March 2017 - ParkMyCloud

Amazon uses robots for mundane tasks. Do the same and automate tasks in AWS

automate aws tasks like amazon automates in their warehouses with robotsI’m a fan of automation – as a CEO, I think you should do everything possible to simplify your day-to-day, whether that means you overhaul your calendar system or automate tasks in AWS.

Amazon themselves is great at this. I’m sure you are well aware of Amazon’s quest for automation in their warehouses (robots) and distribution (drones) to reduce costs and deliver packages faster. (That’s a great goal, by the way – I am an Amazon Prime customer – love it.) If you’re interested in Amazon’s robots, check out this article from Business Insider. And as the use of drones to deliver product becomes reality, Amazon has created a service – check out Amazon Prime Air if you haven’t already.

So let’s look at another branch of Amazon – Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS is a large distributor of cloud, which in and of itself is actually a utility that can be used on demand to provide compute, database, and storage services to small and large companies alike. It’s just like the way utility companies provide electricity, water and heat to homes and business. Over time, features and services have been built and sold to optimize these traditional utilities in order to simplify mundane tasks via automation and achieve ROI by saving more money than cost. Here are a few examples:

  • Nest to detect, learn, and automate programmable thermostats to save on heating and cooling
  • In-office motion sensors to detect movement to turn lights off/on
  • Motion sensors on faucets and hand dryers to eliminate water and electric waste
  • Gadgets on showers, toilets, etc. to reduce water consumption and waste

The point is, all of these utilities need to be optimized with 3rd party technologies to automate and reduce waste, and to optimize spend. At home, you’re the CFO (or maybe your spouse is 🙂) but you don’t want to spend more than you need to, and you will buy technology to automate mundane tasks and save yourself money if there is a tangible ROI.

Amazon is doing this with robots and drones – neither of which they built. So why not use 3rd party technology to automate for AWS, Azure, and Google Compute. Remember that the public cloud is a utility, and utilities have waste. In public cloud, what can we look at that’s mundane, that can be automated and where you can save dollars on cloud waste?

I have a simple one – automate tasks in AWS by turning servers off and on. Did you know that on average, 66% of what you spend on the public cloud is on compute (servers), and 45% of that is on non-production systems like development, test, and QA – servers that’s don’t need to run 7×24. That’s $6B in waste per year.

Even better than Nest, which you can install and set up in 30 minutes, ParkMyCloud can be setup and configured in 15 minutes or less. The next day, we will tell you how much you saved in the previous 24 hours by simply automating the mundane task of turning idles servers on/off with schedules.

There’s a reason Amazon is so successful – they automate mundane tasks in a simple, efficient way, follow their lead – automate today!

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An Open Letter to Snap: We can save you $80 million on your cloud bills

open-letter-to-snapDear Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and whoever manages Snap’s cloud infrastructure,

We have a proposition for you. We can save you $80 million on your cloud bills.

See, when you filed for IPO a few weeks back, one snippet of information that caught our eye was your use of public cloud – specifically your $400-million-annual four-year public cloud deal with Google Cloud Platform. We never doubted that your cloud infrastructure would be huge, see. After all, saw Netflix’s cloud spend rise to some $800 million a year in 2016 after they completed a near-total migration to AWS. These huge infrastructures are the most important to optimize – particularly as you grow.

As cloud waste reduction engineers here at ParkMyCloud, we are passionate about automating that optimization – and doing so quickly and simply. Obviously, in your case, you will continue to scale your infrastructure to deal with the exponential customer growth and daily peaks in usage (and by the way, my kids love Snapchat and I had to get an unlimited data plan – thanks!).  Based on our analysis, we know that the largest item on public cloud customers’ monthly bills is compute instances/VMs (typically about 70% of a cloud bill). Research has shown that industry-wide, the amount of non-production in this infrastructure is about 44%. These non-production instances are the number one place to start hunting for optimization opportunities.

Your rate of innovation is certainly impressive and we see that you spent some $185MM last year on R&D. We would be willing to bet that although your teams are incredible, that in the haste to deliver better and better product, your cloud waste is likely enormous. Based on what we have seen in similar set-ups, we think we can save close to half this spend by simply automating the turning off of your cloud instances when not being used.

Here’s what we propose: you need to put parking schedules in place on your non-production instances.  Snap, you need to ensure that your public cloud resources are only used when needed and turned off when not. Based on this alone we typically see our customers saving upwards of 65% off their compute spend. If you add additional optimization approaches that address industry rates of over-provisioning of compute instances (55%) and large scale inventory waste (15%) i.e. spend on resources that are no longer required savings grow even further, you will save even more on non-production (dev, test, QA etc.) workloads.

