June 2017 - ParkMyCloud

Optimizing Dev Instance Costs on Side Projects in Public Clouds

Dev Instance Costs

While ParkMyCloud was exhibiting at DeveloperWeek New York 2017, we had a chance to talk to a lot of developers about how to optimize dev instance costs on their personal projects outside of their normal day job.  When asked where they host these development instances, I heard time and time again how the major public cloud providers (like AWS, Azure, and Google Compute)  can be overly expensive to run for such small projects.  Many choose to use something like Heroku or spin up local VMs just to save some money, even though it might be less convenient – cost trumps convenience when it’s your own money.

While chatting about these side projects, I got the chance to talk about how some ParkMyCloud customers choose to use the “always parked” schedule within ParkMyCloud to have development instances ready to go when they are ready to work on them.  By clicking a single button in the ParkMyCloud interface, you can temporarily disable the parking schedule for the specific length of time that you need to have the dev instance powered on, ParkMyCloud can automatically turn the instance back off when you’re done so you don’t have to remember to shut everything down.

Many developers I talked to were shocked that they didn’t think of an approach like this for their development instances!  This method allows someone to run their services on standard public cloud platforms without worrying about wasted cloud spend, which lets them develop it anywhere and anytime.  A couple folks said they like that the cloud lets them connect from their desktop, laptop, or even a thinner client like a tablet or chromebook.

Here’s the kicker that really pushed these developers over the edge — ParkMyCloud has a fully free tier, no credit card required.  This option is perfect for personal projects or small teams, as it allows unlimited instances to be under management at no cost and with no installation.  Setup is simple, and the power of the platform is evident when you first log in.

The simplicity of the parking and scheduling features of ParkMyCloud allow the freedom to use AWS, Azure, or Google Compute for side projects along with day-to-day work tasks.  By freeing you from worrying about dev instance costs or wasted money, ParkMyCloud can help enable you to make great products and tools while doing what you love.  So take that idea you’ve always wanted to work on, fire up some development instances in your favorite public cloud, and let ParkMyCloud manage your environment for free today!

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Top Cloud Computing Trends: Cloud Cost Control

Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) just released a new report on the top cloud computing trends for hybrid cloud, containers, and DevOps in 2017. With this guide, they aim to provide recommendations to enterprises on how you can implement products and processes in your business to meet the top priority trends.

First Priority Among Cloud Computing Trends: Cost Control

Of the 260 companies interviewed in EMA’s study, 42% named “cost control” as their number one priority. Here at ParkMyCloud, we weren’t surprised to hear that. As companies mature in their use of the cloud, cost control moves to the top of the list as their number one cloud-related priority.

EMA has identified a few key problems that contribute to the need for cloud cost control:

  • Waste – inefficient use of cloud resources
  • Unpredictable bills – cloud bills are higher than expected
  • Vendor lock-in – inability to move away from a cloud provider due to contractual or technological dependencies

Related to this is another item on EMA’s list of cloud computing trends: the demand for a single pane of glass for monitoring the cloud. This goes hand-in-hand with the need for cost control, as well as concerns about governance: if you can’t see it, you don’t know there’s a problem. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a pane of glass is only one step toward reaching a solution. You need to actually take action on your cloud environment to keep costs in control.

How to Implement Changes to Control Costs

To actually implement changes in your environment and control costs, EMA has provided a starting recommendation:

Consider simple tools with large impact: Evaluate tools that are quick to implement and help harvest “low-hanging fruit.”

In fact, EMA provided a list of its top 3 vendors that it recommends as a Rapid ROI Utility – among which it has included ParkMyCloud.

Cost Control among top cloud computing trends

EMA recommends these top tools, particularly the “rapid ROI tools,” as a good starting point for controlling  cloud costs – as each of the tools can easily be tried out and the results can be verified in a brief period of time. (If you’re interested in trying out ParkMyCloud in your environment, we offer a 14-day free trial, during which you get to pocket the savings and try out a variety of enterprise-grade features like SSO, a Policy Engine, and API automation for continuous cost control.)

