AWS)

·  Secure credential management (AES-256 encryption)

·  Multiple public CSPs (coming soon) – ability to manage AWS, Azure and Google for single platform

Platform Coverage ·   Must develop means to create a single view and the ability to manage and start/stop ASG’s

·   Must develop means to create, manage and start/stop logical groups

·  Ability to manage & park Auto-scaling Groups

·  Ability to create, manage and park Logical Groups

·  Global view of ALL AWS Regions and Availability Zones in a single pane of glass

Always ‘off’ Scheduling ·   Must develop a process to enable on-demand access to stopped instances in off hours

·   Must be able to re-apply schedule when off hour work is done

·   Must do this across multiple accounts and CSPs

·  Ability to temporarily suspend parking schedules during off-hours to enable ad hoc instance control
Cost Visibility ·  Need to develop custom application to determine cost savings based upon application of automation or removal of schedules (to date we have not encountered anyone who has developed such an application)

·  Would need ability for ad hoc reports over arbitrary date ranges

·  Forecasts & displays future savings based upon selected schedules

·  Displays real-time actual month-to-date savings

·  Generates & distribute ad hoc detailed cost and savings reports

Policy Engine ·   Hard to enforce consistent and standardized policies within organization within decentralized structures where different automation tools are being used

·   This would need to be done across all CSP accounts and across CSPs

·   Difficult to build something like Never Park or Snooze Only

·   Enterprise-wide policies based on Tags to auto enforce actions (automate parking schedule assignment, Never Park for production instances, & assignment of instances to teams)

 

Resolution

As you can see, there is a technical advantage of purchasing software that’s been purpose-built with a dedicated development team over a long period of time. You’ll get more functionality for less money.

This year, we resolve not to “build” when we should “buy.”

Do you?

 

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ParkMyCloud Product 2016 Year in Review

This year has flown by – and it’s been a big one for ParkMyCloud. Working closely with our customers, we’ve added features and functionality throughout the year to keep you parking, saving and happy! Here are the highlights of what’s changed in ParkMyCloud this year.

 

parkmycloud-dec-2016January Start/Stop/Snooze

The “snooze button” has the honor of being ParkMyCloud’s first “most requested feature”. This function allows users to suspend a schedule for a set period, so, for example, you can use an instance on the weekend when it’s scheduled to be parked.

March – Multi-User/Multi-Account

In March, we expanded ParkMyCloud accounts to include multiple user accounts per organization, and introduced user/team structures. This was also the first time you could manage multiple AWS accounts in one ParkMyCloud account.

June – Auto Scaling Group Parking 

Auto scaling groups can be parked just like an individual instance – when parked, the minimum, desired, and maximum number of instances are set to 0, so you can “pause” their scale-up times.

September – Resource Group Parking + Speed

In this release, we added the ability to create Logical Groups of resources, which can be parked and managed as a unit, and sequenced for start/stop. The platform was also improved to be 70x faster!

October – Policy Engine/ Zero-Touch Parking

In October, we released the Policy Engine, which allows administrators to create policies to automatically attach or detach parking schedules, assign a “never park” rule to an instance, assign instances to teams, and more.

December – New User Interface

We changed the look and feel of ParkMyCloud’s interface to be more organized and intuitive – and so far the feedback has been positive!

 

Whew – try scripting all that! (Or don’t.)

We’re looking forward to 2017, which will have more improvements and expansions for ParkMyCloud. In January, we’ll add support for Microsoft Azure, and Google Compute Engine will come after that. We’ll also add the ability to park additional resources, like RDS in AWS. If you have other things you’d like to see ParkMyCloud do in 2017, let us know in the comments below!

Happy holidays and wishing you a joyous new year from the ParkMyCloud team!

parkmycloud team reinvent 2016

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Cloud applications in 2017: How long until full cloud takes over?

clouds-take-overWe were recently asked about our vision for cloud applications in 2017: are we still seeing ported versions of legacy on-premises Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications? Or are most applications – even outside of pure-play startups – being built and hosted in the cloud? In other words, how long until full cloud takes over?

Actually, it already has.

