The latest release of ParkMyCloud includes the ability to schedule Google Cloud SQL Databases, among other updates to help you save more money through cloud automation.
Save with Google Cloud SQL Parking
First up, ParkMyCloud can now park Google Cloud SQL Databases! This means you can automate 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 need. The average schedule in ParkMyCloud is OFF 65% of the time, which means 65% savings – that’s a lot of money.
You can also use ParkMyCloud’s policy engine to create rules that automatically assign your SQL databases to parking schedules and to teams, so they’re only accessible to the users who need them.
Google Cloud SQL databases are just the latest in the growing list of types of cloud resources you can park, which also includes Google VM instances, Google Managed Instance groups, AWS EC2 instances, AWS auto scaling groups, AWS RDS instances, Azure VMs, Azure Scale Sets, and Alibaba Cloud ECS instances.
So why now? A growing number of ParkMyCloud users base their infrastructure in Google Cloud – in fact, GCP users are our fastest-growing segment of users. We’ll continue to add ways to optimize your environment no matter what clouds you use, of course, but expect more GCP features to come. We’ve focused on databases in this release because databases are the biggest area of cloud spend after compute, accounting for about 15-20% of an average enterprise’s bill.
What Else is New in ParkMyCloud?
Users will enjoy a few other recent additions to the ParkMyCloud platform:
Automatically accept SmartParking recommendations – fully automate your resource optimization by using ParkMyCloud’s policy engine to automatically apply schedules (previously, these had to be manually applied). There are several settings you can tweak to suit your needs – more in the release notes.
Chat integrations – we most recently added chat integration for Google Hangouts and MS Teams, joining our existing Slack integration. You can receive notifications and perform override commands and more through your chat window
If you’re new to ParkMyCloud, you can get started with a free trial. After the full-featured 14-day trial, you can choose to subscribe to a premium plan, or use the free tier – visit our pricing page for more information.
If you already use ParkMyCloud, you’ll need to enable ParkMyCloud to discover and manage your Google Cloud SQL databases. Find the details about the updated limited access role permissions in our user guide. Two things to note: first, you’ll need to be subscribed to the Standard or Enterprise tier in order to access this feature.
As always, we welcome your feedback about this new addition to ParkMyCloud, and any features you’d like to see in the future – comment below or shoot us a note. Cheers!
There has been a rush of cloud management acquisitions lately, with VMware, Apptio, and Flexera making major acquisitions in the last three months alone (and more to follow). I thought it would be useful to compile a centralized list, so we can take a look at the trends in this market and why these acquisitions are accelerating.
The Multi-Faceted Cloud Management Industry
First, let’s be clear: the cloud management industry is broad and a bit ambiguous but as it matures industry analysts have begun to define specific categories. We found the below put together by Gartner in a recent blog:
ParkMyCloud fits into the “Cost Management and Resource Optimization” category, which in and of itself is broad, but in a nutshell these vendors help enterprises monitor, manage, govern and control cloud spend in a variety of ways. The other category we find intriguing is “Provisioning and Orchestration”. That’s where we feel a lot of the DevOps tools fit, and that is the go-to-market model we like to fashion ourselves after — technical user/buyer, self-service trials, SaaS, and freemium model.
Cloud Management Acquisitions, 2013-2018
So it should be no surprise that we have collected the following data points listed below – we would welcome your feedback on others we should add to this list.
Cloud Technology Partners
In the last 45 days or so the cloud management platform (CMP) space has been hyperactive as VMware acquired CloudHealth, Apptio acquired FittedCloud, and Flexera acquired Rightscale. Good news for all but we are most excited for CloudHealth given we are a commercial and technology partner with them.
What These Cloud Management Acquisitions Tell Us about The State of Public Cloud
So what does this tell us about the cloud management space, and in particular the cost management and optimization space? We have some opinions:
Companies like Cisco, HPE and VMware understand the importance of being in the public cloud game, each basically failed at competing against AWS et. al. head on, so they are now ensuring they have tools that help enterprises manage public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud services.
