Trends in Cloud Computing – ParkMyCloud Turns Two, What’s New?

Trends in Cloud Computing – ParkMyCloud Turns Two, What’s New?

It’s not hard to start a company but it’s definitely hard to grow and scale a company, so two years later we thought we would discuss trends in cloud computing that shape our growth and vision – what we see and hear as we talk to enterprises, MSP’s and industry pundits on a daily basis. First, and foremost we need to thank our customers, both free and paid, who use ParkMyCloud, save millions a year, and actively engage with us in defining our roadmap, and have helped us develop the best damn cloud cost control solution in the market. And the bloggers, analysts, and writers who share our story, given we have customers on every continent (except Antarctica) this has been extremely beneficial to us.

Observation Number One: the public cloud is here to stay. Given the CapEx investment needed to build and operate data centers all over the world, only the cash rich companies will succeed at scale so you need to figure out if you want to be a single cloud / multi-region, or multi-cloud user. We discussed that in detail recently in this blog and it really boils down to risk mitigation. Most companies we talk to are single cloud BUT do ask if we support multi-cloud in case they diversify (we are, we support AWS, Azure, and Google).

Observation Number Two: AWS is king, duh – well they are, and they continue to innovate and grow at a record setting pace. AWS just hit $4bn in quarterly revenue – that’s $16bn in run rate. It’s like the new IBM – what CIO or CTO is going to get fired for moving their infrastructure to AWS’ cloud to improve agility, attract millennial developers who want to innovate in the cloud, leverage the cloud ecosystem, and lower cost (we will address this one in a bit). We released support for Azure and Google in 2017, and yet 75% or more of the new trials and customers we get use AWS, and their environments are almost always larger than those on Azure and Google. There is a reason Microsoft and Google do not release IaaS statistics. And for IBM and Oracle, they are the way back IaaS time machine.

Observation Number Three: Cloud Cost Control is a real thing. It’s something enterprises really care about, and optimizing their cloud spend as their bills grow is becoming increasingly more important to the CFO and CIO. This is mainly focused on buying capacity in advance (which kind of defeats the purpose of the pay as you go model), rightsizing servers as developers have a tendency to over provision for their needs, turning stuff off when it’s not being used, and finding orphaned resources that are ‘lost’ in the cloud. As 65% of a bill is spent on compute (servers / instances) the focus is usually directed there first and foremost as a reduction there is the largest impact on a bill.

Observation Number Four: DevOps and IT Ops are responsible for cloud cost control, not Finance. Now, Finance (or the CFO) might provide a directive to  IT or Engineering that their cloud costs must be brought under control and that they need to look at ways to optimize, but at the end of the day DevOps and IT Ops are responsible for evaluating and selecting tools to help their companies immediately reduce their cloud costs. When we talk to the technical teams during a demo they have been told to they need to reduce their cloud spend or there is a cost control initiative in place, and then they research technologies to help them solve this problem (SEO is key here). Here’s a great example of a FinTech customer of ours and how their cost control decision went down.

Observation Number Five: It’s all about automation, DevOps and self-service. As mentioned, the technical folks are responsible for implementing a cost control platform to optimize their cloud spend, and as such it’s all about show me, not pretty reports and graphs. What we mean here is that as an action oriented platform they want us to be able to easily integrate into their continuous integration and delivery processes through a fully functional API, but also provide a simple UI for the non-techies to ensure self-service. And at the infrastructure layer it’s about what you can do with and through DevOps tools like Slack, Atlassian, and Jenkins, and at the enterprises level with SSO providers such as Ping, Okta and Microsoft, repeating themes over and over again regardless of the cloud provider.

Observation Number Six: Looking ahead, it’s about Stacks. As the idea of microservices continues to take hold, more developers are utilizing multiple instances or services to deploy a single application or environment. In years past, the bottleneck for implementing such groups of servers or databases was the deployment time, but modern configuration management tools (like Chef, Puppet, and Ansible) make this a common strategy by turning the infrastructure into code.  However, managing these environments for humans can remain challenging. ParkMyCloud already allows logical groupings of instances for one-click scheduling, but we’re planning on taking this a step further by integrating with the deployment solutions to really tie it all together.

Obviously the trends in cloud computing we touch on have a mix of macro and micro, and are generally looked at through a cost control lens, but they do provide insights into the day to day of what we see and hear from the folks that operate and use cloud from multinational enterprises to startups. By tracking these trends over time, we can help you keep on top of cloud best-practices to optimize your IT budget, and we look forward to what the next 2 years of cloud computing will bring us.

