On this, the twelfth day of the second month in the fourteenth year of Public Cloud, I, one Cloud Waste Killer, vow to bring down my cloud computing cost.
The public cloud was founded in pursuit of elasticity, scalability, and efficiency. It is my duty to defend these principles to the best of my ability.
I will make a valiant effort to use my prowess to pursue that greatest good: optimization.
Thus, I declare:
I Will Value What Matters.
Before killing waste, I will take stock of my resources. I will thoroughly examine my environment to find what resources are used consistently and fully so that they shall not meet the wrath of my weapon. I will label them accordingly for governance and automation.
I Will Leave No Stone Unturned.
After applying virtual armor to the resources I intend to keep, I will examine what remains. I will use the tools at my disposal to discover sources of waste.
I Will Show No Mercy.
Be it dragons or oversized resources, I will face my demons and destroy them. There is no space for idlers in this domain. Upon gathering data, I will create my policies and enforce them, to turn resources off outside of necessary hours, resize them when diminishment is in order, and remove what is no longer needed.
I Will Remain Fearless in Times of Peril.
It is only natural that in this process, I shall encounter objectors, who feel tied to their resources or otherwise stand in the way of my mission to reduce cloud computing cost. These may include developers prone to the hapless deployment of enormous virtual machines, or those who carry willful ignorance of the “stop” function. I will remain a true stalwart in my efforts, and seek to educate before taking action. I will present facts about resource usage to expose the problem of cloud waste.
I Will Polish My Armor and My Sword.
A hero is only as good as his weapon. While I bestow faith in the powers of Automation, I shall not neglect the tools of my trade. I will use the cloud computing cost optimization tools at hand and take advantage of their automation capabilities. I will trust them, yet make time to review their recommendations.
I Will Defend the Realm.
I vow to fight against the rising tide of cloud computing cost in my organization.
I vow to protect my environment against idle and oversized resources.
I vow to kill cloud waste.
Workfront is using ParkMyCloud as their go-to solution for cloud cost control, in addition to multi-cloud management and governance benefits they gain from using CloudHealth. We talked with Randy Goddard, Senior Systems Engineer, about how ParkMyCloud came at the “perfect time” and why he sees it being implemented company-wide over the next 6 months.
Randy, thanks for chatting with us. Can you start by telling us about Workfront, what the company does, and your role in the organization?
Workfront is a category-creating company with a platform centered around work management. We enable people to do their best work and to make it matter. If you think of a system of records, like Salesforce as a system of records for customer contact, or HR as a system of records for employee information, Workfront is a system for operational work.
My role began 5 years ago as a traditional systems engineer and over the last 3 years I have moved into a cloud governance role as we made our transition from data center to cloud services. In my cloud governance role I’m third down from the CTO, reporting to the infrastructure manager.
What public clouds are you using – and how many people at Workfront are using the cloud?
We are multi-cloud, using both AWS and Google Cloud Platform for different workloads — and we have about 200 Workfront employees using these two clouds.
So, you use CloudHealth. Tell us about your experience with their multi-cloud management platform – how did you get started and how does it help you?
We’ve used CloudHealth for roughly 2.5 years. Other members of them team piloted and demoed it to us. They left the company shortly after, so I picked it up right after it was introduced and went on to be part of the implementation.
We use CloudHealth for overall governance of all our cloud services. The benefit is the clear visibility into who is running what, where, and what it costs. The side benefits include rightsizing, security notifications, budgeting, and monitoring, in addition to the major benefit of visibility over resources.
How did you learn about ParkMyCloud?
We learned about ParkMyCloud through CloudHealth, actually. A colleague and I attended a webinar in which they talked about automation and the concept of shutting down of resources, introducing ParkMyCloud as the partner solution to accomplish that.
It was perfect timing, really. Just at the moment that CloudHealth and ParkMyCloud partnered and the information was provided in this webinar, one of our busiest units had started working on a homegrown solution. When we became aware of what ParkMyCloud could do, we were in the middle of looking for a solution ourselves, considering build versus buy and determining cost-benefit analysis. We saw the webinar that week, saw the benefit and the cost associated and thought – why would we build our own for the cost that we could get ParkMyCloud?
