April 2017 - ParkMyCloud

Riding Wave of Rapid Growth, ParkMyCloud to Pitch at Collision Conference 2017

collision conference 2017April 26, 2017 (Dulles, VA) — ParkMyCloud, the platform that helps enterprises optimize public cloud spend, will be pitching at Collision Conference in New Orleans, Lousiana next week in the midst of a period of rapid growth for the company.

ParkMyCloud’s customer base has grown by 50% already in 2017, following a successful first full year in 2016. Customers cross verticals and range in size from startups through Fortune 500 companies, and include McDonald’s, Fox, Capital One, Sage, Wolters Kluwer, Neustar, Philips Respironics, and Raytheon.

Customer use of ParkMyCloud’s platform has also been a success. Customers routinely save 65% or more using ParkMyCloud, and the amount of cumulative savings accelerates every day as new users come on board.

While customers benefit from ParkMyCloud’s automated savings, the team has been busy enhancing the platform. Most notably, in January, ParkMyCloud announced support for Microsoft Azure, in addition to Amazon Web Services, which has been supported since September 2015.

Additionally, customers can now log in to ParkMyCloud and add new users in their organizations using Single Sign-On (SSO) providers, including: Google Apps, Ping, Okta, Azure Active Directory, and OneLogin. A recently launched free tier allows users to use ParkMyCloud’s core scheduling functionality for free, forever – enabling developers to free up the time they may have otherwise spent scripting in-house solutions to schedule off time for their instances.

The success has not gone unnoticed outside of the company. ParkMyCloud was voted through to the Final 4 of the DC Inno Tech Madness competition in March. The company was also selected as a finalist in the 2017 Greater Washington Innovation Awards for Emerging Tech Innovator of the Year. ParkMyCloud is routinely mentioned by industry pundits 451 Research, EMA, CRN and Cloud Computing Magazine as a rising star in cloud cost optimization.

Through the rest of 2017, ParkMyCloud looks to continue advancing the platform functionality with more cost optimization functionality , including support for Google Cloud Platform and optimization options for databases and storage. This poises ParkMyCloud for exponential growth over the next several years.

About ParkMyCloud

ParkMyCloud is a SaaS platform that helps enterprises optimize their public cloud spend by automatically reducing resource waste — think “Nest for the cloud”. ParkMyCloud has helped customers such as McDonald’s, Capital One, Unilever, Fox, Sage Software, and Infor dramatically cut their cloud bills by up to 65%, delivering millions of dollars in savings. For more information, visit http://www.parkmycloud.com.

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New: ParkMyCloud Supports OneLogin for Single Sign-On

Onelogin for single sign-onAs of today, you can now connect ParkMyCloud to OneLogin for Single Sign-On. ParkMyCloud is now integrated with OneLogin’s App Catalog marketplace to simplify Single Sign-On configuration using SAML 2.0.

Using OneLogin for Single Sign-On (SSO) simplifies processes for users by reducing the number of passwords they need to track. It also simplifies the burden for administrators, by allowing them to control user access in one place (for example, through OneLogin) so they don’t have to manage access separately for each user for all applications.

Through OneLogin, ParkMyCloud supports just-in-time provisioning of new users, which means that as soon as a user is authenticated in OneLogin, he or she is automatically created in ParkMyCloud. All the administrator needs to do is email users the organization’s unique ParkMyCloud login link, which can be found in the ParkMyCloud management console.

Once you have a ParkMyCloud account that you would like to integrate with OneLogin, go to the App Catalog and search for “ParkMyCloud”. Once on the ParkMyCloud page, configure the SSO options and accessibility to users, then connect the metadata to ParkMyCloud. That’s it! Now  you can invite your OneLogin users to ParkMyCloud using your unique link, and they will be able to log in to ParkMyCloud in one step with their OneLogin info.

For more information about configuring OneLogin SSO for your ParkMyCloud account please refer to this article.

By the way, ParkMyCloud also supports SSO via Ping, Okta, Google Apps, and Azure Active Directory – see more about our support for these providers.

 

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Why Your CFO is About to Tell You to Control Azure Costs

As more and more companies adopt Microsoft Azure as their public cloud, the need to control Azure costs becomes ever more important. As IT, Development and Operations grow their usage of Azure cloud assets, Finance is catching up. Your CFO has seen the bill, and says, “I thought cloud was supposed to be cheaper. So why is this so high?”