 

Download the report here to check out the full results from EMA.

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New: Park AWS RDS Instances with ParkMyCloud

Now You Can Park AWS RDS Instances with ParkMyCloud

We’re happy to share that you can now park AWS RDS instances with ParkMyCloud!

AWS just recently released the ability to start and stop RDS instances. Now with ParkMyCloud, you can automate RDS start/stop on a schedule, so your databases used for development, testing, and other non-production purposes are only running when you actually need them – and you only pay for the hours you use. This is the first parking feature on the market that’s fully integrated with AWS’s new RDS start/stop capability.

You can also use ParkMyCloud’s policy engine to create rules that automatically assign your RDS instances to parking schedules and to teams, so they’re only accessible to the users who need them.

Why it Matters

Our customers who use AWS have long asked for the ability to park RDS instances. In fact,

RDS is the area of biggest of cloud spend after compute, accounting for about 15-20% of an average user’s bill. The savings users can enjoy from parking RDS will be significant. On average, ParkMyCloud users save $140 per parked instance per month on compute – and as RDS instances cost significantly more per hour, the savings will be proportionally higher.

“We’ve used ParkMyCloud for over a year to reduce our EC2 spend, enjoying a 13X return on our yearly license fee – it’s literally saved us thousands of dollars on our AWS bill. We look forward to saving even more now that ParkMyCloud has added support for RDS start/stop!” – Anthony Suda, Release Manager/Senior Network Manager, Sundog.

How to Get Started

It’s easy to get started and park AWS RDS instances with ParkMyCloud.

If you don’t yet use ParkMyCloud, you can try it now for free. We offer a 14-day free trial of all ParkMyCloud features, after which you can choose to subscribe to a premium  plan or continue parking your instances using ParkMyCloud’s free tier.

If you already use ParkMyCloud, you’ll need to check your AWS permissions and ParkMyCloud policies out, and then turn on the RDS feature via your settings page. Please see more information about this on our support page.

As always, we welcome your feedback about this new addition to ParkMyCloud, and anything else you’d like to see in the future.

Happy parking!

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ParkMyCloud Releases Parking to Automate AWS RDS Cost Savings

Amazon Web Services Customers Can Now Schedule Stop/Start for AWS RDS Instances with ParkMyCloud’s Automated Cost Savings Platform

June 20, 2017 (Dulles, VA) – ParkMyCloud, the leading enterprise platform for continous cost control in public cloud, today announced that it now offers “parking” for Amazon Web Services (AWS) Relational Database Service (RDS) instances. With parking, users can automatically put resources on on/off schedules, so they only pay for the hours they’re actually using. This is the first parking feature on the market that’s fully integrated with AWS’s recently launched RDS start/stop capability.

RDS is the area of biggest of cloud spend after compute, accounting for about 15-20% of an average user’s bill. In fact, the savings users can enjoy from parking RDS will be significant. On average, ParkMyCloud users save $140 per parked instance per month on compute – and as RDS instances cost significantly more per hour, the savings will be proportionally higher.

“Adding the ability to ‘park’ RDS is a great enhancement to ParkMyCloud’s platform which already helps us reduce our monthly AWS EC2 spend. It’s actually a feature we’ve asked for, so we appreciate how quickly they were able to get this out the door,” said Greg Austin, Global IT DevOps Automation Manager at RateMyAgent.

“Our customers made it clear they wanted RDS parking, and we’re happy to deliver it after working with AWS on the integration,” said ParkMyCloud CEO Jay Chapel. “We’re focused on continuing to build the best cloud cost control platform in the market, so when our customers speak, we listen.”

In addition to AWS, ParkMyCloud also supports Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. As with the RDS Parking enhancement, ParkMyCloud will be adding automated cost savings functionality for services beyond compute across all three providers.

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 and Sage Software dramatically cut their cloud bills by up to 65%, delivering millions of dollars in savings. For more information, visit http://www.parkmycloud.com.

