ParkMyCloud Reviews – Customer Video Testimonials

A few weeks ago at the 2017 AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, we had the opportunity to meet some of our customers at the booth, get their product feedback, and a few shared their ParkMyCloud reviews as video testimonials. As part of our ongoing efforts to save money on cloud costs with a fully automated, simple-to-use SaaS platform, we rely on our customers to give us insight into how ParkMyCloud has helped them. Here’s what they had to say:

TJ McAteer, Prosight Specialty Insurance

“It’s all very well documented. We got it set up within an afternoon with our trial, and then it was very easy to differentiate and show that value – and that’s really the most attractive piece of it.”

As the person responsible for running the cloud engineering infrastructure at ProSight Specialty Insurance, ParkMyCloud had everything TJ was looking for. Not only that, but it was easy to use, well managed, and demonstrated its value right away.

James LaRocque, Decision Resources Group

“What’s nice about it is the ability to track financials of what you’re actually saving, and open it up to different team members to be able to suspend it from the parked schedules and turn it back on when needed.”

As a CD DevOps engineer at Decision Resources Group, James LaRocque discovered ParkMyCloud at the 2016 AWS re:Invent and has been a customer ever since. He noted that while he could have gone with scripting, ParkMyCloud offered the increased benefits of financial tracking and user capabilities.

“The return on investment is huge.”

Kurt Brochu, Sysco Foods

“We had instant gratification as soon as we enabled it.”

Kurt Brochu, Senior Manager of the Cloud Enablement Team at Sysco Foods, was immediately pleased to see ParkMyCloud saving money on cloud costs as soon as they put it into action. Once he was able to see how much they could save on their monthly cloud bill, the next step was simple.   

“We were able to save over $500 in monthly spend by just using it against one team. We are rolling out to 14 other teams over the course of the next 2 weeks.”

Mark Graff, Dolby Labs

“The main reason why we went for it was that it was easy to give our users the ability to start and stop instances without having to give them access to the console.”

Mike Graff, the Senior Infrastructure Manager at Dolby Labs, became a ParkMyCloud customer thanks to one of his engineers in Europe.

“We just give them credentials, they can hop into ParkMyCloud and go to start and stop instances. You don’t have to have any user permissions in AWS – that was a big win for us.”


We continue to innovate and improve our platform’s cloud cost management capabilities with the addition of SmartParking recommendations, SmartSizing, Alicloud and more. Customer feedback is essential to making sure that not only are we saving our customers time and money, but also gaining valuable insight into what makes ParkMyCloud a great tool.

If you use our platform, we’d love to get a ParkMyCloud review from you and hear about how ParkMyCloud has helped your business – there’s a hoodie in it for you! Please feel free to participate in the comments below or with a direct email to info@parkmycloud.com

 

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Better Together For Simplified Cloud Management …CloudHealth and ParkMyCloud

Some things in life just go together so well…whether it’s an unlikely food pairing, a well-matched color scheme, or your favorite celebrity couple. Take CloudHealth and ParkMyCloud, for example. Each on their own is pretty great – but together they join forces to save you serious time and money.

As a ParkMyCloud customer, you can control cost automatically through scheduling and enriched analytical capabilities, thus optimizing your multi-cloud environments and increasing return on investment. Now with this partnership, you can also use CloudHealth to get better governance, simple rightsizing features and management through a single platform. Customers can now buy ParkMyCloud directly from CloudHealth, and the companies are working on a technology integration which will leverage CloudHealth’s best in class cloud governance platform and ParkMyCloud’s actionable scheduling policies.

Benefits of using CloudHealth Platform:

1. Reduce Total Cost of Ownership with Reserved Instances and Rightsizing

CloudHealth Platform provides an easy way to take advantage of reserved instances (RI) in AWS and Azure from the platform itself.

Ulf Mansson, Recorded Future’s Chief of Operations and Co-Founder, says that “We needed a way to automate the management of RIs, since we didn’t have the time to constantly monitor them.” CloudHealth has helped Recorded Future to save money and use that hard earned money for more strategic initiatives.

CloudHealth helps you with rightsizing your environment. In other words, manage your underutilized resources better to ensure you are not overspending. For example, look at the report below for rightsizing EC2 instances.

2. Comprehensive management and integrations for your hybrid cloud

Bottomline for your company is the ability to manage your entire hybrid cloud from one platform. Across all your clouds and existing point management solutions. Electronic hardware and software provider, Mentor Graphics has accurately identified and allocated resources to projects and provided visibility into cost projections using CloudHealth. This has helped the company immediately see and compare the impact their decisions have on both cost and ROI.

The picture below shows the simple cross-cloud dashboard from CloudHealth platform.

For customers already using DataDog, Chef or New Relic within your environment you would want to continue using those while adopting a new platform. The CloudHealth Platform is designed with open APIs. So we made it easy to integrate all your existing API driving solutions for business and IT continuity.

3. Security for peace of mind

Not only have we designed the CloudHealth Platform to be very secure, we also can ensure your AWS accounts follow security best practices. For example, using CloudHealth policies, you can ensure IAM roles, security groups, and permissions are all configured properly. We’ve taken the best practices from AWS and from the Center for Internet security and turned them into out of the box policies, so you can get alerted any time your environment is out of compliance. We are also a SOC Type 2 Compliant company, to read more on that please click here.

All of us at CloudHealth Technologies and ParkMyCloud are pretty excited about the impact this partnership will have on our customers. It means serious value for them as they simplify governance, derive greater ROI from their cloud investments, and are able to drive more strategic projects.

Ready to get started? Learn more.

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CloudHealth Technologies and ParkMyCloud Partner to Simplify Cloud Complexity, Cost and Control

This is a cross-post of the release also published by CloudHealth Technologies.

CloudHealth Technologies, Leader in Hybrid Cloud Governance, and ParkMyCloud, Leader in Automated Cost Control, Join Forces to Save Companies Time and Money

January 11, 2018, BOSTON – CloudHealth Technologies, the leader in cloud service management, and ParkMyCloud, the leading enterprise platform for continuous cost control in public cloud, today announced they are partnering to marry the hybrid cloud governance of CloudHealth with the automated cost control of ParkMyCloud. ­­­

Customers leveraging the integrated solution will experience greater return on their cloud investments. They will be able to automate cloud cost control, simplify management, and consequently free up teams to focus on driving more strategic projects within their organizations.

Public cloud provides agility, efficiency and flexibility; however, as organizations ramp up in the public cloud, they often find consumption growing rapidly, leading to overspending and inefficient resource utilization. For many, this rising cost is unaccounted for. According to Gartner, “With increasing business unit IT spending on cloud services, IT leaders must prevent new risks, sprawl, cost overruns and missed SLAs. Dynamic optimization technology can help balance the benefits of agility with required governance controls for cloud services and virtualized infrastructure.”1

With CloudHealth’s expertise in cloud governance and management and ParkMyCloud’s specialization in cloud cost control, they can together provide complete visibility and control over multi-cloud environments, enabling customers to drive better business value. Joint customers will experience a seamless, integrated solution, including:

  • Improved Cloud ROI: Users will realize immediate cost savings with non-disruptive, policy-driven automation that helps to eliminate tedious tasks and enable teams to roll out new offerings and updates faster to market.
  • Ability to Drive More Strategic Projects: Rather than focusing on “keeping the lights on,” technical experts can shift their efforts to continuously innovate and thereby maintain a competitive advantage—not just business as usual.
  • Simplified Hybrid Cloud Governance: Broken down by environment, department, application, resource and more, this integrated offering empowers teams to implement better resource management through a simple and easy-to-use customizable dashboards for different personas such as CFO and CTO, among others.
  • Better Analytics: Users gain unparalleled insight and can use this visibility to make smarter business decisions.

