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!
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.