Press Contact

Katy Stalcup

kstalcup@parkmycloud.com

(571) 334-3291

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Cloud Access Control Policy – How to Balance Security and Access

Cloud access control policy can be a tricky balance. On the one hand, cloud security is a top concern among many cloud users we talk to. On the other, the ease, flexibility, and speed of the cloud can be sacrificed when users aren’t given the access they need to the resources they use.

Cloud Access Control Policy & Cloud Management Platforms

Internal cloud access control policy is a matter that can be determined within each organization – but what about when an organization wants to use an external cloud management platform? As mentioned, we constantly hear that cloud security ranks #1 or close to it in terms of enterprise priorities, yet when we look around we see a lot of divergence in what different cloud management products require.

Some require literally the keys to the kingdom when you wish to partake of their systems capabilities. You might just want to run some simple analytical reports, but the vendor starts from the perspective of requiring broad ranging policy access, way beyond what’s required to do that job.

We have begun a survey of policy requirements across cloud management platforms, and from our research so far, it seems that the “principle of least privilege” is not as widely adopted in the market as it should be.

The Principle of Least Privilege

In the world of cyber security there is a widely-known cloud access control policy concept called “the principle of least privilege.”  In essence, this concept means that users of any system should only be provided with the privileges that they need to do their job. In the world of on-demand cloud computing where resources are spun up and access shared within seconds, this principle is often stretched beyond its limit.

When designing ParkMyCloud, this concept was top-of-mind. We understood the need to assure clients that controlling their infrastructure with our product made their environments safer, not more vulnerable. What this means in practice is minimizing the number of policy permissions any user of the system needs to have to optimize and control their public cloud.

Each public cloud provider (AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform), has a unique set of policy controls used to manage how people access and utilize their company’s cloud infrastructure. These range at the low end to just allowing people to view things (and not create, change or terminate) to in essence giving users the keys to the kingdom.

When evaluating and subscribing to cloud tools, you should demand that access controls are tightly enforced. ParkMyCloud uses the bare minimum to save you money in the cloud, so you can be sure that your infrastructure is secure and optimized for cost control. Keep your environment secure, while balancing by providing users with limited access so they can do their jobs efficiently and cost-effectively.

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Is a multi-cloud strategy really just a risk mitigation decision?

Manage Microsoft Azure

Now that ParkMyCloud supports AWS, Azure, and Google, we’re starting to see more businesses who utilize a multi-cloud strategy. The question this raises is: why is a multi-cloud strategy important from a functional standpoint, and why are enterprises deploying this strategy?

To answer this, let’s define “multi-cloud”, as this means different things to different people. I appreciated this description from TechTarget, which describes multi-cloud as:

the concomitant use of two or more cloud services to minimize the risk of widespread data loss or downtime due to a localized component failure in a cloud computing environment. …. A multi-cloud strategy can also improve overall enterprise performance by avoiding “vendor lock-in” and using different infrastructures to meet the needs of diverse partners and customers.

From our conversations with some cloud gurus and our customers, a multi-cloud strategy boils down to:

  • Risk Mitigation – low priority
  • Managing vendor lock-in (price protection) – medium priority
  • Optimizing where you place your workloads – high priority

Risk Mitigation 

Looking at our own infrastructure at ParkMyCloud, we use AWS and other AWS services including RDS, Route 53, SNS and SES. In a risk mitigration exercise, would we look for those like services in Azure, and try to go through the technical work of mapping a 1:1 fit and building a hot failover in Azure? Or would we simply use a different AWS region – which uses fewer resources and less time?

You don’t actually need multi-cloud to do hot failovers, as you can instead use different regions within a single cloud provider – but that’s of course betting on the fact that those regions won’t go down simultaneously. In our case we would have major problems if multiple AWS regions went down simultaneously, but if that happens we certainly won’t be the only one in that boat!

Furthermore, to do a hot failover from one cloud provider to another (say, between AWS and Google), would require a degree of working between the cloud providers and infrastructure and application integration that is not widely available today.