Native cloud applications like ours – an 18-month-old startup – that have been built, tested, and run in the cloud are no longer the fringe innovators, but the norm. In fact, outside of a printer, we have no infrastructure at all – we are BYOD, and every application we use for development, marketing, sales and finance is a SaaS-based, cloud-hosted solution that we either use for free or rent and pay month-to-month or year-to-year.

This reliance on 100% cloud solutions has allowed us to rapidly scale our entire business – the cloud, and cloud-based SaaS solutions, have provided ParkMyCloud with the agility, speed, and cost control needed to manage to an OpEx model rather than a CapEx model.

We were able to rapidly prototype our technology, test it, iterate, and leverage “beta” communities in the cloud in a matter of months. We even outsource our development efforts, and seamlessly run agile remotely using the cloud and cloud-based tools. For a peek into the process, here’s a sampling of software development tools we use in a cloud-shrouded nutshell:

  • Amazon Web Service (AWS) for development, test, QA and production
  • VersionOne for agile management
  • Skype for scrum and video communication
  • GitHub for version control
  • Zoho for customer support
  • LogEntries for log integration
  • Confluence for documentation
  • Swagger for API management

And I could repeat the same for our Marketing, Sales, and Finance process and tools – the cloud has truly taken over.

We don’t know if these applications are built and run in the public cloud or the private cloud – that’s irrelevant to us, what’s important is they solve a problem, are easily accessible, and meet our price point. We do know that these are all cloud-based SaaS offerings – we don’t use any on premise, traditional software.

The net net is that many companies are just like ParkMyCloud. The question is no longer about how us newbies will enter the world – the question is, how fast will legacy enterprises migrate ALL their applications to cloud? And where will they strike the balance between public and private cloud?

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How to Protect Your Production Servers (The “Never Park” Policy)

The other day, we talked to a prospective ParkMyCloud customer about how to protect his production servers. He had just started a trial of ParkMyCloud, and before he added additional users to his account, he had an important question: How can I keep my production servers safe from my end users accidentally parking them?

It’s a great question! Before you start shutting down your non-production resources for cost savings, it’s a good idea to protect your mission-critical production resources from being parked, which could wreak havoc on your applications — while some resources can be stopped, or “parked”, during off-hours, there are, of course, others that need to run 24×7.

Luckily, with ParkMyCloud’s policy engine, it’s straightforward and easy to protect your production resources. All you need to do is apply a “never park” policy so those resources cannot be scheduled or manually started/stopped.

Only users with the SuperAdmin role can create and manage policies, so if you’re the primary account holder, you don’t have to worry about end users changing these policies once they’re set up. Your production resources will be safe from being parked, so you can start parking and saving away.

Here’s how to create a policy for yourself. (If you don’t have an account yet, you can start a ParkMyCloud free trial and follow along.)

From the ParkMyCloud console:

  1. policy-engineGo to the left sidebar and select “Policies” and “Create Policy”.
  2. Name your policy – let’s call it ‘Never Park’
  3. Input the criteria to identify your production resources  – usually this will be by name or tag.
  4. Select “Restrict” as the action.
  5. From the Restrict dropdown menu, select “Never Park”. For this option, users can neither attach schedules nor manually start/stop resources.

You can also use policies to assign instances to teams based on their tags or names. If you set up your teams in advance, this is a simple way to automatically control which users have access to which instances.  So in this example you could set up a “Production Team” and have all your production instances sort directly to this team. And as an admin you are able to create the permissions for who has access to this team, adding another layer of protection.

Save your policy to protect your production resources from being parked and you’re all set!

There are a few other reasons you may want to use policies on your resources. For example, you can use policies to automatically attach or detach schedules to instances, again based on credential, location, name, type, or tag. So, for example, you could set all of your instances tagged “development” to have the “Up M-F, 8 am – 5 pm” schedule automatically applied.

You can also restrict resources with parking schedules to “snooze only”. That is, end users can only snooze the attached schedule, they cannot edit, detach or change it.

The policy engine is a powerful feature that can help you automate many of the common actions within ParkMyCloud, ensuring that you maximize your cost savings with the least amount of effort.

