June 2016 - ParkMyCloud

ParkMyCloud Release Notes: Updates to Reporting and Snooze

Over the weekend, we pushed out a new release of ParkMyCloud, with new features focusing on reporting and snooze support. Updates made in this release include:
  • Upgraded reporting, including 4 new reports: detailed costs by instance, cost summary by team, cost summary by credential, and roster of team members by team and by role. These reports can be pulled for any date range you select:
reports
  • Updated the Dashboard, which now shows how much time is left on the snooze period for snoozed instances. The time remaining will display both on the parking menu and in a tooltip, as shown below:

snoozeremaining

snoozeremaining2
  • There is a new default parking schedule called “Always Parked – Snooze to Use Instances”. Several of our customers are successfully using this “always parked” strategy to achieve maximum savings on their non-production instances.
alwaysparked

We also did some very important behind the scenes work to streamline the DevOps process and improve database development.

Coming soon: the ability to park Auto Scaling groups!

As always, we welcome your feedback. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for the future, please let us know in the comments below.

Read more ›

Give your AWS instances July 4th off.

July 4th! Time to power down and take off. Sun… fun… family… and AWS servers running all weekend.

Wait, what?

That’s right… leaving your non-production instances on wastes hundreds or even tens of thousands of dollars a year. Give your servers July 4th off.

The world’s easiest EC2 scheduler: ParkMyCloud.

Read more ›

Is your EC2 scheduler approach “Federalist” or “States’ Rights”?

ParkMyCloud has helped dozens of SMBs and enterprises control and reduce AWS spending. ParkMyCloud’s EC2 scheduler lets customers set automatic stop/start times (we call it “parking”) for EC2 instances.

Two primary implications of scheduling EC2 start/stop times are:

(a) determining what the “parking” schedule is; and

(b) communicating the schedule to your internal AWS users.

There are two basic ways our customers determine and communicate parking schedules. Let’s call them “Federalist” and “States’ Rights.” (These are our nicknames for what you might think of as centralized versus de-centralized IT.)

ec2 scheduler federalist or states rightsFederalist: Maintain control of the parking schedules at the organization level.

  • IT leaders must come to a consensus with their teams to determine the “right” schedules. This is based upon the typical hours their developers work.
  • They put policies in place to govern how schedules are set and named, and who has authority to change them.

NOTE: Sometimes developers work after (or before) hours because of an important deadline. ParkMyCloud easily allows them to suspend a schedule and then start it with a single click. We call this our “snooze” feature.

States’ Rights: Set a default “lights outs” state for all non-production instances so they are “always off.”

(Note that this is the opposite of AWS’ approach, which is a default “lights on.”)

  • With this approach there is just one schedule to maintain at the organizational level. (“Always Parked 24×7”). Hence there is no time wasted on arguing over the “right” schedules.
  • Each developer can work on his/her schedule using the “snooze” capability mentioned above. They can suspend the schedule for the amount of time they will be working and run the EC2 instances they need. When they leave for the day, the snooze expires and the schedule goes back into effect. (I.e., the instances automatically turn back off.)

Both of these approaches seem to work well within different corporate cultures. We have built ParkMyCloud to be flexible and simple enough to accommodate either one.

Is your approach more like Federalist or States’ Rights? Or neither? Let us know in the comments below.

Read more ›

Zycom Brings ParkMyCloud to Australia to Help Customers Quickly and Easily Optimize AWS Costs

Aussie corporate cloud management firm will utilize automated AWS scheduling app to reduce customers’ AWS spending

Sterling, VA, June 21st, 2016 – ParkMyCloud, the leading automated scheduling and optimization tool for Amazon Web Services (AWS), announced today that Zycom, a Sydney, Australia-based, cloud management firm, will leverage ParkMyCloud to quickly and easily optimize its customers AWS spending.

For Zycom’s customers—like most AWS users—cloud costs are significant and growing, yet difficult to control.  By using ParkMyCloud, a lightweight web app, in just minutes Zycom can easily visualize a customer’s entire AWS usage across multiple accounts and users and schedule automated start/stop times for idle, non-production instances. As a result Zycom’s customers can reduce their AWS bills by up to 60%.

“We’re excited about partnering with Zycom to accelerate ParkMyCloud’s market penetration in Australia,” said Jay Chapel, ParkMyCloud Co-Founder and CEO. “They have quickly embraced how user-friendly our software is and how quickly it can help them control their customers’ AWS spending.”

“As AWS usage continues to explode, one of our priorities is finding innovative ways to help customers track and manage their spending,” said Zoran Gagic, Director of Zycom.  “ParkMyCloud has created a uniquely powerful, yet simple and practical tool to control AWS costs that we believe will greatly benefit our customers.”

About Zycom

Zycom, based in Sydney, Australia, provides corporate cloud and infrastructure products, services and solutions for Australia’s leading organizations. The company has experience with leading enterprise technologies including Amazon, IBM, HP, Oracle, Red Hat, HDS, EMC, Brocade, Netapp, BMC, CA, VMware, Symantec, Microsoft and Cisco. For more information, please visit www.zycom.com.

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.

Read more ›

10 Things You Should Know About AWS Cost Optimization | Results from the ParkMyCloud Survey

We asked you: what are your AWS cost optimization priorities? The survey results are in! Here’s what we found.

1. Compute services dominate spend.

Almost half (48%) of the AWS spend reported was on EC2 instances. The service taking the next-biggest share of spend was storage (27%), followed by RDS/database (17%), and other services (8%). Not only are compute services growing, but they also have the tendency to quickly rack up spend.