The cost management portion of cloud management is always a “top 3” concern of CIOs and CTOs according to any cloud survey published, so cloud cost optimization is front in center in enterprise IT and ISVs must be able to address this concern.
Clearly, cloud management acquisitions will continue, and new solutions and companies will evolve as this market grows and matures. The cloud providers are launching new services at a rapid pace, and like any large scale utility there needs to be tools to help manage, govern, secure, and optimize these existing and new services.
If you use DevOps processes, automation and orchestration are king — which is why the Google Cloud cron service can be a great tool for managing your Google Compute Engine instances via Google App Engine code. This kind of automation can often involve multiple Google Cloud services, which is great for learning about them or running scheduled tasks that might need to touch multiple instances. Here are a few ideas on how to use the Google Cloud cron service:
1. Automated Snapshots
Since Google Compute Engine lets you take incremental snapshots of the attached disks, you can use the Google App Engine cron to take these snapshots on a daily or weekly basis. This lets you go back in time on any of your compute instances if you mess something up or have some systems fail. If you use Google’s Pub/Sub service, you can have the snapshots take place on all instances that are subscribed to that topic.
As a bonus, you can use a similar idea to manage old snapshots and deleting things you don’t need anymore. For example, schedule a Google Cloud cron to clean up snapshots three months after a server is decommissioned, or to migrate those snapshots to long-term storage.
2. Autoscaling a Kubernetes Cluster
With Google on the forefront of Kubernetes development, many GCP users make heavy use of GKE, the managed Kubernetes service. In order to save some money and make sure your containers aren’t running when they aren’t needed, you could set up a cron job to run at 5:00 p.m. each weekday to scale down your Kubernetes cluster to a size of 0. For maximum cost savings, you can just leave it off until you need it, then manually spin up the cluster, or you could use a second cron to spin you clusters up at 8:00 a.m. so it’s ready for the day.
(By the way — we’re working on functionality to let you do this automatically in ParkMyCloud, just like you can for VMs. Interested? Let us know & we’ll notify you on release.)
3. Send Weekly Reports
Is your boss hounding you for updates? Does your team need to know the status of the service? Is your finance group wondering how your GCP costs are trending for this week? Automate these reports using the Google Cloud cron service! You can gather the info needed and post these reports to a Pub/Sub topic, send them out directly, or display it on your internal dashboard or charting tool for mass consumption. These reports can be for various metrics or services, including Google Compute, Cloud SQL, or your billing information for your various projects.
Other Google Cloud Cron Ideas? Think Outside The Box!
Got any other ideas or existing uses to use the Google Cloud cron service to automate your Google Cloud environment? Let us know how you’re using it and why it helps you manage your cloud infrastructure.
Google Cloud is hosting summits all over the world, but the Google Cloud Summit DC is a particularly interesting one. The location in the nation’s capital brings together a mix of government contractors, a growing community of technology startups and innovators, and everything in between.
Plus, it’s just up the road from the data center capital of the world – did you know that 70% of the world’s web traffic flows through ParkMyCloud’s home county of Loudoun, Virginia? Google Cloud opened a data center here in 2017, and has offices in downtown DC and in Reston, VA, giving them a more established presence here than in some other Summit locations.
Here are 3 things you can expect from the Google Cloud Summit DC on October 30th:
1. Public Sector Discussion
Each of Google Cloud’s Summits has content paths tailored to local industries, so it’s no surprise that the Washington, DC edition will highlight government considerations – with security tied into the track as well. Sessions include Security Considerations when Migrating; Cloud Regulatory Compliance; and a Public Sector Roadmap panel.
An interesting wrinkle is that Google just announced that it will not submit a bid for the U.S. Department of Defense’s JEDI cloud computing project, citing their AI principles regarding weapons. In the statement, Google said “Google Cloud believes that a multi-cloud approach is in the best interest of government agencies, because it allows them to choose the right cloud for the right workload.”
2. Sessions on Roles and Teams
Google aims to make their summits enticing for people in technical and leadership roles alike, which is why you’ll see sessions on the agenda like “Welcome to the Age of the Cloud Worker” or “Getting ahead of digital transformation: how leaders can build a cloud-first workplace”. Expect discussion of the ways cloud computing impacts hiring and organizational strategy, with roles including Google’s own invention of site reliability engineering.