If you have any additional questions about using policies, please comment below or contact us!

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Don’t Write a Script to Save Money on AWS

>_    Today we have a piece of advice: don’t write a script to save money on AWS. Here at ParkMyCloud, we spend a lot of time chatting with DevOps and infrastructure teams, listening to how they manage their cloud operations.

You can Take the DIY Approach (scripting)

don't write a script to save on awsAlthough there is a lot of ‘tooling’ out there to make their lives easier, many infrastructure guys still choose to drop to the command line to take control of their environments. They might do this by using automation tools like Chef or Puppet, continuous delivery tools like Jenkins or simply revert to Bash or PowerShell. They are using these tools because of the granular control they provide and because they can seemingly quickly ‘knock out a script’ to either solve a problem or provide a quick automation of a common task.

We’ve talked with a number of larger AWS customers who are optimizing thousands or even tens of thousands of instances using scripting technologies. Given the needs of their businesses, their internal customers are typically geographically distributed with hundreds of teams and team members utilizing their cloud infrastructure.

But do you really want to?

Although we love scripts as much as the next guy, when it comes to cloud we see a few problems with this approach. Firstly, cloud is the great democratizer of infrastructure. No longer do the business folk in finance, marketing, sales etc. need to call IT to bring on new resources. They know they can spin it up themselves – even if they don’t know they can turn it off just as easily. But if you want cloud users to take on responsibility and ensure governance, they need tools, not scripts. Secondly, supporting hundreds of teams and user-managed infrastructures without embedding DevOps resources in every team quickly becomes burdensome and inefficient. The way we see it, just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should do it.

There is a reason that simple, single-purpose web apps are sweeping across the enterprise. Users like simple UI’s with little to no learning curve. Companies realized that if you want to empower internal stakeholders by providing tools that allow them to optimize their workflow and resource use, it’s much easier to sustain if the end users can ‘do it themselves’. Be it the crack dev team who begins to self-manage their non-production environment or the team of data-scientists who make the CFO wince when they run their clusters.

Leave it to the folks down under to turn things on their heads

As we listen and learn how our customers optimize their cloud environments, we are always excited when we see an entirely new way of doing something. Recently, we were chatting with Foster Moore, one of our Antipodean customers in New Zealand. They too were active users of automation scripts for cloud optimization.

Once they found ParkMyCloud, however, they realized that they could free up their DevOps team to work on higher value activities. With their new tool in hand they decided to turn upside down the way their teams thought about cloud computing. They created a simple ‘always-off’ schedule, which takes newly launched instances and turns them off by default unless a user needs them turned on. By having them held in a stopped-state until exactly when they need them they avoid all unnecessary running costs.

The lesson is, you don’t need to write a script to save money on AWS. While our customer’s overall approach would have been technically possible using scripts, the ability to enable all their teams to have a simple way to remove this ‘always-off schedule’ would have required custom application development. Instead they were able to use ParkMyCloud’s ‘snooze’ functionality which allows its parking schedules to be temporarily removed for user defined periods of time, which could be an 8-hour workday or any other compute resources needed to be available. By reversing the ‘always-on’ nature of cloud compute to ‘always-off’, they were able to empower their teams to cut costs by 40% – without a single script in sight.

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Does ParkMyCloud support AWS Reserved Instances?

awsreservedinstanceOne cool feature on the ParkMyCloud website is the little chat window we’ve added, which allows you talk directly to our team – usually Katy. Well, Katy gets a lot of random questions for sure, things like:

  1. Are you a car park in London? No, but mind the gap!
  2. Are you a cloud provider? No, but we love public cloud providers like AWS, Azure, Google, and the like, and look forward to helping you manage your resources from all of these providers.
  3. Do you support Azure? We will soon. In fact, we just started the dev work – expect Azure out after the New Year.
  4. Do you support AWS Reserved Instances? 

We get that last question quite a lot, so we thought we would expand our answer here.

 If you don’t know what an AWS Reserved Instance (RI) is, your best bet is to learn about this Amazon Web Services offering is directly on their site.