Ultimately, risk mitigation just isn’t the most significant driver for multi-cloud.

Vendor Lock-in

What happens when your cloud provider changes their pricing? Or your CIO says we will never be beholden to one IT infrastructure vendor, like Cisco on the network, or HP in the data center? In that case, you lose your negotiating leverage on price and support.

On the other hand, look at SalesForce. How many enterprises use multiple CRMs?

Do you then have to design and build your applications to undertake a multi-cloud strategy from the get-go, so that transitioning everything to a different cloud provider will be a relatively simple undertaking? The complexity of moving your applications across clouds over a couple of months is nothing compared to the complexity of doing a real-time hot failover when your service is down. For enterprises this might be doable, given enough resources and time. Frankly, we don’t see much of this.

Instead, we see customers using a multi-cloud strategy to design and build applications in the clouds best suited for optimizing their applications. Bythe way — you can then use this leverage to help prevent vendor lock-in.

Workload Optimization

Hot failovers may come to mind first when considering why you would want to go multi-cloud, but what about normal operations, when your infrastructure is running smoothly? Having access to multiple cloud providers lets your engineers pick the one that is the most appropriate for the workload they want to deploy. By avoiding the “all or nothing’ approach,” IT leaders gain greater control over their different cloud services. They can pick and choose the product, service or platform that best fits their requirements, in terms of time-to-market or cost effectiveness,, then integrate those services. Also, this approach may help avoiding problems that arise, when a single provider runs into trouble!

A multi-cloud strategy addresses several inter-related problems. It’s not just a technical avenue for hot failover. It includes vendor relationship management and the ability optimize your workloads based on the strengths of your teams and that CSP’s infrastructure.

By the way — when you actually deploy your multi-cloud strategy, make sure you have a management plan in place upfront. Too often, we hear from companies who deploy on multiple clouds, but don’t have a way to see or compare them in one place — so make sure you have a multi-cloud dashboard in place to provide visibility that spans across cloud providers, their locations and your resources, for proper governance and control, so you can get the most benefit out of a multi-cloud infrastructure.

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Announcing Google Cloud Platform Cost Control with ParkMyCloud

Now Supporting Google Cloud Platform Cost Control

Today, we’re excited to announce that ParkMyCloud now supports Google Cloud Platform!

Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers have been using ParkMyCloud for automated cost control since the product launch in 2015, and Azure customers have enjoyed the same capabilities since earlier this year. With ParkMyCloud, you can automate on/off scheduling to ensure your resources are only running when you actually need them. Customers such as McDonald’s, Fox, Capital One, Sage Software, and Wolters Kluwer have already saved millions.

If you use multiple public cloud providers, you can manage them together on a single dashboard.

Why it Matters

With the addition of Google Cloud Platform, ParkMyCloud now provides continuous cost control for the three largest cloud providers in the $23 billion public cloud market. This means ParkMyCloud enables enterprises to eliminate wasted cloud spend – a $6 billion problem in 2017. See more in our official press release.

How Does ParkMyCloud Work on Google Cloud Platform?

It’s simple to get started using ParkMyCloud to manage your Google compute resources:

  1. Connect – Create a ParkMyCloud account – no credit card required – and connect to your Google Cloud Platform account
  2. Manage – Discover and manage all your cloud resources in a single view
  3. Park – Just click the schedule to automatically “Park” (stop) and start resources based on your needs.

If you’re new to ParkMyCloud, please see these additional resources:

  • ParkMyCloud Single Sign-On Integrations – integrate with Active Directory, Centrify, Google G-Suite, Okta, OneLogin, or Ping Identity for single sign-on to ParkMyCloud
  • Zero-Touch Parking – how to use the ParkMyCloud policy engine to create rules for schedules to be automatically applied
  • Resource Group Parking – create “logical groups” for your resources for sequenced startup and shutdown

See it In Action

We’re happy to schedule a demo for you to see ParkMyCloud in action – if you’re interested, please contact us.