Was there any pressure from outside of your department to bring cloud costs down?
Since starting on the cloud journey, I have been very well aware of the cost, as has the cloud engineering team. We were really the ones that felt a sense of urgency and paid mind to the actual costs. Outside of this small group, there was a common misconception that the cloud is just free, and there wasn’t an awareness of the need for insight, diligence, and regimen in our cloud environment.
Our team was at the forefront of demonstrating to the business that we need a solution for turning resources off when not using them. We knew we needed to get ahead of costs as they climb and climb and climb, especially in developer environments where resources aren’t required to be on 24/7 and can be oftentimes left unattended for weeks on end. It made a lot of sense to adopt the ParkMyCloud model, pilot it, get it running, and show the business how easy it is to maintain that type of environment.
Funny that you mention the misconception of “it’s free – it’s cloud” – what do you think contributes to that mindset?
I think it’s the migration from traditional data centers in a product-oriented environment or a feature factory. The initial outlay and capital expenditure of buying hardware for a data center is traditionally the only insight that an organization has into how much things cost. But once that capital expenditure is made, the ongoing operational costs are completely obfuscated.
The beauty of cloud is the visibility into how much things actually cost to run. If we want to create widget X, we can now associate direct costs to the infrastructure resources involved into supporting that widget. We never had to pay attention before, but now we have this model where there is free reign in the data center, you get the keys, and you can do what you want. At the same time, there’s a budget associated with all of that and guess who’s in charge? You are. It raises that level of knowledge and awareness that it isn’t just dev costs, it isn’t just the widget, now it’s infrastructure that we have to start paying attention to and architecture around that.
How has your experience been with ParkMyCloud so far?
After a demo, we started a trial and put it to use with cloud credentials for an AWS account that had a lot of development resources. We let the tool model the usage patterns of those resources. After it had enough usage data, we went in to see how automated the process is to spin resources down and back up, and how the scheduling works.
After ParkMyCloud had been running for a couple of weeks, we saw that 7 out of 8 environments with these cloud credentials could be completely shut off for at least 12 hours a day. Because of that, and applying ParkMyCloud to all our enterprise accounts across just the USA, we saw that we could really save a lot of money.
How much are you saving with ParkMyCloud? Any estimates of how much you will save?
The piloting we just did was specifically with automated policy. We set is so that any cloud credential that has ‘-dev’ in the name would be turned off at 7PM our time, and turned on at 7AM. From adding our one cloud credential to see if it could really shut off everything without having to specify the resources by policy, we saw that sure enough it did what we needed it to do and flawlessly. As new things are spun up in that account, they’re shut off at night and turned back on in the morning.
Once we added all of our cloud credentials, we used data from ParkMyCloud’s recommendation screen and our own cost-benefit analysis to present our leadership a safe estimate of $200k in savings a year, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it ends up being more. Anytime you can show a cost-benefit analysis with a tool or a resource – that’s solid data you can bank on.
How many teams are using the tool now, and how many could be implementing them in the future?
The cloud engineering team was the poster child and right now we have 2 full teams. Another I am going to run through with next week, making 3 total. That team is probably where we will see some of the greatest savings.
Our implementation is ongoing. We recently presented ParkMyCloud and CloudHealth at a company-wide internal product user conference. We participated as individual contributors to demo how we were using the tools that could enable us to be cloud stewards around our cloud spend, prompting a lot of discussion and interest. We walked interested teams through all of our documentation around the tool, providing them with a short onboarding session.
Across the entire product organization, we have 25-30 teams that will be implementing ParkMyCloud.
How are you using ParkMyCloud’s automation functionality?
We’re making good use of SmartParking. One clear benefit is that you can go in and tune your settings to your environment, and once the analysis has been done on your resources, those come up as potential “smartparking recommendations”. It’s kind of a no-brainer – “yeah! turn these off at this time.” We do have some full, customer-facing production accounts that need to stay on, and we can’t spin those down at night, but the other 80% can and should be evaluated with SmartParking.