Let’s break it down a little more.

Can I see my AWS Reserved Instances in ParkMyCloud?

Short answer: yes.

When ParkMyCloud discovers and manages your environment, we don’t know if an instance is treated as an RI, as the RI magic happens on the backend with Amazon. When you reserve an instance, you’re not actually designating a specific instance or server. What you’re reserving is a billing structure and capacity, which is then automatically applied to running instances that match your specified parameters.

So, from third-party apps like PMC, these instances look just like any On-Demand EC2 instance. So, when PMC ingests and displays your instances, your RIs will show among your other instances.

Can I use both ParkMyCloud and AWS Reserved Instances to get savings at the same time?

Definitely. You can actually get maximum cost savings if you use RI for production instances, and PMC to manage your non-production instances.

How can I save on my non-production servers?

For non-production environments (think test, dev, staging and QA), you can schedule servers off during nights and weekends using ParkMyCloud. Doing this typically saves PMC customers 65% or so off their monthly instance cost. The 65% range is based on a 50-hour workweek – meaning your instances run just 50 of the 168 hours in a given week – so they are parked a majority of the time to maximize savings.

How is that better than AWS Reserved Instances?

While AWS advertises RI savings as high as 75%, in reality for production RI savings typically run in the 30-40% range for the most commonly used instances (e.g., m3.medium, m4.large, m4.xlarge). Additionally, Reserved Instances require a 1-3 year upfront commitment, while PMC does not – leaving you more flexible.

If you have an AWS account which has both production and non-production in it and you have already purchased RI contracts, then using ParkMyCloud for non-production will, over time, shift the RI benefit to the production side (since those instances run 24×7) as your environment grows, the RI shift is factored in on the bill. Of course, if your environment is static then the shift does not occur – but whose AWS environment is not growing, right?

What else should I keep in mind?

Please also remember that unlike ParkMyCloud scheduling, Reserved Instances require you to specify the type, platform, payment option, instance type, offering class, and term length. You can optionally select an Availability Zone if you want to reserve capacity. Convertible RIs allow you to change some of these attributes, but at a reduced savings of around 45%.

To learn more about these different savings methods, please watch our recent webinar.

We hope this is helpful – let us know of course and remember to use RI for Production and PMC for Non-Production to optimize savings. You can even sprinkle Spot in there but that’s another blog. Stay tuned…

aws reserved instances vs. parkmycloud vs. other savings options

Savings of spot instances, reserved instances, and ParkMyCloud vs. on demand.

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Watch: 5 Reasons to Turn Off Your Cloud Servers When They’re Not in Use

We recently held a web session “5 reasons to turn off your cloud servers when they’re not in use.” Even if you weren’t able to join us, you can check out the recording below – or use the annotations below to skip ahead to the section you’re interested in.

00:51 Overview of presentation

01:18 Reason #1 – Save Money

  • Compute makes up the largest share of spend for most enterprise cloud users
  • AWS Example:
    • $10 billion/year in revenue
    • 70% is EC2 ($7 billion)
    • 52% is non-production which could be turned off at night ($3.5 billion)
    • A simple 12-hour on/off schedule saves $1.75 billion in instance costs

03:00 Comparison of the major ways to save money in AWS

  • 03:07 Reserved instances – pay upfront for a contract for 30-40% savings. Best for production environments.
  • 04:06 Spot instances – open market on spare capacity. Savings are compelling (70-90%) but risk that your instance could go away if the price goes above your bid price.
  • 04:37 Autoscaling groups – scale up and down groups of all types of instances according to your environment needs.
  • 05:00 Turn instances off to save money when you’re not using them.