Azure Spend Growing

azure spend growingIt’s no secret that overall Azure spend is rising rapidly. Azure is the fastest-growing cloud provider, both from adoption by new customers, and growth within accounts of existing customers. Many users of other clouds, such as AWS, are also adopting Azure as a secondary option for diversity.

Here’s the thing: as this spend grows, so too does wasted spend. And customers know this. But as one ParkMyCloud user told us, “As we started to dive into it, we found that a large part of our spend is simply on waste. 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.”

So it’s no wonder that IT, Development, and Operations teams are being tapped by CFOs left and right to reduce costs, as the Azure bill becomes a growing line item in the budget.

Control Azure Costs Before Your CFO Makes You

There are a few things you can do to be proactive and control Azure costs before your CFO comes bursting through your office door. Here are some starting points:

  • Control your view –  the first step toward change is awareness, so use an Azure dashboard to view all of your resources in one, consolidated place. We’ve heard from ParkMyCloud users, upon getting a single view of all of their resources in the ParkMyCloud dashboard, that they found VMs they didn’t even know were running.
  • Control your processes – talk with your team and set clear guidelines around provisioning appropriately sized VMs, stopping non-production VMs when they are not needed, and governing existing VMs (for example, whose responsibility is it to make sure each team is only running the resources they actually need?)
  • Control Azure costs – there are a few simple actions you can take to get your actual Azure costs in control. Here are some starting points:
    • “Right size” your VMs – make sure you aren’t choosing larger capacity/memory/CPU than you need
    • Set automatic schedules so your non-production VMs don’t run when you don’t need them (free with ParkMyCloud’s core version – try it out)
    • Set a spending limit on your Azure account. You can do a hard cutoff that will turn off your VMs once you hit the limit, or simply sign up to receive email alerts when you approach or hit the spending limit.

So, automate your operations today and make your CFO happy. Bring your Azure spend down before it becomes a problem!

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New ParkMyCloud Plan Brings Free Cloud Cost Optimization to All

free cloud cost optimizationApril 18, 2017 (Sterling, VA) – ParkMyCloud, the SaaS platform that helps enterprises optimize public cloud spend, has announced a new pricing model, including the core cost savings functionality available in a free plan. The free cloud cost optimization plan was created to enable developers and DevOps practitioners to save money on non-production resources that are not being used nights and weekends. Currently, these practitioners are using homegrown scheduling scripts, which although they are “notionally free”, are actually are a suboptimal approach and require valuable in-house resources to develop and maintain.

ParkMyCloud is taking this burden off the shoulders of developers by offering its core automated instance scheduling functionality to all users, with or without a paid subscription. The account setup process typically takes customers less than 15 minutes. Then users can quickly create automated scheduling policies, so that their non-production resources, such as development, staging, test, and QA, are turned off when they are not needed, such as nights and weekends. A schedule that runs these instances during an 8-hour workday, 5 days a week, and “parks” them the rest of the week, saves 65% of the cost of the instance – all with minimal setup and maintenance time required.

In the new pricing structure, advanced features such as SSO, multi-cloud support, API, audit logs, and reporting will require subscription to a paid tier. The premium features have been added to support companies who are scaling in the public cloud or who need higher levels of governance or security.

The new model gives all new users access to a 14-day trial that allows them to experience all of the premium features. At the end of those 14 days, users can choose to subscribe to the plan that meets their needs.

Customer feedback has been positive regarding the ease of use and savings achieved. “ParkMyCloud has been great for us to reduce AWS costs,” said DevOps Engineer Tosin Ojediran. “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.”

About ParkMyCloud

ParkMyCloud is a SaaS platform that helps enterprises optimize their public cloud spend by automatically reducing resource waste — think “Nest for the cloud”. ParkMyCloud has helped customers such as McDonald’s, Capital One, Unilever, Fox, Sage Software, and Infor dramatically cut their cloud bills by up to 65%, delivering millions of dollars in savings. For more information, visit http://www.parkmycloud.com.

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“Is that old cloud instance running?” How visibility saves money in the cloud

make sure you didn't leave a cloud instance running with better cloud visibility“Is that old cloud instance running?”

Perhaps you’ve heard this around the office. It shouldn’t be too surprising: anyone who’s ever tried to load the Amazon EC2 console has quickly found how difficult it is to keep a handle on everything that is running.  Only one region gets displayed at a time, which makes it common for admins to be surprised when the bill comes at the end of the month.  In today’s distributed world, it not only makes sense for different instances to be running in different geographical regions, but it’s encouraged from an availability perspective.

