As we wrap up 2018, we’ve taken a moment to reflect back on the best cloud blogs of 2018 – at least, the best posts on our own blog. We’ve created two categories for comparison: the Readers’ Choice – those you all have viewed the most – and our own favorite posts.
These were the top 5 most viewed posts on the ParkMyCloud blog this year, and have been widely read and circulated:
EC2 Instance Types Comparison (and how to remember them). AWS offers a range of EC2 instance types optimized for various purposes – which are a great resource, but can be overwhelming for beginners. This blog contains both an at-a-glance comparison table, as well as a video overview.
How to Use Google Preemptible VMs to Get 80% Savings. Google Cloud’s Preemptible VM option offers a significant discount on the price of compute, as long as you’re willing to use VMs that will run for 24 hours or less. Here are a few use cases and a brief guide to get started.
While not the most viewed posts on the blog, these posts are all great reads that look at various aspects of cloud services and costs. In no particular order:
$12.9 Billion in wasted cloud spend this year. Wasted cloud spend is a huge drain on organizational resources – and one that is mostly preventable. This post looks at the causes of that waste. Expect an updated version of this analysis for 2019!
7 Ways Cloud Services Pricing is Confusing. If you’ve ever been confused by the bill or pricing charts you’ve seen from cloud service providers, you’re not alone. From terminology to visibility, there are a lot of factors that make the question “what will this cost me?” more complicated than it seems on the surface.
Do Google Sustained Use Discounts Really Save You Money? The idea of the Sustained Use discount is that the longer you run a VM instance in any given month, the bigger discount you will get from the list price. We ran some analyses to show whether they save you money – and how much they save compared to other operating options.
10,000 Years of Data Says Your Server Sizing is Wrong. As ParkMyCloud expands our cost optimization focus to include rightsizing, we have been working on some reports to see how big of a problem “wrong” sizing actually is. As it turns out, it’s a pretty big problem.
Thanks for making ParkMyCloud one of your own favorites for best cloud blogs in 2018! What type of content would you like to see more of in 2019? Let us know in the comments below!
Among several exciting announcements we heard at AWS re:Invent 2018 was one that hit close to our Loudoun County home – the new AWS GovCloud (US-East) Region. Joining GovCloud (US-West), the first of its kind, the East region is the second for AWS GovCloud and the 19th AWS region in the world. This announcement is significant, particularly to the Washington DC area of the east coast, home to the ParkMyCloud headquarters and a significant number of U.S. government departments and agencies.
The US-East region adds three more Availability Zones to AWS GovCloud, doubling the three total that were previously included with the existing infrastructure. This is great news for U.S. customers in the public and commercial sector in highly regulated industries that must meet stringent compliance requirements, including those for disaster recovery and continuity of operations. The new region is compatible with EC2, S3, and RDS instance types, among more.
Why does AWS GovCloud matter?
The advantages of scalability, security, and agility in the cloud are alluring. But for customers with sensitive data and strict compliance and security requirements, like government agencies, using the cloud is a tricky process with a huge checklist to follow. To provide the same benefits of cloud services while meeting even the most stringent U.S. government requirements, Amazon designed an isolated cloud region only for those users – AWS GovCloud.
What’s Different in AWS GovCloud?
Think of AWS GovCloud as Amazon’s “gated community.” GovCloud vets all of its government customers and their partners to create secure cloud solutions, meeting compliance requirements for FedRAMP, the DOJ’s Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS), U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Export Administration Regulations (EAR), Department of Defense (DoD) Cloud Computing Security Requirements Guide (SRG), FIPS 140-2, IRS-1075, and more. This specialized region allows for customers to host sensitive Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) that includes data in categories such as agriculture, patent, export, critical infrastructure, immigration, law enforcement, proprietary business info, statistical, tax, financial, and transportation, to name a few. GovCloud is ideal for government agencies at the federal, state, and local level, as well as organizations in regulated industries including financial, technology, energy, healthcare, law enforcement, defense, enterprise, and aerospace.
How do I qualify to be a GovCloud customer?