05:29 Reason #2 – Improve Security

  • There is nothing more secure than a server that is OFF (This is what security people actually dream about)
  • There is nothing easier to monitor than servers that are OFF (so long as your NOC folks are NOT surprised)

06:20 Reason #3 – Reduce Environmental Impact

  • Data centers consume ~2% of all electricity globally (3% of U.S.), growing at 12% YoY.1
  • 80% of power is provided by fossil fuels
  • Avoiding the need for new data centers reduces carbon emissions
  • It also makes good business sense:
    • Cloud providers like AWS improve profitability and increase carbon credits when they can oversubscribe their infrastructure.
    • They can’t oversubscribe if they are over-provisioned
    • Therefore, turning servers off when not in use is one sure fire way help oversubscribe

08:31 Reason #4 – Because Werner Says So

  • AWS CTO Werner Vogels recently addressed an audience of AWS users, saying, “You can turn off your resources when you go home. Typical cost savings are 75%.”

08:51 Reason #5 – Peace of Mind

  • Knowing you’re saving money, improving security, helping the environment and obeying Werner will help you sleep better at night … who wouldn’t?
  • The question is how?
    • You manually turn things off when you leave. In Offices there are automated light switches. There’s a reason, right?
    • You could create scripts to do this automatically – that is not a cost-effective

09:29 ParkMyCloud – built specifically to turn off your servers when you don’t need them

  • WHAT: Simple, single- purpose SaaS tool.
  • HOW: Automatically schedule on/off times for idle servers.
  • WHY: Optimize cloud services spending.
  • ROI: Save 60% or more; 6 week payback.

10:17 ParkMyCloud product demo

  • 10:28 Dashboard overview – see all your instances in one place
  • 11:19 Parking recommendations
  • 12:15 Parking schedule interface – create your own schedules
  • 13:51 Snooze parking schedules
  • 15:24 Automated policy engine – create policies to automatically handle scheduling, team assignments

User Questions

  • 18:16 How did you connect to AWS and find your instances?
  • 19:18 How do you figure that you can save 65% on instances that you turn off nights and weekends?
  • 19:52 Can you compare turning instances off to Reserved Instances?
  • 22:12 Do the energy savings you described for Amazon apply to other cloud providers?
  • 24:05 Why Dale doesn’t like scripting on/off times

We welcome additional questions in the comments below, and hope to see you at our next web session!

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Foster Moore Balances Cloud Governance, Cost, and User Freedom with ParkMyCloud

We spoke to Bobby Chan, System Engineer and Melanie Metcalfe, Project Support Manager, at software development company Foster Moore about their AWS use and how they’re managing costs and cloud users with ParkMyCloud.

foster-mooreCan you describe what Foster Moore does? What does your team do within the company?

Foster Moore is an international software development company based in New Zealand which specializes in online registries using our product called “Catalyst”.  We have clients all around the world which requires us to be agile to cater to the different time zones.

Bobby Chan (BC):   I am part of the Operational Services Group (OSG).  We look after the day-to-day running of production systems as well as our internal infrastructure.  My role is a System Engineer, primarily dealing with Release Management.

Melanie Metcalfe (MM):  I run our Project Support Office. We sit within the Finance Division, providing administration and support for all three Foster Moore offices.

Can you describe how you are using the cloud?

BC:  We are currently using AWS for most of our Catalyst product implementations. This is for all environments, from development up to production using a lot of the core functions like EC2, RDS and Route53.

What challenges did you experience in using AWS prior to using ParkMyCloud?

BC:  As the business was rapidly growing, we started to struggle with the escalating costs of the cloud.  On one hand, we were trying to restrict people’s use of AWS for security reasons, but on the other hand we wanted to provide them the freedom of the cloud.

We attempted to have manual on/off schedules for instances, but this proved troublesome with the dispersed team and the human ability to forget.  This also put a lot of pressure on the OSG team, who would be solely responsible for this management.

MM: From both a Project and Finance perspective, AWS invoices have limited usability of supporting data provided.  We needed to be able to attach costs to certain projects and control the associated responsibility for those costs by team or by project.

What drove you to search for a solution?

BC:  Ultimately costs and the ability to manage and control them.  Additionally, we wanted to pass the responsibility of management to the dev/test teams.

How did you hear about ParkMyCloud?

lightbulbBC:  A colleague of ours was tasked with finding a solution to the escalating cost of AWS by the Director of Operational Services. When ParkMyCloud was initially described to our director, who previously worked for utility companies, the analogy of a light switch that the “consumer” could switch on and off was a revelation.  The technological simplicity enabled an easy transition of ownership to Mel’s “cost control police”. Mel took it from there and made it her own. It’s now a business controlled process rather than an IT one, which is as it should be.

