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

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

Why Script When ParkMyCloud is free?

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

Premium Features

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

14-Day Trial of All Features

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

Get Started with Free Cloud Optimization

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

Is your AWS bill too high this month?

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

One, did you look at your AWS bill?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is Cloud Waste?

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

It takes several forms:

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

This manifests itself in various ways:

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

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

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

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

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

Who is Affected by Cloud Waste?

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

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

How to Prevent Cloud Waste

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

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

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

Want tips, tricks, and insights for an optimized cloud?

> No, I like wasting time and money.