“There are huge business gains to be reaped in the public cloud, but business transformation also brings complexity,” said Tom Axbey, CEO and President of CloudHealth Technologies. “In partnering with ParkMyCloud, we’re eliminating cloud management inefficiency and bridging t­­he divide between cost and utilization. We’re uniting disparate cloud environments, business ops and DevOps teams by equipping them with the tools they need to be agile and productive.”

“Our goal at ParkMyCloud has always been to help our customers do more with their cloud by saving time and money,” said Jay Chapel, CEO and Founder of ParkMyCloud. “That’s why we provide them with automated cost control, which we do by finding and turning off idle resources in AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. By collaborating with CloudHealth Technologies, we are providing customers with end-to-end visibility and control over their environments for optimized cloud usage and spend.”

“With ParkMyCloud, anyone in your organization can be responsible for their own cloud costs,” said Reed Savory, Connotate. “That’s immensely valuable and brings real cost savings. CloudHealth offers unparalleled rightsizing capabilities, among other things, so we know we aren’t leaving money on the table. Integrating these solutions will only further the simplicity and efficiency with which our team operates — even as we manage a rapidly scaling cloud environment.”

To learn more about how CloudHealth and ParkMyCloud are empowering customers through this partnership, https://www.cloudhealthtech.com/partners/integration-partners/parkmycloud.

[1] Gartner, Innovation Insight for Dynamic Optimization Technology for Infrastructure Resources and Cloud Services, Donna Scott and Milind Govekar, Refreshed: 6 February 2017 | Published: 29 February 2016.

About CloudHealth Technologies

CloudHealth, the recognized worldwide leader in the growing Cloud Service Management industry, provides integrated reporting, recommendations and active policy management to help companies control the problems associated with “cloud chaos.” Our comprehensive platform gives enterprise companies and MSPs the ability to visualize, optimize and govern their cloud and hybrid environments. By providing analysis and deep insight into historical trends, capacity planning, resource optimization and resource automation, CloudHealth enables stakeholders ranging from C-level executives to engineers, cloud specialists, architects, IT directors and LOB managers to improve performance and drive value through their cloud ecosystems. Well-known organizations that rely on CloudHealth’s capabilities and expertise include Amtrak, Dow Jones, Acquia, and Sumo Logic, among others. Based in Boston, the company is backed by Kleiner Perkins, Sapphire Ventures, Scale Venture Partners, .406 Ventures and Sigma Prime Ventures. For continuous product updates, industry news and engagement, visit us at www.cloudhealthtech.com or follow us @cloudhealthtech.

Contact

Lauren Palazzo, Text100 for CloudHealth

Lauren.Palazzo@text100.com

(617) 399-4909

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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, Foster Moore, and Sage Software dramatically cut their cloud bills by up to 65%, delivering millions of dollars in savings for customers using Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. For more information, visit http://www.parkmycloud.com.

Contact

Katy Stalcup, ‎ParkMyCloud

kstalcup@parkmycloud.com

(571) 334-3291

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Introducing SmartParking: Automatic On/Off Schedules based on AWS CloudWatch Metrics

Today, we’re excited to bring you SmartParkingTM – automatic, custom on/off schedules for individual resources based on AWS CloudWatch metrics!

ParkMyCloud customers have always appreciated parking recommendations based on keywords found in their instance names and tags – for example, ParkMyCloud recommends that an instance tagged “dev” can be parked, as it’s likely not needed outside of a Monday-Friday workday.

Now, SmartParking will look for patterns in your utilization data from AWS CloudWatch, and create recommend schedules for each instance to turn them off when they are typically idle. This minimizes idle time to maximize savings on your resources.

With SmartParking, you eliminate the extra step of checking in with your colleagues to make sure the schedules you’re putting on their workloads doesn’t interfere with their needs. Now you can receive automatic recommendations to park resources when you know they won’t be used.

SmartParking schedules are provided as recommendations, which you can then click to apply. This release supports SmartParking for AWS resources, with plans to add Azure and Google Cloud SmartParking.

Customize Your Recommendations like your 401K

Different users will have different preferences about what they consider “parkable” times for an instance. So, like your investment portfolios, you can choose to receive SmartParking schedules that are “conservative”, “balanced”, or “aggressive”. And like an investment, a bigger risk comes with the opportunity for a bigger reward.

If you’d like to prioritize the maximum savings amount, then choose aggressive SmartParking schedules. You will park instances – and therefore save money – for the most time, with the “risk” of occasional inconvenience by having something turned off when someone needs it. Your users can always log in to ParkMyCloud and override the schedule with the “snooze button” if they need to use the instance when it’s parked.

On the other hand, if you would like to ensure that your instances are never parked when they might be needed, choose a conservative SmartParking schedule. It will only recommend parked times when the instance is never used. Choose “balanced” for a happy medium.

What People are Saying: Save More, Easier than Ever

Several existing ParkMyCloud customers have previewed the new functionality. “ParkMyCloud has helped my team save so much on our AWS bill already, and SmartParking will make it even easier,” said Tosin Ojediran, DevOps Engineer at a FinTech company. “The automatic schedules will save us time and make sure our instances are never running when they don’t need to be.”

Already a ParkMyCloud user? Log in to your account to try out the new SmartParking. Note that you will need to have AWS CloudWatch metrics enabled for several weeks in order for us to see your usage trends and make recommendations. If you haven’t already, you will need to update your AWS policy.

New to ParkMyCloud? Start a free trial here.

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ParkMyCloud Announces “SmartParking” for Automated Cloud Cost Optimization

First-of-its-Kind Automation Engine Creates Usage-Based On/Off Schedules for Maximum Savings on Cloud Resources

January 10, 2018 (Dulles, VA) – ParkMyCloud, the leading enterprise platform for continuous cost control in public cloud, announced today that it has released SmartParkingTM for automated cloud cost optimization. The ParkMyCloud platform helps Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud customers save money on cloud resources by automatically integrating cost control into their DevOps processes. ParkMyCloud saves money by scheduling cloud resources to turn off when they are not needed – which they call “parking”.

With the new SmartParking release, the ParkMyCloud platform will look for patterns in utilization data from AWS CloudWatch, and create recommend schedules for each instance to turn them off when they are typically idle. This minimizes idle time to maximize savings on cloud resources – saving customers 65% or more.

“No other cloud management vendor is doing this,” said ParkMyCloud CTO Bill Supernor. “This new layer of automation takes cost optimization a step further than most tools go, from visibility to actionable, evidence-based scheduling, for maximized cost savings with minimal employee time needed to manage it.”

Like an investment portfolio, users can choose to receive SmartParking schedules that are “conservative”, “balanced”, or “aggressive” — where conservative schedules protect all historic “on” times, while aggressive schedules prioritize maximum savings.

“ParkMyCloud has helped my team save so much on our AWS bill already, and SmartParking will make it even easier,” said ParkMyCloud customer Tosin Ojediran, DevOps Engineer at a FinTech company. “The automatic schedules will save us time and make sure our instances are never running when they don’t need to be.”

This release supports SmartParking for AWS resources, with near term plans to add Azure and Google Cloud SmartParking support as well.

About ParkMyCloud

ParkMyCloud is a SaaS platform that helps enterprises optimize their public cloud spend by integrating cost control into their DevOps processes and automatically reducing resource waste — think “Nest for the cloud”. ParkMyCloud has helped customers such as McDonald’s, Capital One, Unilever, Avid, and Sage Software dramatically cut their cloud bills by up to 65%, delivering millions of dollars in savings for customers using Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. For more information, visit http://www.parkmycloud.com.