MM: I was introduced to ParkMyCloud through a colleague in the OSG.  I could immediately see the benefits is controlling costs and potential for forecasted savings.

Can you describe your experience so far using ParkMyCloud?

BC:  It has been very good.  The tool itself has been simple to use and most of our team here have been able to use it with minimal guidance.  The PMC team have also been very receptive to our requests and comments.

MM: The first thing we did was establish Teams and set up a process for access to all environments that sit within each Team. The Team Lead is ultimately responsible for who has access.  As above we endeavor to have all possible instances on a 24/7 down schedule with team members given full access to override for as long as needed.

What servers are you putting schedules on?

BC:  We have schedules on everything but production.  The idea of that is that since production is never “meant to be down”, we have left them without a schedule.

What benefits has your company realized with ParkMyCloud?

BC: First, as this was a cost exercise, it was cost savings.  We then had the benefits of incorporating all other teams like development and test teams in the responsibility of looking after their own instances.

MM: The savings have been hugely beneficial.  The forecasted savings from scheduling feature is excellent.  The access via teams also provides a better level of ownership and accountability.

What percent are you saving using ParkMyCloud?

MM:  Anywhere from 30-40%, depending on how much time we spend chasing unscheduled instances.

What other cloud cost-savings measures do you have in place?

BC:  While we don’t have any other tools used primarily for cost savings (other than the native AWS tools i.e. Trusted Advisor), we have been going through the exercise of trying to actively reduce the RDS costs for our environments as this is one of our largest costs other than EC2 instances.

Do you use ParkMyCloud for user governance? What other cloud governance measures do you have in place?

BC:  We use the teams function from ParkMyCloud to control access to instances in AWS.  We divvy up the instances based on the clients they service and then assign users accordingly.  We use ParkMyCloud as the primary access point for AWS instances, so we don’t need other measures to lock down the users.

Thank you both, Bobby and Melanie!

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New on ParkMyCloud: Zero-Touch Parking! Automatically Park, Govern, & Save

Today, we’re happy to share with you a new addition to ParkMyCloud: “Zero-Touch Parking”! This policy engine applies start/stop schedules and policies to cloud instances.

Zero-Touch Parking will allow you to “take your hands off the wheel” once you have configured the policies for your environment and let ParkMyCloud apply the parking schedules for automatic cloud cost optimization. Additional functionality from the ParkMyCloud policy engine lets you create security and governance rules, described below. You will save time and save money on cloud costs. It’s easier than ever!

Zero-Touch Parking – Automated Schedule Assignment

parkmycloud's zero-touch parking for cloud cost savings automationThe highlight of this new release is Zero-Touch Parking. This is our most-frequently requested feature, and we’re happy to deliver. Now, ParkMyCloud account administrators will be able to automatically attach or detach schedules to new and existing EC2 instances based on keywords.

For example, let’s say your development instances are all tagged with the keyword “dev”. Let’s also say that these instances need to run during an 8 AM to 6 PM workday, Monday through Friday. You can create a parking schedule that has instances run during those hours, and park outside those hours — let’s call it the “dev schedule”. Now, you can also create a rule that all instances tagged “dev” will automatically be assigned the “dev schedule” upon discovery by ParkMyCloud. No touch needed from that point on!

Policy Engine – Automated Security & Governance Measures

never-park-policyIn addition to automated cost savings with Zero-Touch Parking, ParkMyCloud’s new policy engine increases security and eases governance. Administrators can create rules to automatically assign instances to teams of users, and to protect certain instances, such as mission-critical production environments, from accidentally being turned off by users.