So when we see huge monthly spend numbers like yours, what gets us excited is thinking about how just how big your savings could be. And the truly wonderful thing with these type of savings is that everyone’s a winner – the DevOps team wins as they help the enterprise deliver more for less, the shareholders benefit from reduced Op-Ex and increased profits. (You probably don’t care, but your cloud providers will also benefit as they can better utilize their own datacenters.)

So Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and the rest of the team – shoot us a note.  We are happy to talk whenever you are.

Cheers,

Jay Chapel & the ParkMyCloud Team

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Does your enterprise need to hire a Cloud Financial Administrator?

cloud financial administratorA recent report from 451 Research analyst William Fellows caught our eye – Now hiring: Cloud financial administrators. The report – which you can download here on our website – discusses a trending new role in enterprises as they seek to keep cloud costs in check.

Why would you need a cloud financial administrator?

The complexity of the cloud infrastructure space, plus the increasing costs in public cloud as enterprises grow, leaves many enterprises unprepared to manage the financial aspects of their cloud usage. IT, Operations, and Development managers and directors already have too much on their plates to add the entire responsibility category of managing cloud finances – and therefore, some are turning to creating a new role solely for this purpose.

Here at ParkMyCloud, we’ve had similar observations. Just take a look at our case studies to see stories of DevOps Engineers, Operations Engineers, and Directors of Infrastructure Services who were unprepared to take on the additional burden of cost optimization single-handedly. Or so they thought.

Is it worth the expense?

As mentioned in the report, the salary of any cost-savings hire should, of course, be lower than the amount that person saves the organization. If your enterprise’s cloud infrastructure is extensive enough to cover a CFA’s salary, it may seem like a cost-effective decision.

However, this can be done in a simpler and more cost-effective manner by introducing cost-optimization tools. The key is to ensure that they are simple to use, and won’t take much time for users to implement and maintain.

Our customers have found ParkMyCloud to fit this need. It takes just minutes to set up and provides savings in the hundreds of thousands and more.

So do you need a cloud financial administrator? Well, it’s up to you. But we don’t think so.

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Why You Should Attend an AWS User Group

Meetup-LogoSince mid-2016, ParkMyCloud has served as a co-organizer with BlackSky for our local AWS user group. Each month, we gather 50-100 AWS users in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC area to learn, share technical knowledge, and have a good time.

There are tons of AWS meetups throughout the country and the world. If there’s one near you, we’d highly recommend checking it out. If there’s not, consider starting one up! Comment below or reach out through the meetup page if you want some pointers on how to do that.

Here are three reasons you should attend an AWS user group:

Learn

Different user groups and meetups will organize the “learning” portion in different ways. For our local group, we tend to have two to three different presentations on AWS technologies and use cases. For example, our recent talks have covered continuous compliance, backends for IoT modules, and various security topics. The great thing is that as a user group, anyone is eligible to present and share what they’ve learned in AWS – so you can contribute, too.

From these presentations and from talking with peers, not only will you get new ideas – you’ll find that some of the problems you thought you were facing alone are actually common challenges. Meeting up with other users gives you a chance to commiserate and to learn that these problems are solvable – some much needed encouragement!

Additionally, if AWS participates in your local user group, you have the opportunity to get insights into new or upcoming products and more.

Network

Maybe you think “networking” is best left to the sales and marketing folks. I’d urge you to think twice. Every time our group meets, I see people making connections – about job openings and business opportunities, sure. But there’s also the joy of being able to talk shop with someone who understands – sharing tips, tricks, and cool stuff you’ve been doing. See the above note on commiseration, too.

Free Food

Generally, a sponsor will provide food – and if you’re lucky, beer – for the event, in exchange for the opportunity to address the group. Who can say no to free food? (And don’t discount the sponsors from the “learning” portion either – they’ve identified the group as a good audience for a reason! )

 

By the way, for those based in or traveling through the DC area, we’d love to see you at our next AWS user group event! See the meetup page for attendee information, and information for speaking or sponsoring at the event.

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Growth = Wasted Spend on Microsoft Azure

If you read any cloud or tech blogs, you’ve probably seen the latest financials that show that Microsoft Azure is growing – and that it’s currently the fastest-growing cloud provider. However, this growth means an ever-increasing amount of wasted spend on Microsoft Azure resources.

Overall, Azure’s growth is exciting for customers who have bought into the Microsoft stack — more momentum means quickly evolving product lines, balanced prices, and improving cloud services.

However, dominant competitor Amazon Web Services (AWS) has had more time to feel and subsequently address growing pains. That means that AWS users have more options available to them to address certain concerns that come with using public cloud. For example, managing costs.

Managing Costs: a Major Concern Among Cloud Users

How much are Azure users worrying about managing their cloud costs? According to RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud report, managing costs is a huge, top-of-mind challenge. While it’s a top-3 concern for all cloud users, for mature cloud users, managing costs is the number one concern.