Contact

Katy Stalcup

kstalcup@parkmycloud.com

(571) 334-3291

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ParkMyCloud Selected as Channel Influencer Award Winner by Channel Partners, Channel Futures

DULLES, VA (Jan. 8, 2018)Today ParkMyCloud was selected as a winner of the first Channel Influencer Awards by Channel Partners and Channel Futures. The awards recognize the people, technologies, trends and organizations that will shape the channel in 2018.

ParkMyCloud was selected as one of the 25 Orgs to Watch, which names top suppliers, consultancies, distributors and master agents moving the channel forward in 2018, selected by the editors who know these beats inside and out.

The full list of winners is: AT&T, Avant, Avaya, Box, CenturyLink, Comcast Business, Continuum, Cyxtera, Extreme Networks, GE, Ingram Micro, Microsoft Azure, Optiv, ParkMyCloud, Pax8, Rackspace, SaaSMax, Salesforce, Sirius, ScanSource + Intelisys, Sophos, The 20, Velocloud, Verizon, ZeroStack

ParkMyCloud was selected due to its innovation in solving the emerging problem of wasted cloud spend. Billions of dollars are wasted each year on idle cloud servers. By integrating cost control into the DevOps process and automatically turning idle resources off when they’re not being used, ParkMyCloud is helping companies like McDonald’s, Capital One, Unilever, Avid, and Sage Software cut their Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform bills by up to 65%.

Download the digital issue from Channel Partners to learn more about the Channel Influencer Awards.

About ParkMyCloud

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

Media Contact:

Katy Stalcup

ParkMyCloud

kstalcup@parkmycloud.com

(571) 334-3291

 

About Channel Partners and Channel Futures

Channel Partners is joining forces with Channel Futures to provide the industry’s broadest and deepest coverage of the new channel that comprises both traditional partners reinventing themselves for a digital future and an array of newcomers that see opportunities to deliver customer value.

For more than 25 years, Channel Partners has been the undisputed leader in providing news, analysis and education to the indirect sales channels serving the business technology and communications industry. In addition, Channel Partners online (www.channelpartnersonline.com) delivers a constant content stream of unique and breaking industry news, feature articles and premium downloadable content. As official media of Channel Partners Conference & Expo (www.channelpartnersconference.com) and Channel Partners Evolution (http://evolution.channelpartnersconference.com/), Channel Partners is the market leader that channel professionals turn to first.

Channel Futures is devoted to helping the architects of the digital revolution better manage their operations and deliver higher-value business solutions to end customers. Leveraging the best of The VAR Guy, MSPmentor, Talkin’ Cloud and more, Channel Futures provides inspiration, insights and tools to the diverse ecosystem of companies that comprise the “new channel,” which includes managed service providers (MSPs), systems integrators, born-in-the-cloud companies, telecom agents, VARs and other market specialists that operate outside of the traditional information and telecommunications technology (ICT) ecosystem. 

Media Contact:
Brittany Watts
480-281-6731
brittany.watts@informa.com

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Why ParkMyCloud is the leader in Automated Cloud Cost Control – It’s About the Platform: 2017 Year in Review

2017 was a big year for ParkMyCloud and automated cloud cost control. From working closely with our customers and understanding industry trends, we continued to strengthen and grow our cloud cost control platform, continuously innovating and adding new features to make ParkMyCloud easier to use, more automated, and continue doing what we do best: saving you money on your cloud costs. Here are the highlights of what improved in ParkMyCloud during 2017:

January

Auto-Scheduling for Microsoft Azure

You asked, we answered. After a year of growth and success with optimizing cloud resources for users of Amazon Web Services (AWS), ParkMyCloud broadened its appeal by optimizing and reducing cloud spend for Microsoft Azure. CEO Jay Chapel weighed in, “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.”

February

Single Sign-On

In February, signing into ParkMyCloud became easier than ever with support for single sign-on using SAML. Signing in is simple – use your preferred identity provider for a more streamlined experience, reduce the numbers needed to remember and type in, and use SSO for security by keeping by keeping a single point of authentication.

April

Free Tier for ParkMyCloud

This release gave users the option for free cloud optimization using ParkMyCloud – forever. The free tier option was created to support developers who were resorting to writing their own scheduling scripts in order to turn off non-production resources when not in use, saving not only money, but lots of time.

Support for OneLogin for Single Sign-On

ParkMyCloud integrated with OneLogin’s App Catalog marketplace, further simplifying Single Sign-On configuration using SAML 2.0. Benefits included reducing the number of passwords needed to track and allowing administrators to control user access from one place.

May

More support for Single Sign-On

In May, ParkMyCloud made more SSO integrations make signing in easy and simple. You can connect with Okta through the Okta App Network (OAN), Centrify, and with Microsoft Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS). The updates rounded out to six major SSO providers that can be used to connect to ParkMyCloud: ADFS, Azure Active Directory, Google G-Suite, Okta, OneLogin, and Ping Identity.  

June

Support for Google Cloud Platform

In addition to AWS and Azure, ParkMyCloud added support for Google Cloud Platform, making automated cost savings available for all of the ‘big three’ cloud service providers. With the new addition, ParkMyCloud’s continuous cost control platform covered a majority of the $23 billion public cloud market, enabling enterprises to eliminate wasted cloud spend – an estimated $6 billion problem for 2017, projected to become a $17 billion problem by 2020.

Stop/Start for AWS RDS Instances

In June, ParkMyCloud announced that it would now be offering “parking” for AWS RDS instances, allowing users to automatically put database resources on on/off schedules, so they only pay for what they’re actually using. This was the first parking feature on the market to be fully integrated with AWS’s RDS start/stop capability.

July

Notifications via Slack and Email

You asked, we answered (again). This user-requested feature improved the user experience by providing notifications about your environment and ParkMyCloud account via email, Slack, and other webooks. Notifications include information about parking actions, system errors, and more. Additionally, ParkMyCloud’s SlackBot allows users to manage resources and schedules through their Slack channel.

August

Cloud Savings Dashboard

After turning two, ParkMyCloud continued shaping and growing its vision with a new reporting dashboard. This feature made it easy to access reports, providing greater insight information regarding cloud costs, team rosters, and more.

November

Mobile App for Cloud Cost Optimization

In the last two months of 2017, ParkMyCloud was not about to slow down. Cloud cost optimization reached a new level with the addition of the new ParkMyCloud mobile app. Users are now able to park idle instances directly from their mobile devices. Reduce cloud waste and cut monthly spend by 65% or more, now with even more capability and ease of use.

AWS Utilization Metric Tracking

From this release, ParkMyCloud partnered with CloudWatch to give AWS users resource utilization data for EC2 instances, viewable through customizable heatmaps. The update gives information about how resources are being used, providing necessary information to help ParkMyCloud gear up for its next release coming soon – SmartParking and SmartSizing.

December

Utilization Heatmaps

Building on the November release of static heat maps displaying AWS EC2 utilization metrics, ParkMyCloud used the utilization data to create animated heat maps. This new feature helps users better identify usage patterns over time and create automated parking schedules. Data is displayed and mapped to a sequence of time, in the form of an animated “video.”  

Coming in 2018…

2017 is over, but there’s no end in sight for ParkMyCloud and automated cloud cost control. In addition to all the features we added last year to make cloud cost automation easy, simple, and more available, we have even more in store for our users in 2018. Coming soon, ParkMyCloud will introduce SmartParking, SmartSizing, PaaS ‘parking’, support for AliCloud and more. Stay tuned for another year of updates, new releases, and saving money on cloud costs with ParkMyCloud.

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Cloud Computing 101, the Holidays, DevOps Automation and Moscow Mules – How’s that for a mix!?