Try Now for Free

You can get started now with a free 14-day trial of ParkMyCloud, with full access to premium features.

After your trial expires, you can choose to continue using the core parking functionality for free (forever!), or upgrade to use premium features such as the API, advanced reporting and SSO. Happy parking!

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ParkMyCloud Adds Google Cloud Platform to Automated Cost Savings Tool

Customers to Realize Billions of Dollars in Reduced Cloud Spend and Waste Through Continuous Cost Control

June 6, 2017 (Dulles, VA) – ParkMyCloud, the leading enterprise app for optimizing and reducing cloud spend, today announced that it now supports auto-scheduling for Google Cloud Platform in addition to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure. ParkMyCloud launched its “Nest for the cloud” platform in September 2015 to enable public cloud users 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, Fox, Capital One, Sage Software, and Wolters Kluwer.

With the addition of Google Cloud Platform, ParkMyCloud now provides continuous cost control for the three largest cloud providers in the $23 billion public cloud market. This means ParkMyCloud enables enterprises to eliminate wasted cloud spend – a $6 billion problem in 2017 (with the growing public cloud market, that’s a $17 billion problem by 2020).

451 Research Vice President William Fellows said of the announcement, “ParkMyCloud is the first vendor in the single-purpose cost control space to support all three major public cloud providers, which is great news for Azure and Google Cloud users. As companies mature in their use of public cloud and Google’s cloud becomes more relevant, cost control becomes even more of a priority.”

“Google has made enterprises a priority target for their cloud offering this year, so we knew it was imperative that we support these users as quickly as possible,” said ParkMyCloud CEO Jay Chapel. “We’ve helped Fortune 500 and multinational corporations achieve millions in savings on AWS and Azure, and we’re looking forward to doing the same for users of Google Cloud Platform.”

Tosin Ojediran, a DevOps engineer at a financial technology company, explains how the savings and immediate usability of ParkMyCloud made a difference for his organization, saying, “We sent the savings numbers to our CFO, and he said, ‘wow, this is awesome.’ ParkMyCloud was up and running in 5-10 minutes, it was easy to integrate, easy to use, and delivers what it promises.”

With the major milestone of Google Cloud Platform support achieved, ParkMyCloud plans to broaden its offerings within each cloud provider by adding cost-savings functionality for services beyond compute, while continuing to provide innovative features that allow customers to integrate continuous cost control seamlessly into their DevOps processes.

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 and Sage Software 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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Start and Stop RDS Instances on AWS – and Schedule with ParkMyCloud

AWS RDS Pricing

Amazon Web Services shared today that users can now start and stop RDS instances – check out the full announcement on their blog.

This is good news for cost-conscious engineering teams. Until now, databases were generally left running 24×7, even if they were only used during working hours for testing and staging purposes. Now, they can be turned off, so you’re not charged for time you’re not using. Nice!

Keep in mind that stopping the RDS instances will not bring the cost to zero – you will still be charged for provisioned storage, manual snapshots and automated backup storage.

Now, what if you want to start and stop RDS instances on an automated schedule to ensure they’re not left running when they’re not needed? Coming soon, you’ll be able to with ParkMyCloud!

Start and Stop RDS Instances on a Schedule with ParkMyCloud

Since ParkMyCloud was first released, customers have been asking us for the ability to park their RDS instances in the same way that they can park EC2 instances and auto scaling groups.

The logic to start/stop RDS instances using schedules is already in the production code for ParkMyCloud. We have been patiently waiting for AWS to officially announce this capability, so that we could turn the feature ON and release it to the public. That day is finally here!

Our development team has some final end-to-end testing to complete, just to make sure everything works as expected. Expect RDS parking to be released within a couple of weeks! Let us know if you’d like to be notified when this is released, or if you’re interested in beta testing the new functionality.

 

We’re excited about this opportunity to give ParkMyCloud users what they’re asking for. What else would you like to see for optimal cost control? Comment below to let us know.

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