Administrators will be able to assign:

  • Schedules – automatically attach or detach a parking schedule (as described above)
  • Restrictions
    • Snooze only – instances are always parked, users “snooze to use”
    • Never park – instances cannot be parked or toggled, so for example, production instances are never parked
  • Teams –  automatically assign new resources to teams during discovery

Time and Money Savings

With automated policies, you’ll save even more time with ParkMyCloud as you save money. On that note, we recently reached an exciting milestone at ParkMyCloud: our customers have now collectively saved over $1 million on their cloud bills. During the next year, we expect customers to save over $5 million. There’s a long way to go to eliminate what we estimate is $5.6 billion in wasted cloud spend every year, but we’re making a dent – our customers have cut their cloud spend significantly.

We look forward to attacking cloud waste from multiple angles with support for additional cloud providers beyond AWS. We plan to release support for Microsoft Azure at the beginning of January, 2017, with Google Cloud Platform support to follow.

Tweet about Zero-Touch parking and get 1 month of ParkMyCloud free! (Email us to get your free month.)

Then, try out the new Zero-Touch Parking & policy engine for yourself with a free 30-day trial. Happy parking!

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ParkMyCloud Announces “Zero-Touch Parking” for Automated Cloud Cost Optimization

Automation engine from AWS cost optimization leader ParkMyCloud will eliminate wasted cloud spend, making dent in $5.6 billion problem

Sterling, VA, October 24th, 2016 – ParkMyCloud announced that it has released “Zero-Touch Parking” – a first-of-its-kind automation engine that applies start/stop schedules and policies to cloud instances. Zero-Touch Parking is a game-changing addition to ParkMyCloud’s cloud cost optimization platform, as it allows users to “take their hands off the wheel” and let ParkMyCloud apply the parking schedules — automatically.

Up to $5.6 billion is wasted every year on public cloud resources that are not being used during evenings and weekends for development, testing, and staging environments. In its first year, ParkMyCloud’s programmable “light switch” for cloud environments has already saved its customers over $1 million (an average ROI of 1700%). As its reach grows, ParkMyCloud expects this to grow 500% to over $5 million in savings during year 2.

In addition to automated cost savings with Zero-Touch Parking, ParkMyCloud’s new policy engine increases security and eases governance. Administrators can create rules to automatically assign instances to teams of users, and to protect certain instances, such as mission-critical production environments, from accidentally being turned off by users.

“Zero touch parking and the associated policy engine enables ParkMyCloud to take its position as a ‘Nest’ for the cloud cost optimization market using analytics and automation,” said CTO Dale Wickizer. “This new, powerful engine – our most-requested feature – will help our users save a significant amount of time managing their cloud resources.”

Next on the horizon for ParkMyCloud is expansion to support additional cloud providers beyond Amazon Web Services (AWS). ParkMyCloud plans to support Microsoft Azure at the beginning of 2017, with Google Cloud Platform to follow.

About ParkMyCloud

ParkMyCloud is a simple, single-purpose SaaS tool that enables users to automatically schedule on/off times for their idle cloud computing servers (also known as “parking”). Users save up to 60% on cloud server spend by paying only for the time they actually use to avoid wasted spending. Customers include McDonald\\\’s, Sage Software, Neustar, Avid, Wolters Kluwer and Tristar Medical Group. For more information, visit http://www.parkmycloud.com.

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Tag Your Cloud Resources to Get Organized and Get Automated

Patag cloud resourcesrkMyCloud has built a SaaS platform that allows users to turn off AWS EC2 resources in non-production environments during off-hours. We call this “parking”.  

In order for ParkMyCloud to automatically recommend instances to be parked – or to simply automate the parking process altogether – users should have a naming convention for their instances or some type of tag on the resources.

Of course, our application is not the only one which relies on you having some type of tagging strategy for your resources. In fact, I’ll wager that most cloud applications involved in some type of cloud analytics, DevOps automation or cloud management would also be in a better position to help you help yourself if you had a consistent approach to tagging.

Tagging can help you in all sorts of areas, from asset management, to automation, cost allocation and security.

While I was researching ideas for this blog, I came across a great resource on AWS Tagging Strategies, published by AWS in January of this year, which provides a comprehensive overview on the subject. In fact, I couldn’t have said it better.  You can find it here.