I’m back to thinking about Cloud Computing 101, DevOps automation, and the other topics that keep my mind whirring at night – a sure sign that the 2017 holiday season is now officially over. I kicked mine off with an Ugly Sweater Party and wrapped it up with the College BCS games. In between, we had my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary (congrats to them), work-related holiday functions, Christmas with family and friends, New Years Eve with friends, and even chucked in some work and skiing. My liver needs a break but I love those Moscow Mules! Oh, and I have a Fitbit now to tell me how much I sit on my arse all day and peck away at this damn laptop – thanks kids, love you :).

What does this have to do with the cloud, cost control, DevOps and ParkMyCloud? At the different functions and events I went to, people who know me and what we do here at ParkMyCloud asked how business was going. In short, it’s great! In case you didn’t notice, the public cloud is growing, and fast. According to this recent article in Forbes, IaaS is growing 36% year on year – giddy up! Enterprises all over the world use ParkMyCloud to automate cloud cost control as part of their DevOps process. In fact we have customers in 20+ countries now. And people from companies like Sysco Foods rave about the ease of use and cost savings provided by the platform.

Now, when I talked to folks who don’t know what we do or what the cloud is, it’s a whole different discussion. For example, here’s a conversation I had at a party with Lindsey – a fictitious name to protect the innocent (or perhaps it’s USA superstar skier Lindsey Vonn… you will never know.) I like to call this conversation and ones like it “Cloud 101.”

Lindsey: “Hey Jay, how’s it going?”

Jay: “Awesome, great to see you Lindsey. Staying fit I see. How’s the family?” (of course I am holding my Mule in my copper mug – love it!)

Blah blah blah – now to the good stuff.

Lindsey: “So what do you do now?”

Jay: “Do you know what the cloud is?”

Lindsey: “You mean like iTunes?”

Jay: “Sort of. You know all those giant buildings you see when driving around here in Ashburn (VA)? Those buildings are full of servers that run the apps that you use in everyday life. Do you use the Starbucks app?”

Lindsey: “Yes – I’m addicted to Peppermint Mochas.”

Jay: “I am an Iced Venti Skim Chai Tea person myself. So the servers in those data centers are what power the cloud, Starbucks develops apps in the cloud, servers cost money when they’re running, just like the lights in your house. And like the lights in your house, those development servers don’t need to run all the time – only when people are actually using them. So we help companies like Starbucks turn them off when they are not being used. In short, we help companies save money in the cloud.”

Side note to Starbucks — maybe if you used ParkMyCloud to save on your cloud costs with Microsoft and AWS you could stop raising the price of my Iced Venti Skim Chai Tea Latte… just a thought.

It’s thanks to all our customers and partners that I’m able to have this Cloud Computing 101 conversation and include ParkMyCloud in it – with a special thanks to the “Big 3” cloud service providers – AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Without them, we would not exist as there would not be a cloud to optimize. Kind of like me without my parents, so glad they came together.

Looking ahead to the rest of 2018, we will have lots to write about here at ParkMyCloud — multi-cloud is trending up, automated cloud cost control is trending up, and DevOps will make this all more efficient. And ParkMyCloud will introduce SmartParking, SmartSizing, support for AliCloud and more. It’s all about action and automation baby. Game of Thrones better be back in 2018, too.

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ParkMyCloud’s Top 5 Blog Posts of 2017

Before we ring in the new year, ParkMyCloud is taking a look back at 2017. We get a lot of great feedback on our blogs so we decided to summarize our top 5 blog posts, as indicated by our readers (views and shares). In case you missed them, please take a moment and enjoy our most popular posts of 2017!  

Azure vs AWS 2017: Is Azure really surpassing AWS?

Azure vs AWS – what’s the deal? After both cloud providers reported their quarterly earnings at the same time, speculation grew as to whether Azure might have a shot at outpacing Amazon. Provocative headlines teased the idea that Azure is catching up with AWS, making it a great opportunity to compare two out of the ‘big three’ providers. While it may seem like AWS is the one to beat, this blog examines whether Azure is catching up, where they are gaining ground, and why the debate even matters.

AWS vs Google Cloud Pricing – A Comprehensive Look

When it comes to comparing cloud providers, a look at pricing is not only helpful, it’s imperative. AWS and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) use different terminology for their instances, different categories of compute sizing, and take marketing liberties in describing their offerings. To make matters even more confusing, each provider takes a different approach to pricing, charging you by the hour in some cases or by the minute in others, and both having minimums. This blog breaks down all of the jargon and gives you valuable insight into how AWS and GCP are charging you on their monthly cloud bill.

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

As enterprises continue shifting to the cloud, service providers like AWS, GCP, Azure, and more offer cloud services as a valuable utility for cost savings. However, as a utility, the cloud has serious potential for waste if not used optimally. What is “cloud waste” and where does it come from? What are the consequences? What can you do to reduce it? This blog answers those burning questions and tells you how to prevent waste and optimize your cloud spend.

Start and Stop RDS Instances – and Schedule with ParkMyCloud

When Amazon announced the release of start and stop RDS instances, AWS users finally had the ability to ‘turn off’ their RDS instances and save money on their cloud bill – nice! However, they would still be charged for provisioned storage, manual snapshots, and automated backup storage. What if there was a solution to starting and stopping RDS instances on an automated schedule, ensuring that they’re not left running when not needed? This blog explains how ParkMyCloud offers automated cost control on a schedule, saving you even more on your monthly cloud bill.

Why We Love the AWS IoT Button

We talk a lot about how ParkMyCloud can save you money on your cloud bill, because we can, but we also love to share the exciting, fun, and innovative offerings that the could brings. The AWS IoT button is a device like no other. You can program it to integrate with any internet-connected device, opening up a whole world of possibilities for what you can do with it. Make a remote control for Netflix, brew coffee in the morning without getting out of bed, or place a takeout order for lunch, all with the push of a button. This blog tells you about how the button was created, how to use it, and some ways that creative developers are using the AWS IoT button.

To another great year…

As we wrap up 2017, the ParkMyCloud team is especially thankful to those of you who have made our blog and our Cloud Cost Control platform successful. We look forward to another great year of keeping up with the cloud, sharing our posts, and of course, saving you money on your cloud bill.

Cheers to 2018! Happy New Year from the ParkMyCloud team and keep an eye open for SmartParking and several great announcements in early January.    

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Spot Instance Hibernation – What It Means For You

At AWS re:Invent 2017, one of the announcements that was made is that spot instance hibernation is now available. This change to how AWS spot instances works can mean some tweaks to how you approach this instance type. Let’s explore the ramifications of this and see what it means for you and your infrastructure.

What are Spot Instances?

When you use a cloud provider like AWS, they run data centers so you don’t have to. In doing so, those data centers have similar side effects as traditional on-prem deployments, including spare compute power when utilization is low. AWS decided to let free market forces work to their advantage by offering these spare resources at auction-style prices.

How this worked in practice (prior to this recent hibernation announcement) involved naming your bid price for how much you were willing to pay for an EC2 instance. Once the price of a spot instance went below your bid price, your instance started up and began doing work. Later, when the cost was above your bid price, your instance would be terminated.

Typical Spot Instance Use Cases

As you can tell, spot instances introduce a different way of thinking about your resources.  There are some use cases that don’t make any sense for spot instances, but others that can work well. For instance, high-performance computing scenarios that need a lot of machines for a short period of time can work well with spot instances, as long as the result isn’t extremely urgent. Another possibility is batch processing, like video conversions or scientific analysis, which can typically be done in off-hours without a human present to manually tweak things.

Hibernation vs. Termination

As mentioned above, the loss of a spot instance used to result in termination of the instance, regardless of the data or state of the machine. With Amazon’s recent announcement, you can now have spot instances hibernate instead. This means the system’s memory will be saved to the root EBS volume, then reloaded when the machine is resumed. It’s like time travel, but for your cloud infrastructure!