3. A Focus on AI and Machine Learning
At Google Cloud Next in June, 16 major announcements were made around AI and machine learning. As Google seeks to share knowledge and spread adoption among users, they will focus on tools like Kubeflow, which automates deployments of machine learning workflows to Kubernetes, and various AutoML products that let developers with limited machine learning experience start leveraging machine learning models.
Summit sessions include an Intro to Cloud AI Platform for Data Scientists, Easy Ways to Start Automating Intelligence, and Building the Right Foundation for Competitive Advantage Customers.
If you’re coming to the Google Cloud Summit DC, let us know! We’d love to get a coffee or a drink.
There’s a simple fact for public cloud users today: you need to use cloud agnostic tools. Yes – even if you only use one public cloud. Why? This recommendation comes down to a few drivers that we see time and time again.
You won’t always use just this cloud
There is an enterprise IT trend to multi-cloud and hybrid cloud – such a prevalent trend that even if you are currently single-cloud, you should plan for the eventuality of using more than one cloud, as the multi-cloud future has arrived. Dave Bartoletti, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, who broke down multi-cloud and hybrid cloud by the numbers:
62 percent of public cloud adopters are using 2+ unique cloud platforms
74 percent of enterprises describe their strategy as hybrid/multi-cloud today
In addition, standardizing on cloud agnostic tools also can alleviate costs associated with policy design, deployment, and enforcement across different cloud environments. Management and monitoring using the same service platform greatly reduces the issue of mismatched security policies and uncertainty in enforcement. Cloud agnostic tools that also operate in the context of the data center — whether in a cloud, virtualized, container, or traditional infrastructure — are a boon for organizations who need to be agile and move quickly. Being able to reuse policies and services across the entire multi-cloud spectrum reduces friction in the deployment process and offers assurances in consistency of performance and security.
How do you decide what tools to adopt?
We talk to different size enterprises using the cloud on a daily basis, and always ask if they are using cloud native tools, or if they are using third party tools that are cloud agnostic. The answer – it’s a mix to be sure, often it’s a mix between cloud-native and third-party tools within the same enterprise.
What we hear is that managing the cloud infrastructure is quite a complex job, especially when you have different clouds, technologies, and a diverse and opinionated user community to support. So a common theme with many of the third-party tools we see used tend to include freemium models, a technology someone used at a previous company, tools recommended by the cloud services provider (CSP) themselves, and open-API-driven solutions that allow for maximum automation in their cloud operations. It also serves the tools vendors well if deploying the tool includes minimum effort — in other words, SaaS tools that do not require a bunch of services and integration work. Plug and play is a must.
For context, here at ParkMyCloud support AWS, Azure, Google and Alibaba clouds, and usually talk to DevOps and IT Ops folks responsible for their cloud infrastructure. And those folks are usually after cloud cost control and governance when speaking with us. So our conversations tend to focus on the tools they use and need for cloud infrastructure management like CI/CD, monitoring, cost control, cost visibility and optimization, and user governance. For user governance and internal communication, Single-sign On and ChatOps are must have.
So we decided to compile a list of the most common clouds and tools we run across here at ParkMyCloud, in order of popularity:
Cloud Service Provider
AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Alibaba Cloud – and we do get requests for IBM and Oracle clouds
Infrastructure Monitoring (not APM)
Cloud Native (AWS CloudWatch, Azure Metrics, Google Stackdriver), DataDog, Nagios, SolarWinds, Microsoft, BMC, Zabbix, IBM
Our suggestion is to use cloud agnostic tools wherever possible. Our experience tells us that a majority of the enterprises lean this way anyways. The upfront cost in terms of license fee and/or set up could be more, but we think it comes down to (1) most people will end up hybrid/multi-cloud in the future, even if they aren’t now, and (2) cloud agnostic tools are more likely to meet your needs as a user, as the companies building those tools will stay laser-focused on supporting and improving said functionality across the big CSPs.