2. Cloud management platforms are used by fewer than 1 in 8 companies.

Only 12% of respondents report using any sort of cloud management platforms. At first this may seem surprising, given the power that these platforms can have in unifying various cloud services and providing centralized control. However, from our experience, the lack of adoption in these platforms boils down to two things: they are complex, take significant resources to deploy andand are expensive. So perhaps it’s not so surprising after all.

3. Scheduling EC2 start/stop times with scripts is a popular solution, but not as popular as you might think.

We’ve previously discussed the use of home-grown scripts to turn instances off when not being utilized. Some developers like the control that scripting gives them over their AWS compute infrastrucuture  — about 37% reported using scripts to manage and control cost. (By the way… if you enjoy rants, maybe you’ll like this one against scripting. Thanks Dale.)

AWS cost optimization priorities4. Most users are diligent about not paying for unused services…

The most used cost optimization strategy reported is the deletion of unused volumes and snapshots, a best practice that 75% of respondents adhere to. Next up was turning off instances when not used, which 70% of respondents reported doing on a regular basis.

5. … But some have a long way to go.

A full 10% of respondents are using none of the most popular cost optimization strategies. That means no reserved instances, no spot instances, no turning off of instances when not being used, no deletion of unused volumes and snapshots. This group isn’t even right-sizing instances. Yikes!

Friends don’t let friends leave AWS environments untended… so do yourself a favor and start your free trial of ParkMyCloud.  You can have on/off schedules set on your non-production instances within 10 minutes, gaining up to 60% savings on these instances.

aws cost optimization strategies6. Users want to optimize current AWS usage before diving into anything new.

AWS is constantly releasing new products and services (as evidenced by the constant flow of announcements on their blog). However, users rated both reducing monthly spend and optimizing cloud utilization as almost twice as important a priority as utilizing new AWS services.

7. Governance and security are top priorities.

Will governance and security ever not be a priority? Probably not. One third of users rated governance and security as either their first or second priority over the next 12 months.

8. The burden of AWS cost optimization is on the users…

About 93% of respondents reported that Development/Engineer, IT operations, and DevOps are involved in cost reduction and optimization.

9. … but that doesn’t mean execs aren’t involved.

Even so, 25% of users reported that either the CTO or VP of R&D was involved in cost optimization, and 15% said Finance was as well.

10. AWS management presents a range of challenges.

When addressing such a prevalent and sprawling set of services as AWS, it’s not surprising that every organization has their own #1 challenge in AWS. In fact, the variety of these challenges is almost overwhelming:

  • Migration
  • Cost
  • Automation
  • Cloud lock-in
  • Learning new services
  • Governance
  • Educating teams unfamiliar with AWS
  • Scaling up services while maintaining control
  • Management
  • Changing focus from using the cloud for speed to using the cloud for cost control

… and the list goes on.

By the way, here’s who participated.

The survey respondents come from companies of all industries and sizes, ranging from 1-10 employees through 5,000+. They varied in amount of time they’ve been using AWS – 18% are new to AWS (have been using less than 1 year), 50% have been using AWS for 1-3 years, 30% have for 4-7 years, and 2.5% have for more than 7 years.

 

What have you learned about cost optimization in your organization lately?

 

Read more ›

If Your CFO Hasn’t Already Told You to Control AWS Costs, (S)he’s About To

Organizations struggle with controlling AWS costsYou made the obvious move and migrated to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Months later, the attractive glow of the move from CapEx to OpEx spend has been dimmed by the reality of increasing monthly AWS bills. Your CFO wants to know what’s up.

This is a real challenge, according to the the head of infrastructure at a mid-sized software company we spoke with recently. Let’s call him Steve.

“I need to reduce my AWS costs as quickly as possible,” Steve told us. “My CFO saw that our AWS spend started at $20k per month when we migrated last year. Now it’s over $100k per month, which makes it one of our biggest line item expenses. We’re under a direct mandate: We have to bring it down.”

The problem is clear. But how did it get so bad, so quickly?

Your Infrastructure is Probably Exploding

amazon-web-services-quarterly-revenue-and-growth-01“As we started to dive into it, we found that a large part of our spend is simply on waste,” Steve said. “With the rapid growth in our AWS use, we didn’t have visibility and policies in place. Our developers aren’t properly cleaning up after themselves, and resources aren’t being tracked, so it’s easy for them to be left running. It’s something we want to change, but it takes time and energy to do that.”

This is a familiar story for many small-to-medium sized businesses, whose agility allowed them to adopt the cloud early. But sometimes, the other side of the “agility” coin is a lack of defined processes, which leads to waste.

As Steve put it, “AWS built this awesome playground everyone can play, but everything costs money.”

Amazon recently announced that AWS will likely be a 10 billion dollar per year business by the end of 2016. This is partly from their rapid gain in customers and partly due to each of their customers spending more and more each year in their massive playground.

Beat Your CFO to It

There’s no need to wait for your CFO to come knocking on your door to take a swing at controlling AWS costs.

  • Visibility start with taking a look at your existing environments. If your environment is large, a single dashboard view that shows multiple accounts and AWS regions can be helpful.  
  • Communication talk with your team and set clear guidelines around provisioning appropriately sized instances, managing existing instances, and stopping non-production instances when they are not needed.
  • Control start taking action on these guidelines to optimize your AWS costs. Here are a few recommendations:
    • Use Reserved Instances in most production environments.
    • Use Spot Instances for high-volume, risk-tolerant use cases, such as data batch jobs for production, and scalability/load testing in non-production.
    • Use Auto Scaling Groups in production in conjunction with On Demand instances that match Reserved Instances you’ve bought.
    • For non-production, use EC2 instances with scheduled on/off times so you only pay for the hours you need.
Read more ›
Copyright © ParkMyCloud 2016. All rights reserved|Privacy Policy