From a practical perspective, this can change how you approach spot instances. The main benefit is that you don’t have to prepare for sudden termination of your virtual machine, so more workloads could use spot instances with less preparation. The downside to this is that while your workload will eventually finish, you can’t quite be sure of when.

Spot Instances vs. Parking Schedules

The “not being sure when” part is the big differentiator between spot instance hibernation versus on-demand EC2 instances with parking schedules applied via ParkMyCloud. This new hibernation features means lots of benefits and cost savings, but introduces a nebulous time frame that tends to make developers (and executives) nervous. By utilizing known parking schedules that are automatically applied to instances, the cost savings can be quite comparable while maintaining business-hour uptime. The additional flexibility of manual or automated overrides via ParkMyCloud’s UI or API can mean all the difference to your cloud infrastructure team and the application owners who are running these workloads.

AWS claims that you can save up to 90% on your instance costs with spot instances. In the real world, various reports seem to be in the 50%-70% range, based on some stats from large companies like Pinterest and Vimeo. With parking schedules, most development teams turn off systems on nights and weekends, which is around 65% of the time. This means you can get similar savings, but with different timing structures for your use. The best way to save the most is to use a combination, so check out Amazon’s spot instances and try out ParkMyCloud for cost optimization for all workload types!

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Amazon’s EC2 Scheduler – How Does it Compare with ParkMyCloud?

Amazon recently announced the addition of an EC2 scheduler, responding to the already-answered question: “How do I automatically start and stop my Amazon EC2 instances?”

Been there, done that. ParkMyCloud has been scheduling instances and saving our customers 65% or more on their monthly cloud bills from Amazon, Azure, and Google since 2015. It looks like Amazon is stepping up to the plate with their EC2 scheduler, but are they?

The premise is simple: pay for what you use. It’s what we’ve been saying all along – cloud services are like any other utility (electricity, water, gas) – you should use them only when needed to avoid paying more than necessary. You wouldn’t leave your lights on all night, so why leave your instances running when you’re not using them?

Until now, Amazon had basic scripting suggestions for starting and stopping your instances. With the EC2 scheduler, you’re getting instructions for how to configure a custom start and stop scheduler for your EC2 instances. Implementing the solution will require some work on your part, but will inevitably reduce costs. Welcome to the club, Amazon? Sort of, not really.

EC2 Scheduler vs ParkMyCloud

While the EC2 scheduler sounds good, we think ParkMyCloud is better, and not just because we’re biased. We took a look at the deployment guide for the EC2 scheduler and noticed a few things we offer that Amazon still doesn’t

  • This solution requires knowledge and operation of DynamoDB, Lambda, CloudWatch custom metrics, and Cloudformation templates, including Python scripting and Cloudformation coding.
    • None of that is required with our simple, easy-to-use platform. You don’t need a developer background to use ParkMyCloud, in fact you can use your mobile phone (insert link) or tablet.
  • There’s no UI, so it’s not obvious which instances are on what schedules.
    • ParkMyCloud has a simple UI with an icon driven operational dashboard and reporting so you can easily see and manage not only your AWS resources in a single-pane but your Azure and Google resources as well.
  • Modifications require code changes and CloudFormation deployments, including simple overrides of schedules.
    • Again, ParkMyCloud is easy to use, no coding or custom scripting required. Users can also temporarily override schedules if they need to use an instance on short notice, but will only have access to the resources you grant. And you can use our API and Policy Engine to automate scheduling as part of your DevOps process.
  • No SSO, reporting, notifications
    • Check, check, check. Did we mention that ParkMyCloud added some new features recently? You can now see resource utilization data for EC2 instances, viewable through animated heatmaps.
  • Doesn’t have automated parking recommendations based on usage data.
    • We do.
  • Doesn’t work with Azure or Google.
    • We do.
  • Doesn’t park RDS or ASG
    • We do.
  • No Slack integration.
    • We do.

Conclusion

Amazon – nice try.

If you’re looking for an alternative to writing your own scripts (which we’ve known for a long time is not the best answer), you’re purely using AWS and EC2 instances, and are comfortable with all the PaaS offerings mentioned, then you might be okay with the EC2 scheduler. The solution works, although it comes with a lot of the same drawbacks that custom scripting has when compared to ParkMyCloud.

If you’re using more than just EC2 instances or even working with multiple providers, if you’re looking for a solution where you don’t need to be scripting, and if you’d prefer an automated tool that will cut your cloud costs with ease of use, reporting, and parking recommendations, then it’s a no-brainer. Give ParkMyCloud a try.

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New in ParkMyCloud: Visualize AWS Usage Data Trends

We are excited to share the latest release in ParkMyCloud: animated heat map displays. This builds on our previous release of static heat maps displaying AWS EC2 instance utilization metrics from CloudWatch. Now, this utilization data is animated to help you better identify usage patterns over time and create automated parking schedules.

The heatmaps will display data from a sequence of weeks, in the form of an animated “video”, letting you see patterns of usage over a period of time. You can take advantage of this feature to better plan ParkMyCloud parking schedules based on your actual instance utilization.

Here is an example of an animated heatmap, which allows you to visualize when instances are used over a period of eight weeks:

The latest ParkMyCloud update also includes:

  • CloudWatch data collection improvements to reduce the number of API calls required to pull instance utilization metrics data
  • Various user interface improvements to a number of screens in the ParkMyCloud console.

As noted in our last release, utilization data also provides the necessary information that will allow ParkMyCloud to make optimal parking and rightsizing recommendations (SmartParking) when this feature is released next month, part of our ongoing efforts to do what we do best – save you money, automatically.

AWS users who sign up now can take advantage of the latest release as we ramp up for automated SmartParking. In order to give you the most optimal cost control over your cloud bill, start your ParkMyCloud trial today to collect several weeks’ worth of CloudWatch data, track your usage patterns, and get recommendations as soon as the SmartParking feature becomes available in a few weeks.

If you are an existing customer, be sure to update your AWS policies to enable ParkMyCloud to access your AWS CloudWatch data. Detailed instructions can be found in our support portal.

Feedback? Anything else you’d like to see ParkMyCloud do? Let us know

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DevOps cloud cost optimization: It’s not an oxymoron

DevOps cloud cost optimization… is there such a thing? After all, if you’re concerned with your software’s development and operations, you want to make sure things work and work quickly. In dozens of companies we’ve spoken with, infrastructure cost is an afterthought.

Until it’s not.

Here’s what happens: someone in Finance, or the CTO, or the CIO, takes a look at the line-item expenses for DevOps, and realizes just how much of the budget is eaten up by cloud costs. All of a sudden, DevOps folks are facing top-down directives to reduce cloud costs, and need to find ways to do so without interrupting their “regular” work.

This is a common scenario. In 2016, enterprises spent $23B on public cloud IaaS services. By 2020, that figure is expected to reach $65B. Wasted spend makes up a quarter or more of that spend, much of it form of services running when they don’t need to be, improperly sized infrastructure, orphaned resources, and shadow IT.

DevOps teams: this is a problem you can get in front of. In fact, you can even apply some of the core tenets of DevOps to reducing cloud waste, including holistic thinking, eliminating silos, rapid feedback, and automation.

Our Director of Cloud Solutions, Chris Parlette, heard these problems from cloud users and put together a presentation on a DevOps cloud cost optimization approach. Watch it on demand now and learn how you can get started: How to Eliminate Cloud Waste with a Holistic DevOps Strategy.

Plus, check out these related resources:

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Three Big AWS re:Invent Announcements from 2017

AWS re:Invent announcements were in full swing at the conference last week. In addition to all the sessions, workshops, pub crawl, DJ-spinning and all sorts of educational experiences and entertainment options, the technology announcements are really what drive the buzzl. While it’s impossible to cover them all, we picked three big announcements from this year’s AWS re:Invent that will certainly be game-changers:  

New EC2 Instance Types

M5 EC2 instances are the next generation of general purpose EC2 instances. As a general purpose instance, its good for the use of running web & app servers, hosting enterprise applications, supporting online games and building cache fleets.