Was the Acquisition of Cloudyn About the need to Manage Microsoft Azure? Sort of.

Was the Acquisition of Cloudyn About the need to Manage Microsoft Azure? Sort of.

Perhaps you heard that Microsoft recently acquired Cloudyn in order to manage Microsoft Azure cloud resources, along with of course Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and others. Why? Well the IT landscape is becoming more and more a multi-cloud landscape. Originally this multi-cloud (or hybrid cloud) approach was about private and public cloud, but as we recently wrote here the strategy as we talk to large enterprises is becoming more about leveraging multiple public clouds for a variety of reasons – risk management, vendor lock in, and workload optimization seem to be the three main reasons.

 

That said, according to TechCrunch and quotes from Microsoft executives the acquisition is meant to provide Microsoft a cloud billing and management solution that provides it with an advantage over competitors (particularly AWS and GCP) as companies continue to pursue, drum roll please … a multi-cloud strategy. Additional, benefits for Microsoft include visibility into usage patterns, adoption rates, and other cloud-related data points that they can leverage in the ‘great cloud war’ to come … GOT reference of course.

 

Why are we writing about this – a couple reasons. One of course is that this a relevant event in the cloud management platform (CMP) space, as this is really the first big cloud visibility and governance acquisition to date. The other acquisitions by Dell (Enstratius), Cisco (Cliqr), and CSC (ServiceMesh) for example were more orchestration and infrastructure platforms than reporting tools. Second, this points to the focus enterprises have on cost visibility, cost management and governance as they look to optimize their spend and usage as one does with any utility. And third, this proves that a ‘pushback’ from enterprises to more widely adopt Azure has been, “I am already using AWS, I don’t want to manage through yet another screen / console”, and that multi-cloud visibility and governance helps solve that problem.

 

Now, taking this one step farther: the visibility, recommendations, and reporting are all well and good, but what about the actions that must be taken off those reports, and integration into enterprise Devops processes for automation and continuous cost control? That’s where something like Cloudyn falls short, and where a platform like ParkMyCloud kicks in:

 

  • Multi-cloud Visibility and Governance- check
  • Single-Sign On (SSO) – check
  • REST API for DevOps Automation – check
  • Policy Engine for Automated Actions (parking) – check
  • Real-time Usage and Savings data – check
  • Manage Microsoft Azure (AWS + GCP) – check

 

The next step in cloud cost control is automation and action, not just visibility and reporting. Let technology automate these tasks for you instead of just telling you about it.

New on ParkMyCloud: Notifications via Slack and Email

New on ParkMyCloud: Notifications via Slack and Email

New on ParkMyCloud: you can now receive notifications about your environment and ParkMyCloud account via email as well as Slack and other webhooks. We’re happy to deliver this user-requested feature, and look forward to an improved user experience.

The notifications are divided into system-level notifications and user-level notifications, as outlined below.

Administrators: Configure Notifications of Account-Level Actions via Slack/Webhooks

Administrators can now set up shared account-level notifications for parking actions and/or system errors. You can choose to receive these actions via Slack or a custom webhook.

These notifications include information about:

  • Parking Actions
    • Resource stop/start as a result of a schedule
    • Manual resource start/stop via toggles
    • Manual schedule snoozes
    • Attach/detach of schedules to resources
    • Manual changes to schedules
  • System Errors
    • Permissions issues, such as a lack of permissions on an instance or credential that prevents parking actions
    • Errors related to your cloud service provider, for example, errors due to service outages.

For instructions on how to configure these notifications, please see this article on our support portal.

All Users: Get Notified via Email

While system-level notifications must be configured by an administrator, individual ParkMyCloud users can choose to set up email notifications as well. These notifications include the same information listed above for the teams you choose.

Email notifications will be sent as a rollup every 15 minutes. If no actions occur, you will not receive an email. For instructions on how to configure these notifications, please see this article on our support portal.

Let Us Know What You Think

To our current users: we look forward to your feedback on the notifications, and welcome any suggestions you have to improve the functionality and usability of ParkMyCloud.

If you aren’t yet using ParkMyCloud, you can get started here with a free trial.

Top Cloud Computing Trends: Cloud Cost Control

Top Cloud Computing Trends: Cloud Cost Control

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.

Cost Control among top cloud computing trends

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.)

 

Download the report here to check out the full results from EMA.

New: Park AWS RDS Instances with ParkMyCloud

New: Park AWS RDS Instances with ParkMyCloud

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.

Happy parking!