On top of this multi-region setup, many organizations are moving to a multi-cloud strategy as well.  Many executives are stressing to their operations teams that it’s important to run systems in both Azure and AWS.  This provides extreme levels of reliability, but also complicates the day-to-day management of cloud instances.

So is that old cloud instance running?

You may get a chuckle out of the idea that IT administrators can lose servers, but it happens more frequently than we like to admit.  If you only ever log in to US-East1, then you might forget that your dev team that lives in San Francisco was using US-West2 as their main development environment. Or perhaps you set up a second cloud environment to make sure your apps all work properly, but forgot to shut them down prior to going back to your main cloud.

That’s where a single-view dashboard (like the view you get with ParkMyCloud) can provide administrators with unprecedented visibility into their cloud accounts.  This is a huge benefit that leads to cost savings right off the bat, as the cloud servers running that you forgot about or thought you turned off can be seen in a single pane of glass. Knowledge is power: now that you know it exists, you can turn it off. You also get an easy view into how your environment changes over time, so you’ll be aware if instances get spun up in various regions.

This level of visibility also has a freeing effect, as it can lead you to utilizing more regions without fear of losing instances.  Many folks know they should be distributed geographically, but don’t want to deal with the headache of keeping track of the sprawl.  By tracking all of your regions and accounts in one easy-to-use view, you can start to fully benefit from cloud computing without wasting money on unused resources.

Now with ParkMyCloud’s core functionality available for free, it’s easy to get this single view of your AWS and Azure environments.  We think you’ll get a new perspective on your existing cloud infrastructure – and maybe you’ll find a few lost servers! Get started with the free version of ParkMyCloud.

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New Free Tier of ParkMyCloud – Free Cloud Optimization for All, & No More Scripting

We’re announcing a new, free tier of ParkMyCloud! That’s right – you now have the option for free cloud optimization using ParkMyCloud – forever.

Why Script When ParkMyCloud is free?

free cloud optimization with new ParkMyCloud free tierWe’ve created the free tier option to support our developer friends who, to save money on non-production resources that are not being used nights and weekends, are currently using the best option available: home grown scheduling scripts. Friends: we want to save you the trouble of scripting (it’s not the answer!) Now you can use ParkMyCloud to apply on/off schedules to your instances — for free, which means no approvals required. Plus with ParkMyCloud’s policy engine, you can have instances automatically set on schedules and assigned to teams. The full automation means no work for you to keep your instances’ up/down time optimized.

Premium Features

Of course, more advanced features, such as SSO, multi-cloud, API, audit logs, and reporting do require subscription to a paid tier. Many of our customers start with small public cloud environments and grow from there. The premium features have been added to support companies who are scaling in the public cloud or who need higher levels of governance or security. We aim to make these as cost-effective for users as possible – customers usually recoup their yearly fee in 6 weeks or less.

14-Day Trial of All Features

The new model gives all new users access to a free 14-trial where they can experience all of the premium features. At the end of those 14 days, you can choose to subscribe to the plan that meets your needs. If you decide you don’t need the premium features, or you want to spend longer testing the tool, you have the option to move to the free tier. Just remember that if you do move to free you will lose those premium features.

Get Started with Free Cloud Optimization

Get started with your free 14-day trial here. (And if you like what you see, stay on for free as long as you like!)

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Is your AWS bill too high this month?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) monthly bills start arriving in inboxes the world round about this time every month. When they do, there are two questions we like to ask AWS users.aws bill too high?

One, did you look at your AWS bill?

For some readers, the idea that you might not is ridiculous. You may be surprised how many companies we’ve talked to where even key decision makers are unsure how much they are spending on cloud services. (Mature cloud users are more likely to worry about spend, as found by RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Report, but that doesn’t mean that even those users have their eye on the bill each month.)

Okay, so let’s assume that you have looked at your AWS bill. Time for the second question. Was your AWS bill more than you expected this month?

For more and more cloud users, the answer is yes. Only 46% of enterprises monitor and rightsize cloud resources – which means 54% do nothing. Between resources left running when they’re not needed, incorrectly sized resources, and orphaned volumes, it’s easy for bills to climb out of control.

We’ve written extensively about how to reduce cloud waste, whether you should build cost-reduction tools yourself, and how to control AWS spend. If that’s overwhelming, there’s one simple thing you can do to get started, and combat that sticker shock in time for your next AWS bill.

Your first step toward getting AWS bills in control is to schedule on/off times for your non-production resources, so you’re not wasting a single dollar on compute time you don’t need.