What sets M5 instances apart is that they were made for high-demand workloads, provide a 14% better price performance than M4 instances per core, and designed based on Custom Intel® Xeon® Platinum 8175M series processors running at 2.5 GHz. The new instances comes with a full package of resources allocations, complete with optimized compute, memory, and storage.

H1 EC2 Instances are the latest in storage optimized instances, designed with lots of space for high performance big data workloads. These instances are powered by “Broadwell” – 2.3 GHz Intel®Xeon® E5 2686 v4 processors, offering more memory compared to D2 instances. H1 instances provide low cost storage, high disk throughput, and high sequential disk I/O access to large data sets. They’re designed for data scientists running big data applications like Elastic MapReduce, big workload clusters, data processing applications like Apache Kafka, distributed filing systems, and networking filing systems.

Public Preview of EC2 Bare Metal Instances

AWS customers now have the ability to run workloads on bare metal servers. Peter DeSantis, VP of Global Infrastructure at AWS, calls it the “best of both worlds” because customers can run an operating system directly on the hardware, yet still reap the benefits of using the cloud by paying as they go instead of up-front. The public preview of bare metal instances are ideal in scenarios where workloads needs access to certain hardware features, and workloads with restrictions due to licensing can still benefit from the AWS cloud offerings. The public preview of the i3.metal instance is only the first of an entire series dedicated to bare metal instances, with more in line to roll out over the next few months.

Spot Instance Hibernation

Among several changes announced to AWS spot instances was a notable new feature – hibernation for spot instances. Instead of terminating a spot instance when it is interrupted, it will now hibernate instead, saving all of your data into an EBS volume. The instance will reboot as soon as spare capacity is available for the given instance type. Hibernation is useful because you won’t be charged for using the instance while it’s in hibernation, storage is charged at standard EBS storage rates, and you can still terminate your instances in hibernation by cancelling your bid at any time.

Conclusion

AWS re:Invent announcements are always exciting. As the largest and most successful public cloud provider to date, Amazon keeps us on our toes and continues giving us so much to look forward to. In the ongoing war between the big three cloud providers, these innovations will certainly drive the competition to innovate and provide even better options for enterprises to choose from. As always, we’ll continue to cover new announcements, product launches, and more as AWS continues to innovate and increase their offerings at a frenetic pace.

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3 Things We Learned at AWS re:Invent 2017 (An Insider’s Look from Jay)

The ParkMyCloud team has returned energized and excited from our annual trek to Las Vegas and our third AWS re:Invent conference. It’s an eclectic group of roughly 42K people, but we gleaned a ton of information by asking questions and listening to the enterprise cloud do’ers at our booth. These are the people actually moving, deploying and managing cloud services at the enterprises we consume goods and services from. They are also often the one’s that start the ‘cloud first’ initiatives we hear so much about — after all, they led the public cloud revolution to AWS 10+ years ago.

I’m not going to write about all the announcements AWS made at re:Invent2017 related to all the cool kid, popular buzz words like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Quantum Computing, Serverless Architecture, etc. However, if you do want to read about those please check out this nice recap from Ron Miller of TechCrunch.

Containers are so passé, they did not even make the cool kid list in 2017… but Microservices Architecture did. Huh, wonder if that’s a new phrase for containers?

For ParkMyCloud it’s a great event. We love talking to everyone there – they’re all cloud focused, they are either using AWS exclusively (born in the cloud), or AWS plus another public cloud, or AWS plus private cloud, and in some cases even AWS plus another public cloud and private cloud, thus they are truly ‘multi-hybrid cloud’. We had a ton of great conversations with cloud users who are either prospects, customers, technology partners, MSPs or swag hunters who want learn how to automate their cloud cost control – our nirvana.

There were a ton of Sessions, Workshops and Chalk Talks, and long lines to get into the good ones. It’s up to you to define the good ones and reserve your spot ahead of time.

Of course, it’s not all work and no play. This year for re:Play we had DJ Snake – giddy up! And while you walked your miles through the various casinos there were DJ’s scattered about spinning tunes for you – I describe re:Invent to my friends as an IT event where “millennials meet technology” — definitely not your father’s tech trade show. Having been to many of these IT tech trade shows around the world for 20+ years now, and outside of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, re:Invent is hands down the coolest.

Not only because of the DJ’s and re:Play but because there is a real buzz there, people are part of the new world of IT, and the migration of enterprise services to the world’s #1 cloud provider. And of course the Pub Crawl and Tatonka chicken wing eating contest.

AWS is now so big that the Venetian/Palazzo can’t hold everyone anymore, so they have spread over to the MGM, Mirage, and Aria. AWS refers to this collection of locations as it’s ‘campus’ – interesting, the rest of us refer to it simply as Las Vegas :-).

BTW – bring your sneakers. It’s 1.5 miles or a 22 minute power walk, including a few bridges, from the MGM to the Venetian assuming no stops for a cold beverage. Speaking of which, the Starbucks line is crazy.

Oh, and the swag, holy mother of pearl, people literally walk by the booth with large tote bags stuffed full of swag – if you like swag, hit up the expo hall for your fill of tee shirts, hoodies, koozies, spinners, bottle openers, pens, flash lights, memory sticks, chargers, stickers, hats, socks, glasses, mints, Toblerone chocolate, and lots more!

Well, I probably need to tie this blog / rant back to the headline, so in that vein, here are the top three things we learned at this year’s AWS re:Invent:

  1. Cost control in 2018 will be about aggregating metrics and taking automated actions based on Machine Learning
  2. AWS talks a lot about advanced cloud services and PaaS, but a majority of the customers we talk to still use and spend most of their dollars on EC2, RDS and S3
  3. DevOps / CloudOps folks are in charge of implementing cost control actions and pick the tools they want to use to optimize cloud spend

See you next year – pre-book your Uber/Lyft or bring a scooter!

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Cloud Service Provider Comparison – Part Two: IBM vs Oracle

For the second part of our cloud service provider comparison, we’ll continue our discussion of “secondary” cloud providers with two longtime tech industry giants: IBM vs Oracle.

We always talk about the “big three” cloud providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). We’ve covered Azure vs AWS, Google vs AWS, and most recently, the rise of Alibaba as the next biggest cloud provider. But what about the rest? IBM and Oracle have solidified themselves in the technology world, but will their offerings bring them success in the public cloud? And if so, does one of them have a better chance?

IBM

  • At the end of June 2017, IBM made waves when it outperformed Amazon in total cloud computing revenue at $15.1 billion to $14.5 billion over a year-long period
  • However, Amazon is still way ahead when it comes to the IaaS market
    • For 2016, Amazon had the highest IaaS revenue, followed by Microsoft, Alibaba, and Google, respectively. IBM did not make the top 5.
    • Alibaba had the highest IaaS growth rate, followed by Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, respectively.
  • IBM was the fourth biggest cloud provider – before Alibaba took over
  • In Q1 of 2017, Synergy rankings showed that IBM has 4 percent of the public cloud market share, just behind Alibaba’s 5 percent
    • AWS had 44 percent, Azure – 11 percent, and Google Cloud – 6 percent

The reality that Alibaba knocked IBM out of fourth place in the ongoing saga of the cloud wars is a bit unsettling, but remember that the enterprise cloud is still just beginning. After all, the term “cloud computing” was only coined just a few years ago, in 2006. As we look forward, IBM and Amazon just released their own television ad campaigns, and the differences in their messaging are an indication of how each provider plans to move forward.