Rightscale-Cloud-Priorities

The primary goal of cost management efforts is to optimize costs – in other words, to eliminate wasted spend. Most cloud customers would agree that they have some amount of spend wasted, whether that’s from leaving resources on when not needed, oversized resources, orphaned storage volumes, etc. However, estimating the amount of wasted spend is a problem.

RightScale found that customers consistently underestimate how much they are wasting:

RightscaleWastedCloudSpend

So when we’re looking at Microsoft Azure specifically – how much spend is wasted?

Wasted Spend on Microsoft Azure

We’ve talked about overall cloud waste before. So let’s apply those numbers to Azure specifically.

And that’s only a portion of the waste – it doesn’t even address oversized resources, orphaned volume storage, etc. Many of these problems are well-addressed in AWS, but the Azure support market is still catching up.

The good news is, this $0.9 billion portion of wasted spend is easy enough to solve. All Microsoft Azure users need to do is schedule the “lights to turn off” when they’re not home – in other words, schedule non-production resources to turn off when no one is using them. Try it now with ParkMyCloud!

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How VARS and MSPs Can Use Cloud Cost Optimization as a Door Opener

too-many-clouds-logo-social-media-linkedinWe recently chatted with Jazz Padda, Managing Director of ParkMyCloud’s UK partner Too Many Clouds about how resellers, VARs and MSPs can use cloud cost optimization trend in cloud. Below is a transcript of our conversation.

Hi Jazz. Can you tell us about what Too Many Clouds does and what kinds of companies you work with?

Too Many Clouds is a distributor and cloud-based solutions provider. We partner with medium to large enterprise users, predominantly multinational businesses. We also work with large enterprise Value-Added Resellers (VARs) and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to provide them with cloud-based solutions as well as cost optimization.

When you talk to enterprises, VARs and MSPs, does cloud cost optimization seem to be a concern?

Everyone’s talking about cloud to save money and make their lives simpler – and cost is an important part of that conversation. If someone has automated a certain element of their IT in the cloud, the consensus is that they’ve saved money somewhere, and they’ve made their life maybe one eighth easier. They can spend that time on core projects within the business.

However, the issue that we’re seeing at the moment is, once companies migrate to the cloud – and we’re an advocate of moving infrastructure into the cloud and adopting a hybrid model – costs are spiraling out of control. An end user may think initially that they’re getting a good deal, but because they are not managing their infrastructure correctly, based on capacity planning or the small things like running servers at full capacity that really should be sitting there idle – costs are growing rapidly.

As a technology distributor, how are you approaching this problem?

We offer cost optimization technologies such as ParkMyCloud to our clients and partners, which enables us to be at the forefront of the cost-saving exercise.

Cost optimization gives us a great opportunity to add value to users who are already settled into using AWS or Azure. We’re purely value-driven, so we will only add to an end-user or a partner’s portfolio if we have the capacity to do so, if we have something of value to give to them.

We basically lead from a consultative perspective. We try to understand an end user’s environment and if we have something that will aid their environment that would help them, we speak to them about that product. ParkMyCloud actually ticks the box in 70% of the conversations we have around public cloud spending.

How do your VAR and MSP partners utilize cost optimization technologies?

What that means to our partner/reseller customers is that it changes the conversations they’re having with their potential customers.

Until the recent past, our VAR and MSP partners have been focused on providing solutions for cloud migration. A technical person would have to spend the best part of half a day to figure out how much money someone was going to save by going from on-site to Azure, or Azure to AWS or vice versa, and it was still an estimate.

Now with cost optimization technologies that they have access to through partnerships with ParkMyCloud and Too Many Clouds, partners are able to open conversations with existing cloud users. By simply using a platform like ParkMyCloud for post-migration cost optimization, they can get to the savings figure in a matter of minutes. It’s a bit of a no-brainer for partners. It serves as a door-opener for them.

What about end users?

With the actual savings amounts provided, an end user can now make a decision based on cost savings solutions much more quickly.

Finance teams appreciate the ability to look at a simple report, see how much money is going to be saved, and make a decision based on cost savings alone. That’s quite powerful.

Financial controllers are now more cost-conscious than they were before, because they need to allocate those budgets elsewhere. By bringing the cost optimization element into the conversation, we’re able to get over the hurdle a little bit quicker. It makes it easier for end users to make a decision they are looking to make anyway.

Do you have any predictions about what you think will be valuable to end users or resellers in the next few years?

The next big step we’re going to see is the merging of multiple cloud platforms into one or two very big hybrid cloud environments – AWS, Azure, IBM Softlayer, etc., all crash together as one big pooled resource.

Then it will be about departments within the business cross-charging each other and internal costs being allocated correctly. This could also go down to a granular level, charging by applications being used for certain periods of time, charged within different departments as well. That’s what I predict will be important for resellers to understand about end users in the near future.

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