Mr. Bobvious Realizes: Developers are like teenagers and idle AWS instances are like light bulbs

Our hero, Mr. Bobvious, the IT Ops guy who automatically turns off idle AWS instances using ParkMyCloud, was texting with his teenage son not long ago. Afterwards he realized that the challenge of getting his company’s developers to remember to turn off their AWS instances was the same as…well read on and you’ll see:


Mr. Bobvious: Jake? Are you home?

Teen: Sup.

Mr. Bobvious: What’s sup?

Teen: Not much, howboutchoo?

Mr. Bobvious: No I mean what does sup mean?

Teen: What’s up?

Mr. Bobvious: Can you just give me a straight answer pls?

Teen: sup means what is up

Mr. Bobvious: Oh, sorry. Are you home?

Teen: Why?

Mr. Bobvious: Just make sure you turn the lights off in your room, the bathroom and the hall before you leave.

Mr. Bobvious: And the kitchen, mudroom and any other room you were in today

Teen: Oh. I’m not home. Sorry.

Mr. Bobvious: Did you turn any lights off before you left?

Teen: Um.

Teen: No.

Teen: Sir.

Mr. Bobvious: How many times do we have to discuss this? Electricity is not free.

Mr. Bobvious: What if I left your iPad on all day and the battery was drained when you got home?

Teen: I’d plug it in. I guess.

Mr. Bobvious: Anyway.

Teen: Dad, I’m just a teen. Teens aren’t wired to turn stuff off.

Mr. Bobvious: You know our software developers leave our computer servers on all night.

Mr. Bobvious: Do you know what my boss would do to me if I let that happen?

Teen: Fire you?

Mr. Bobvious: No, no. He’d just be mad that I’m wasting electricity and money.

Teen: So what’d ya do about the computers?

Mr. Bobvious: I bought software that turns off the computers automatically. We’re saving a fortune.

Teen: Lit!

Mr. Bobvious: Thanks!

Teen: Are you on the way home?

Mr. Bobvious: Why?

Teen: Just thinkin about how good some Chipotle would taste right about now.


How Formerly Wasteful Bob Got the New Nickname, “Mr. Bobvious”, and won an award for IT spending

You’ve no doubt been breathlessly following the exploits of Formerly Wasteful Bob, the IT Ops director who started using ParkMyCloud to automatically turn off his idle AWS instances so he didn’t have to pay for them 24×7.

Uh oh... what does Barb want?

Uh oh… what does Barb want?

A few weeks ago, Bob got a Slack message from Barb, his company’s Controller who tracks and balances all of the firm’s payments and receivables. Bob knew from experience there were only a handful of reasons a Controller would summon an IT guy – none of them good. Controllers only want to see you if something’s wrong…right?

But as far as Bob knew, he was on budget—and there had been no recent data breaches, so he felt prepared – or at least not insecure – as he jogged down one flight of stairs to Barb’s office.

“Hi,” Barb said, perfunctorily.

“Hi, Barb,” Bob responded, his anxiety spiking a bit due to Barb’s terse tone.

“What’s up with your AWS budget?” spat Barb.

“Can you be more vague?” Bob challenged sarcastically.

“Well, you’re cruising along this year at $18,000 to $21,000 per month,” said Barb, “and all the sudden the bottom drops out and you’re down to around $15,000 per month. This ain’t my first budget rodeo. I see a suspicious change and I’m on it like sponsor decals on a racecar. Where is that money? You got three seconds to confess.”

Barb rose to her feet, counting to three, and as Bob’s mouth hung open in disbelief, she proffered a pair of plastic zip tie wrist restraints like the ones he saw police use on protesters at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration. “Citizen’s arrest. Turn around.”

At that point, Matthew, the company’s CFO entered the room. “Bob,” he exclaimed. “Gotcha, big guy! Congrats!”

Bob was stunned again. “What? Congrats on what?” Bob asked. “What the heck is going on here? Has finance gone insane?”

Matthew and Barb shared a wink.

“I just got out of the senior staff meeting,” replied Matthew, “where we decided to honor you with the quarterly Parsimonious Penny Pincher Award or PiPPA. As you probably know, we bestow the PiPPA on the person who has best exemplified frugal but not shortsighted budget stewardship.”

Matthew continued, reading from his notes. “Bob’s use of a new technology, Pork in the Cloud, which automatically turns off Amazon Web Services that we don’t need, is resulting in a significant reduction in our IT spending.”

Barb cracked, “What kind of name is Pork in the Cloud? It sounds like an online food delivery service for bacon addicts.”

“Wait,” said Matthew, squinting at his notes. “That’s not right. No, it’s ParkMyCloud. That’s the one.” He turned back to Bob. “It says here that ParkMyCloud costs just $99 a month. That can’t be right, can it?”

Bob took a breath and fully embraced the moment. “That’s right. Just $99 a month and we’ll reduce our AWS spending by about $36,000 in 12 months. ParkMyCloud was just such a bobvious solution. I mean – ”

The word ‘bobvious’ hung in the air. But only for a moment.

“I mean obvious,” Bob added.

Bobvious! That's it!

Bobvious! That’s it!

“OMG,” yelled Barb. “Bob just said ‘bobvious.’ Wait ‘til I tell bookkeeping and HR.” Barb punched a few numbers on her phone activating the intercom in the hall outside her office. “Bob the IT guy just said ‘bobvious!’ That’s his new nickname. Mr. Bobvious!” Barb looked as though she absolutely lived for moments such as these.

As Bob walked past the bookkeeping bullpen towards the stairwell, he could feel the eyes on him and hear the slow chant… “Mr. Bobvious…Mr. Bobvious…Mr. Bobvious…”

As Bob sat down in his office, he thought to himself. “Mr. Bobvious. There are worse nicknames.”

Which would you rather hunt with: A Swiss Army Knife, or a spear? (Cloud management tools in the Amazon.)

cloud management in the amazonImagine you’re hunting in the Amazonian jungle. As you prowl through the trees, you spot the yellow eyes of your prey – a jaguar.

You have two weapons in your kit. One is a multi-purpose Swiss Army Knife, useful throughout the campsite, but limited in effectiveness. The other is a spear, designed specifically for the hunt. Which do you have in hand when you attack?