GovCloud is only available to vetted U.S. entities and root account holders with U.S. citizenship. AWS ensures address compliance in the cloud with network, data, and virtual machines that are isolated from all other AWS cloud regions. GovCloud features a separate identity and access management stack with unique credentials that work only within the AWS GovCloud region. In addition, the region is managed solely by AWS personnel of U.S. citizenship, on U.S. soil, and users get their own separate management console. The region also has endpoints specific to its region, including the option to use designated endpoints, meeting FIPS 100-2 compliance requirements.
Why go GovCloud?
Whether it’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII), patient medical records, financial data, law enforcement data, or other forms of CUI, AWS GovCloud allows users to meet compliance requirements on their cloud journey. Government agencies have an opportunity with Amazon to support mission critical workloads for enterprise applications, high performance computing, big data, storage & disaster recovery. For a U.S. cloud with vetted access, that meets compliance, guards data, improves identity management, protects workloads, and enhances cloud visibility, AWS GovCloud is the way to go.
ParkMyCloud’s SaaS Offering Available on AWS Marketplace, Providing Easy Adoption for AWS Customers
December 18, 2018 (Dulles, VA) – ParkMyCloud, provider of a leading enterprise platform for continuous cost control in the cloud, announced today that it is now available on Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace. This allows AWS customers to purchase ParkMyCloud directly on AWS Marketplace, making it easier for enterprises to automatically identify and eliminate wasted cloud spend.
Identifying the need to have their services leverage AWS to meet customer demand, ParkMyCloud partnered with Tackle.io to get their listing up and running in less than 4 weeks. ParkMyCloud subscription purchases made on AWS Marketplace will be integrated into a customer’s AWS account and monthly bill for simplified purchasing processes. AWS customers who are enrolled in AWS Enterprise Contracts can purchase ParkMyCloud using pre-approved enterprise licensing terms to simplify and streamline procurement.
“Here at ParkMyCloud, we’re all about providing automation and simplification to our customers,” said ParkMyCloud CEO Jay Chapel. “Streamlining the purchasing process for our customers by extending our SaaS offering through AWS Marketplace is a no brainer.”
This announcement builds on an existing relationship between AWS and ParkMyCloud. ParkMyCloud is an Advanced Technology Partners in the AWS Partner Network (APN), and more than 600 AWS customers worldwide use ParkMyCloud to automatically optimize cloud costs.
ParkMyCloud provides an easy-to-use platform that helps enterprises automatically identify and eliminate wasted cloud spend. More than 800 enterprises around the world – including Unilever, Sysco, Hitachi ID Systems, Sage Software, and National Geographic – trust ParkMyCloud to cut their cloud spend by millions of dollars annually. ParkMyCloud’s SaaS offering allows enterprises to easily manage, govern, and optimize their spend across multiple public clouds. For more information, visit https://www.parkmycloud.com.
Amidst the truckload of announcements from AWS around re:Invent this year, one that caught my attention was the ability to perform EC2 instance hibernation. This isn’t going to be directly applicable to all workloads or all businesses, but it provides a needed way to bridge the gap between On-Demand EC2 and Spot instances. By having this option, it should be easier to go between both compute choices to solve more business cases.
Spot Instances 101
One way AWS helps you save money is by letting you utilize spare compute resources as instances called Spot. There’s a whole economy around Spot Instances, as the price can go up or down based on free resources in AWS data centers. To purchase Spot Instances, you establish your bid price, and if the price of your desired instance goes under the bid, then you get the resources. The biggest catch is that once the price goes above your bid price, your gets stopped in the middle of what it was doing.
This behavior means that you need to have workloads that can be paused. One big consideration is that you don’t want to have time-sensitive workloads operating in this environment, as it may take longer to complete the overall task if the processes keep getting interrupted. This also means that you’ll want to build your subtasks and processes in a way that they can be interrupted without breaking horribly.
Interruptible Workloads On-Demand
Now, with the ability to perform EC2 instance hibernation, the processes that you’ve already made interruptible can run on demand, with you choosing when to pause those workloads. By having this flexibility, you can eliminate the concern of not finishing a task before a desired date that comes with Spot instances, but still have the ability to switch to Spot (or out of Spot) if desired. This combines some of the best aspects of Spot and On-Demand Instances.