One of the excerpts from this blog which caught my eye was the about Tagging Categories:

Organizations that are most effective in their use of tags typically create business-relevant tag groupings to organize their resources along technical, business, and security dimensions. Organizations that use automated processes to manage their infrastructure also include additional, automation-specific tags to aid in their automation efforts.

We take this concept to heart here at ParkMyCloud in our internal systems, by applying tags based on functional group (prod, dev, test, QA, etc.) and resource type. We also recommend this approach to our customers — many of whom do use category tagging to identify resources as “production” or “dev”, “test”, “QA”, and “staging” for example. This makes it very easy for us to identify and automate the process of “parking” instances and quickly save customers money.

In the coming weeks, we will release “Zero-Touch Parking”, which will take maximum advantage of tagging. Here’s how it will work.

Let’s say you have 100 instances, 50 of which are production instances, and therefore should never be parked. If those 50 instances are tagged “production app”, you will simply create a policy that says instances with that tag assigned will get routed to the Production group, it’s blocked from having a schedule assigned to it, and runs 24x7x365.

On the other hand, let’s say we have an instance tagged “test”. We could have a corresponding policy that assigns that instance(s) to the group “Test Team”, applies a “Test” schedule which turns the instance off at 6:00 p.m. every weekday, on at 8:00 a.m. every weekday, and off on weekends.

The strategies outlined in this helpful document are not limited to AWS, but should be applicable to environments in just about any cloud provider.

So, on behalf of other cloud applications, help us to help you — get out there and start tagging, if you haven’t already.

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5 Reasons to Turn Off Your Cloud Servers When You’re Not Using Them

When you spin up a cloud computing server, the easiest thing to do is to leave it running. In fact, it’s easy to forget it’s running at all.

Don’t do this!

Non-production servers –  those used for development, staging, testing, etc. – are generally only needed during the regular workday. That means that for upward of 65% of hours of the week, they’re running when no one is using them.

You should absolutely turn those servers off at those times. Here are five reasons why.

1. To Save Money

turn your servers off, save money!

The core cloud computing services offered by every major provider are charged by the hour (or minute). It’s like a utility: if you leave the lights on, you’ll be charged for the electricity, whether you’re in the room or not.

Simply by turning servers off on nights and weekends (leaving them running only 40 hours of a 168 hour week), you can save about 75% of their cost. Depending on the size of your infrastructure, that can mean thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars per year. This alone is a huge motivator for many companies to put off-time policies in place.

2. To Improve Security

It’s pretty simple: if your servers are turned off, they are much harder to hack. It also simplifies the surrounding active security measures that are necessary when your servers are running. They don’t need to be monitored by the network operations center; they don’t need to be virus scanned; there is less traffic for the packet sniffers to have to process; and you don’t have to worry about unauthorized login attempts after hours.  

3. To Reduce Environmental Impact

green-data-centerIn aggregate, cloud computing customers have enormous potential in their hands to reduce energy demand and carbon emissions. If you turn off your instances when they’re not being used, you free that space for other, active instances. Together, this helps create the cloud ideal: efficient data centers. And the more efficient each data center is, the fewer data centers are needed.

While AWS and other cloud service providers are making efforts to use more renewable energy sources and reduce carbon emissions, today they are still a huge drain of non-renewable resources –  which makes efficient use of current infrastructure all the more important.

4. Because Werner Said So

At the recent NYC AWS Summit, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels really did tell his users to turn off their instances when they go home for the night. Werner cites cost savings and eliminating waste. “Waste is anything that doesn’t benefit your customers.”

What better endorsement do you need?

NYCsummitwerner

5. For Peace of Mind

When you turn your servers off when you don’t need them, you’ll be able to rest with a smile on your face, knowing that you’re doing your part to protect the environment, stay secure, and save money.

Finally, let’s address how you can turn your resources off when you don’t need them at night and on weekends. You could do this manually, by logging into your cloud service provider every afternoon to turn them off, but inevitably, you will forget – not to mention how much work this is.

In fact, the easiest way is with an automatic schedule. Just set and forget! Try ParkMyCloud’s automatic on/off schedules now with a free 30-day trial. Get started now.

 

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