As enterprises continue their shift to the cloud, TV ads tell us a lot about a provider’s purpose, overall message, and target audience. In the IBM ad, “The Cloud for Enterprise, Yours,” the cloud is presented not as a cloud at all, but as an entity “built for your business, designed for your data, and secure to the core.” This messaging opens an otherwise confusing, sometimes difficult to understand service for business leaders, to something tangible, something that makes sense, something that was built for their enterprise. That type of message goes a long way with people who don’t know the first thing about cloud computing.

On the other hand, Amazon’s ad targets a different audience entirely: “the builders” – developers, programmers, and architects who already have a full understanding and reliance on AWS for their building needs. In contrast to IBM, whose ad is all about how their cloud is helping businesses through the power of data and innovation, blockchain, and more, Amazon went straight for the technical experts who know exactly what they’re doing, no explanation necessary. The ad was also perfectly timed for the arrival of AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas this past week (ParkMyCloud was there as a sponsor!), gearing up their technical followers for the big event.

IBM positioned itself as a cloud provider for business leaders as the shift to the cloud only gets bigger. Amazon positioned itself as a haven for technical experts, the people writing code and continuously managing applications and other processes. It will take some time before we see the results of how this messaging plays out, but it certainly says something about who each provider wants to impress. And while pretty much everyone agrees that Amazon is currently leading the cloud, the numbers don’t lie – let’s not forget that IBM outperformed them in overall cloud revenue.

Oracle

  • Oracle’s cloud business is still ramping up, particularly in terms of IaaS
  • In fiscal Q1 of 2018, growth was at 51 percent, down from a 60 percent average in the last four quarters
    • Q4 for fiscal 2017 was at 58 percent
  • Since last quarter, shares have gone down by 10 percent

If things weren’t looking good for Oracle before, they may have just taken a turn for the worst. This past week AWS re:Invent, we witnessed CEO Andy Jassy make quite a dig at Oracle during his keynote speech. There was a cartoon involved, featuring Oracle founder Larry Ellison, and the message was clear: AWS is taking business away from Oracle.

Oracle’s success largely comes from its database business, which is still their biggest revenue producer as many companies use their databases to run critical parts of their operations. AWS decided to take them head on with a database on their own, directly targeting their enterprise customers. After AWS launched Aurora, in competition with Oracle’s SQL database, they efficiently started peeling away longtime Oracle customers. Oracle’s response? Build their own cloud, competing directly with the biggest and most successful cloud provider thus far, AWS.

But in spite of their current position, we can’t rule out Oracle just yet. For customers who still rely on Oracle’s database or other software, the cloud is a welcome offering and probably an easier option. And in an attempt to make things harder for AWS, Oracle made some changes to its licensing, and doubled the cost of using its database on AWS in hopes that customers who already use Oracle’s database will find their cloud a cheaper, more appealing option. However, this also backfired to some degree as customers using AWS cloud in conjunction with Oracle’s database did not appreciate the spike in price. Ultimately, the decision could prove itself to be more beneficial to AWS customers, prompting them to switch their database instead of their cloud provider.

And this brings us back to re:Invent, where Andy Jassy announced a new, serverless database service – Aurora Serverless. Again, this new offering is in direct competition with Oracle’s database, and once it goes live, only time will tell if Oracle can take the heat.

IBM vs Oracle: The Takeaway

IBM vs Oracle – does either of them stand a chance against the bigger, more well known cloud providers? So far, it’s looking pretty good for IBM. They have their sights set on huge success with the introduction of Watson, the AI supercomputer that generated a lot of buzz when it won Jeopardy. They’ve also taken a new approach with their TV ad campaign, setting themselves apart from Amazon with an entirely different audience, wooing business leaders as the best choice in terms of business and innovation strategy. And of course, they’ve taken the lead in cloud computing revenue, which is nothing to scoff at.

On the other hand, Oracle is struggling to find its place, and Amazon is calling them out. With the announcement of Aurora Serverless, we’ll be looking to see how this new offering impacts Oracle as it takes a direct hit to it’s flagship product – their database business. If Oracle wants to keep up and hold it’s own against other cloud providers, they might be wise to take a note from IBM and innovate with a new approach entirely.

In the ongoing battle for the ultimate cloud provider, Amazon’s lead is certainly not a guarantee. Not only are Google and Azure coming in strong, but Alibaba is well on its way, and other secondary providers like IBM and Oracle are working on innovations and improvements to secure their place in the ranks.

In the end, we always find it helpful to come back to one of our favorite Andy Jassy quotes regarding the cloud battle:

“There won’t be just one successful player. There won’t be 30 because scale really matters here in regards to cost structure, as well as the breadth of services, but there are going to be multiple successful players, and who those are I think is still to be written.”

As we continue making comparisons between cloud providers, keeping up to date with ongoing advancements and innovations behind their offerings, we welcome you to participate! Please share any thoughts or feedback in the comment section, we’d love to hear your take!

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New in ParkMyCloud: AWS Utilization Metric Tracking

We are happy to share the latest release in ParkMyCloud: you can now see resource utilization data for your AWS EC2 instances! This data is viewable through customizable heatmaps.

This update gives you information about how your resources are being used – and it also provides the necessary information that will allow ParkMyCloud to make optimal parking and rightsizing recommendations when this feature is released next month. This is part of our ongoing efforts to do what we do best – save you money, automatically.

Utilization metrics that ParkMyCloud will now report on include:

  • Average CPU utilization
  • Peak CPU utilization
  • Total instance store read operations
  • Total instance store write operations
  • Average network data in
  • Average network data out
  • Average network packets in
  • Average network packets out

Here is an example of an instance utilization heatmap, which allows you to see when your instances are used most often:

In a few weeks, we will release the ability for ParkMyCloud to recommend parking schedules for your instances based on these metrics. In order to take advantage of this, you will need to have several weeks’ worth of CloudWatch data already logged, so that we can recommend based on your typical usage. Start your ParkMyCloud trial today to start tracking your usage patterns so you can get usage-based parking recommendations.

If you are an existing customer, you will need to update your AWS policies to enable ParkMyCloud to access your AWS CloudWatch data. Detailed instructions can be found in our support portal.

Feedback? Anything else you’d like to see ParkMyCloud do? Let us know!

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Cloud Service Provider Comparison – Who Will be the Next Big Provider? Part One: Alibaba

When making a cloud service provider comparison, you would probably think of the “big three” providers: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Thus far, AWS has led the cloud market, but the other two are gaining market share, driving us to make comparisons between Azure vs AWS and Google vs AWS. But that’s not the whole story.

In recent years, a few other “secondary” cloud providers have made their way into the market, offering more options to choose from. Are they worth looking at, and could one of them become the next big provider?

Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS, says: “There won’t be just one successful player. There won’t be 30 because scale really matters here in regards to cost structure, as well as the breadth of services, but there are going to be multiple successful players, and who those are I think is still to be written. But I would expect several of the older guard players to have businesses here as they have large installed enterprise customer bases and a large sales force and things of that sort.”

So for our next cloud service provider comparison, we are going to do an overview of what could arguably be the next biggest provider in the public cloud market (after all, we need to add a 4th cloud provider to the ParkMyCloud arsenal).:

Alibaba

Alibaba is a cloud provider not widely known about in the U.S., but it’s taking China by storm and giving Amazon a run for its money in Asia. It’s hard to imagine a cloud provider (or e-commerce giant) more successful than what we have seen with Amazon, let alone a provider that isn’t part of the big three, but Alibaba has their sights set on surpassing AWS to dominate the world wide cloud computing market.