In addition to the benefit of workloads completing on your timetable, you can also utilize hibernation to pre-warm EC2 instances that have apps that might take a while to spin up. This can be especially true for memory-intensive applications, as any data that was in memory prior to hibernation will be immediately available upon restart. You could even use this as a workaround to long warm-up times for AWS Lambda functions, as instead of waiting for the Lambda to spin up, your instance could be running your function locally with everything pre-loaded.
EC2 Instance Hibernation: Supercharging Spot
Last year, AWS added the ability to hibernate Spot instances, which changed the game on how you plan your Spot workloads. Now, with EC2 Instance hibernation, you can take your workload management to the next level by having a wider array of options available to you.
This kind of hibernation seems like a great fit for image processing, video encoding, or after-hours high performance computing. Got any other good ideas or use-cases for EC2 instance hibernation? Let us know what you think!
The ParkMyCloud team is back from a successful AWS re:Invent 2018! It was a busy week for all of us. There was a crowd – more than 50,000 attendees. There was a Skrillex concert. And of course, there was buzz. A few AWS announcements that caught our interest include AWS Outposts, Amazon Timestream, and AWS Lambda Custom Runtimes – but more on our favorites in a later post.
As for ParkMyCloud, we released our new rightsizing functionality and got lots of great feedback.
We also met lots of great people at the booth in the expo hall – prospective ParkMyCloud users, existing and future partners, AWS employees, and of course, our customers! As a SaaS company, events like AWS re:Invent are one of the few times each year that we get to meet our customers in person, and we always have great conversations and learn from their feedback. We asked a few ParkMyCloud customers to tell us what they would tell a prospective user about the platform – here’s what they said.
TJ Victor, Incentive Technology Group
TJ Victor, Linux Systems Administrator at Incentive Technology Group (ITG), has been using ParkMyCloud for four months. Upon seeing a demo of ParkMyCloud, ITG immediately saw the value – “we were pretty much hooked then.”
They implemented ParkMyCloud on one of their biggest projects, and TJ has been convincing managers to implement it for any project that uses EC2 instances. They’ve saved at least $15,000, but TJ notes that that’s in a small environment, and the more instances you have, the more you’ll save.
TJ says, “It’s a wonderful product, I can’t recommend it highly enough, and you make your money back in like a day. It’s seriously that good.”
He adds, “it’s really a no-brainer to use ParkMyCloud.”
Greg Cockburn, Bulletproof
Greg Cockburn is the Chief Cloud Officer at Australian Managed Services Provider Bulletproof. His team found out about ParkMyCloud via our partnership with CloudHealth Technologies, which Bulletproof already used to provide cloud visibility and governance to their customers. They immediately saw value in the platform, and had customers signed up within one day of partnering with ParkMyCloud.
Greg says, “it’s so simple. The interface is really really simple to get up and running. We’ve been able to onboard about three or four customers now, it’s fantastic.”
Greg also appreciates ParkMyCloud’s timely response and support.
Neil Groat, Dealer-FX
Neil Groat is a Senior Cloud Infrastructure Engineer at Dealer-FX, based in Toronto, Canada.
Dealer-FX has been using ParkMyCloud since 2016 to schedule resources to turn off when they’re not needed, which saves them “easily” more than $10,000 per month.
Neil says, “It’s wonderfully easy to just group a number of resources together based on tags, naming, and other conditions. And building the schedules to take care of it for you. The ease of use of the platform is what I like most about ParkMyCloud.”
Thank You for a Successful AWS re:Invent 2018
To everyone we met at AWS re:Invent 2018, thanks for stopping by. To our customers, thanks for your feedback (and if you’d like to give a virtual testimonial in exchange for a hoodie, just email me!) And to AWS, thank you for another great event.
The ParkMyCloud Team at the booth
Five lucky winners of the scratch & win game at the ParkMyCloud booth
Andy shows off the PMC wares
We spotted Lacework’s t-shirts and discovered great minds think alike
Chris and Bill with Corey Quinn of Last Week in AWS
ParkMyCloud CEO Jay Chapel, CloudHealth CEO Tom Axbey, and Eric Beller of CloudHealth enjoying a happy hour
Katy and Bill racing in the Office Chair Grand Prix at re:Play
We had a great time at re:Invent 2018! Thanks AWS!