It’s easy – get started with a free trial of ParkMyCloud.

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The Cloud Waste Problem That’s Killing Your Business (and What To Do About It)

cloud wasteWaste not, want not. That was one of the well-healed quips of one the United States’ Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin. It couldn’t be more timely advice in today’s cloud computing world – the world of cloud waste. (When he was experimenting with static electricity and lightning, I wonder if he saw the future of Cloud? :^) )

Organizations are moving to the Cloud in droves. And why not? The shift from CapEx to monthly OpEx, the elasticity, the reduced deployment times and faster time-to-market: what’s not to love?

The good news: the public cloud providers have made it easy to deploy their services. The bad news: the public cloud providers have made it easy to deploy their services…really easy.  

And, experience over the past decade has shown that leads to cloud waste. What is “cloud waste” and where does it come from? What are the consequences? What can you do to reduce it?

What is Cloud Waste?

“Cloud waste” occurs when you consume more cloud resources than you actually need to run your business.

It takes several forms:

  • Resources left running 24×7 in development, test, demo, and training environments where they don’t need to be running 24×7.  (Thoughts of parents yelling at children to “turn the lights out” if they are the last one in a room.) I believe this is bad habit that was reinforced by the previous era of on premise data centers. The thinking: It’s a sunk cost any, why bother turning it off?  Of course, it’s not a sunk cost anymore.

This manifests itself in various ways:

    • Instances or VMs which are left running, chewing up $/CPU-Hr costs and network charges
    • Orphaned volumes (volumes not attached to any servers), which are not being used and incurring monthly $/GB charges
    • Old snapshots of those or other volumes
    • Old, out-of-date machine images

However, cloud consumers are not the only ones to blame. The public cloud providers are also responsible when it comes to their PaaS (platform as a service) offerings for which there is no OFF switch (e.g., AWS’ RDS, Redshift, DynamoDB and others). If you deliver a PaaS offering, make sure it has an OFF switch.

  • Resources that are larger than needed to do the job. Many developers don’t know what size instance to spin up to do their development work, so they will often spin up larger ones. (Hey, if 1 core and 4 GB of RAM is good, then 16 cores and 64 GB of RAM must be even better, right?) I think this habit also arose in the previous era of on-premise data centers: “We already paid for all this capacity anyway, so why not use it?” (Wrong again.)

This, too, rears its ugly head in several ways:

    • Instances or VMs which are much larger than they need to be
    • Block volumes which are larger than they need to be
    • Databases which are way over-provisioned compared to what their actual IOPS or sequential throughput requirements actually are.

Who is Affected by Cloud Waste?

The consequences of cloud waste are quite apparent. It is killing everyone’s business bottom line. For consumers, it erodes their return on assets, return on equity and net revenue.  All of these ultimately impact earnings per share for their investors as well.

Believe it or not, it also hurts the public cloud providers and their bottom line.  Public cloud providers are most profitable when they can oversubscribe their data centers. Cloud waste forces them to build more, very expensive data centers than they need to, killing their oversubscription rates and hurting their profitability as well. This is why you see cloud providers offering certain types of cost cutting solutions. For example, AWS offers Reserved Instances, where you can pay up front for break in on-demand pricing. They also offer Spot Instances, Auto-Scaling Groups and Lambda.  Azure also offers price breaks to their ELA customer and Scale Sets (the equivalent of ASGs).

How to Prevent Cloud Waste

So, what can you do to address this? Ultimately, the solution to this problem exists between your ears. Most of it is common sense: It requires rethinking… rewiring your brain to look at cloud computing in a different way. We all need to become honorary Scotsmen (short arms and deep pockets… with apologies to my Scottish friends).

  • When you turn on resources in non-production environments, turn on the minimum size needed to get the job done and only grudgingly move up to the next size.
  • Turn stuff off in non-production environments, when you are not using it. And for Pete’s sake, when it comes to compute time, don’t waste your time and money writing your own scripts…that just exacerbates the waste. Those DevOps people should spend that time on your bread and butter applications. Use ParkMyCloud instead! (Okay, yes, that was a shameless plug, but it is true.)
  • Clean up old volumes, snapshots and machine images.
  • Buy Reserved Instances for your production environments, but make sure you manage them closely, so that they actually match what your users are provisioning, otherwise you could be double paying.
  • Investigate Spot fleets for your production batch workloads that run at night. It could save you a bundle.

These good habits, over time, can benefit everyone economically: Cloud consumers and cloud producers alike.  

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