Take a look at some recent headlines:

Guess Who’s King of Cloud Revenue Growth? It’s Not Amazon or Microsoft

Alibaba Just Had Its Amazon AWS Moment

Alibaba Declares War on Amazon’s Surging Cloud Computing Business

What we know so far about Alibaba:

  • In 2016: Cloud revenue was $675 million, surpassing Google Cloud’s $500 million. First quarter revenue was $359 million and in the second quarter rose to $447 million.
  • Alibaba was dubbed the highest ranking cloud provider in terms of revenue growth, with sales increasing 126.5 percent from 2015 ($298 million) to 2016
  • Gartner research places Alibaba’s cloud in fourth place among cloud providers, ahead of IBM and Oracle

Alibaba Cloud was introduced to cloud computing just three years after Amazon launched AWS. Since then, Alibaba has grown at a faster pace than Amazon, largely due to their domination of the Chinese market, and is now the 5th largest cloud provider in the world.

Alibaba’s growth is attributed in part to the booming Chinese economy, as the Chinese government continues digitizing, bringing its agencies online and into the cloud. In addition, as the principal e-commerce system in China, Alibaba holds the status as the “Amazon of Asia.” Simon Hu, senior vice president of Alibaba Group and president of Alibaba Cloud, claims that Alibaba will surpass AWS as the top provider by 2019.

Our Take

For the time being, Amazon is still dominating the U.S. cloud market, exceeding $400 billion in comparison to Alibaba’s $250 billion. Still, Alibaba Cloud is growing at incredible speed, with triple digit year-over-year growth over the last several quarters. As the dominant cloud provider in China, Alibaba is positioned to continue growing, and is still in its early stages of growth in the cloud computing market. Only time will reveal what Alibaba Cloud will do, but in the meantime, we’ll definitely be keeping a lookout. After all, we have customers in 20 countries around the world, not just in the U.S.  

Next Up: IBM & Oracle

Apart from the big three cloud providers, Alibaba is clearly making a name for itself with a fourth place ranking in the world of cloud computing. While this cloud provider is clearly gaining traction, a few more have made their introduction in recent years. Here’s a snapshot of the next 2 providers in our cloud service provider comparison:

IBM

  • At the end of June 2017, IBM made waves when it outperformed Amazon in total cloud computing revenue at $15.1 billion to $14.5 billion over a year-long period
  • However, Amazon is still way ahead when it comes to the IaaS market
    • For 2016, Amazon had the highest IaaS revenue, followed by Microsoft, Alibaba, and Google, respectively. IBM did not make the top 5.
    • Alibaba had the highest IaaS growth rate, followed by Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, respectively.
  • IBM was the fourth biggest cloud provider – before Alibaba took over
  • In Q1 of 2017, Synergy rankings showed that IBM has 4 percent of the public cloud market share, just behind Alibaba’s 5 percent
    • AWS had 44 percent, Azure – 11 percent, and Google Cloud – 6 percent

Oracle

  • Oracle’s cloud business is still ramping up, particularly in terms of IaaS
  • In fiscal Q1 of 2018, growth was at 51 percent, down from a 60 percent average in the last four quarters
    • Q4 for fiscal 2017 was at 58 percent
  • Since last quarter, shares have gone down by 10 percent

When making a cloud service provider comparison, don’t limit yourself to the “big three” of AWS, Azure, and GCP. They might dominate the market now, but as other providers grow, innovate, and increase their following in the cloud wars – we’ll continue to track and compare as earnings are reported.

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How to Optimize Costs When Using Blue-Green Deployments

Blue-green deployments are a great way to minimize downtime and risk — however, users should remember to keep cost in mind as well when optimizing deployments.

Why You Should Use Blue-Green Deployments

One approach to continuous deployment of applications that has really taken off in popularity recently is the use of blue-green deployments.

The main idea behind this system is to have two full production deployments in existence that are running the last two versions of code, with only the latest version actively in use.  For instance, if the current version of your software is running in your “blue” environment, your next deployment would take place in the “green” environment. When you’re ready to flip the switch, you start pointing users at green instead of blue.

This deployment method has a couple of great benefits. First, it helps with minimizing downtime when cutting over to newly-deployed code. Instead of upgrading your current system and having to make users wait until the upgrade is complete, the cutover downtime is minimized. Second, along the same lines, you have a fresh deployment each time instead of upgrading an existing system repeatedly. Third, you have a system that has been already working for you that you can roll back to if necessary.

How to Optimize Costs With Two Production Deployments

Of course, running two production environments means that you are paying twice the cost for your infrastructure. ParkMyCloud users have asked how they can optimize costs while using the blue-green deployment strategy.  We use AWS internally for our blue-green deployments, so we’ll discuss some options in terms of AWS terminology, but you can use other clouds like Azure and Google as well.

One approach is to use AWS Auto-Scaling Groups as your deployment mechanism. With ASGs, you decide how many instances you want as a minimum, a maximum, and a desired amount for your environment. When setting up ASGs in ParkMyCloud, you can have two different settings for min/max/desired for when the ASG is “on” and “off”.  This way, you can have an ASG for blue and one for green, then use ParkMyCloud to set the min/max/desired as needed, so each of these environments is only running when necessary, and not wasting money.

Another option is to use Logical Groups in ParkMyCloud. This allows you to group together instances into one entity, so you could have a database and a web server start and stop together.  If you go this route, you can put all of your blue instances together in a group, then start the whole group up when you are ready to switch over. When going between blue and green, you can just update the logical group to have the newest instances as you deploy. Again, this allows you to park the inactive environment, saving its cost.

If your continuous deployment is fully automated, a third option is to utilize the ParkMyCloud API to change schedules and toggle servers as deployments are completed. Typically, you’ll want your current active deployment on an “always on” schedule, so ParkMyCloud will turn things on even if someone tries to turn them off, and the standby deployment on an “always off” schedule so you are saving money.

This idea of using ParkMyCloud with blue-green deployments is one way to start implementing Continuous Cost Control in your pipeline. This way, you can save money while delivering software quickly and automatically. Try it out with ParkMyCloud today and get the most out of your cloud!

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New 451 Research Report on ParkMyCloud’s Multi-Cloud Scheduling Software

Analyst 451 Research has released a new report on ParkMyCloud, highlighting that “ParkMyCloud continues to build out its multi-cloud scheduling software, maintaining the clean interface but adding functionality with a reporting dashboard, single sign-on and notifications, including a Slackbot for automated parking.”

It’s true! We’ve been steadily adding features to ParkMyCloud as our customers ask for them. Recent examples include:

  • Mobile app – easy access to your ParkMyCloud account for cost management on the go
  • RDS parking – park AWS RDS instances, just like EC2
  • Slack integration – get notifications and manage your continuous cost control via Slack

Here’s the full “451 take” on ParkMyCloud:

“ParkMyCloud is one of a handful of products that automate cloud resource scheduling via a lightweight SaaS application. With support for Azure and Google Cloud Platform as well as AWS, it offers a bird’s-eye view of provisioned public cloud resources and a slick interface for ‘parking’ idle capacity, either according to a schedule or ad hoc. With a clear ROI story and plans to improve the user experience with a mobile app and a more robust policy engine, the company benefits from a focus on doing one thing and doing it well.”

That “clear ROI story” that 451 Research noted is clear to our customers, too. In fact, most customers have an ROI of less than two months of using the product. The savings rapidly pays for the cost of premium features.

They also noted that the number of instances managed in the platform has tripled, just from Q2 to Q3 this year. More and more AWS, Azure, and GCP users are relying on ParkMyCloud for continuous cost control.

So if you are evaluating cloud cost control (ParkMyCloud), we encourage you to check out the full 451 Research analysis. Download and read the report here: ParkMyCloud automates scheduling of AWS, Azure, and GCP resources.  

Ready to join the ParkMyCloud following and start controlling your cloud spend? Start a free trial of ParkMyCloud today.

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