Another side benefit is that when we onboard teams with ParkMyCloud, the side discussion is always about rightsizing. We can look at the heat map through those SmartParking recommendation settings and see that it doesn’t really make sense to have this m42xl running 24/7 when it only gets hit certain times of day and max CPU is only going up to 35% – now we can have that rightsizing discussion around resources, opening a dialogue and providing data points. I have also heard some rumblings about automation around rightsizing and we look forward to utilizing that through CloudHealth and ParkMyCloud.
Are you using any other of our tools and features like the Slack integration?
Yes, we do use Slack. In fact, we had been using it since we turned ParkMyCloud on for our development account, and every night we see the report about which resources are spinning down and each morning which ones have been turned back on.
Do you use any other tools or processes in addition to CloudHealth and ParkMyCloud?
No other tools to control costs. We got started with CloudHealth so early on in our journey that I can’t see anything better, even AWS in providing their own dashboard and cloud-native tools hasn’t compared to the reporting, flexibility, and visibility across all of our accounts like CloudHealth does – and that doesn’t provide multi-cloud management. There aren’t any other tools that we have had to use or employ to get the information that we need.
Now we’re excited to be using ParkMyCloud. We were initially attracted to it because you chose to do one thing and do it well. You’re branching out now, with a couple of more things like rightsizing, which you will also do well instead of trying to do a broad spectrum of things poorly or mediocre. That’s what got us – it fits what we need to do.
That’s great to hear. Anything else you would like to add?
This is the beginning of a very good partnership. We have gotten great response and visibility into support and development around the product. I know when I see a problem and I throw it to the ParkMyCloud support team, I always get quick feedback.
That and the obvious: a lot of cloud customers will realize right off the bat that proper governance is not easy. You can’t go into being a cloud user thinking that it’s going to be cheaper or clearly visible, especially with the complexity of adding multiple accounts and then complicating it with multi-cloud management. You’ve got to employ tools that allow you to gain visibility into and management over those resources. Without ParkMyCloud and CloudHeath, we wouldn’t have that.
Cofense uses ParkMyCloud for multi-cloud cost management. We talked with Todd Morgan, Senior Systems Engineer, about how his team is using the platform to gain “sizable cost savings” at scale.
Thank you for taking the time the speak with us. Can you tell us about Cofense, your role, and the team you work with?
Cofense is a SaaS company in the cybersecurity world. We’ve been around for about 10 years, so we don’t have a legacy of using on-prem infrastructure. The company has leveraged the cloud for their infrastructure needs. My role is that of engineer and architect working in a traditional IT department, and I’m in charge of managing our resources across cloud service providers.
Can you describe how you’re using the cloud and tell us more about what that looks like in your cloud environments?
We are a multi-cloud customer – it gives us a lot of flexibility. We can make cost decisions around which CSP has the most attractive cost models. Also, some solutions are a better fit for one place versus another. We leverage a wide variety of the cloud services available today, including VMs and RDS.
What was it that drove you to look for a multi-cloud cost management tool?
Part of shopping around for cost optimization was to gain insights and be able to make informed decisions for how we use our CSPs. We had been using a cloud tool for security purposes – to identify risks that we need to mitigate. We weren’t happy with the product, so rather than finding a better product that does the same thing, we expanded our scope to include other features such as cost management and config management, hoping to find one cloud tool that does it all. The search revealed that a single tool to meet all of our requirements doesn’t exist today. So, the goal shifted to finding a couple tools that compliment each other. While focusing on cost management requirements, I landed on ParkMyCloud.
I’ve kept a running scorecard of all the other cloud tools we’ve done trials and demos for. I’ve got some winners in mind to purchase, but we’re also thinking of making our own solution while the marketplace continues to evolve. We bought into ParkMyCloud because we were satisfied with the trial, the product met our requirements, and were pleased with how the product roadmap aligns with our goals.
How’d you hear about ParkMyCloud and how are you using it?
I learned about ParkMyCloud from networking conversations with current and former co-workers.
One of our requirements was to identify idle resources that were just sitting and not being used. I wanted a tool that would help give me insight into resource utilization and clearly report on idle resources. Where ParkMyCloud shined was by making the scheduling of resource on hours turnkey.
We have also been using ParkMyCloud’s API to easily override schedules. For example, if someone needs to use a server over the weekend but it’s scheduled to turn off, they can self-service the request to override the schedule.
How do you determine schedules between different departments?
I started with an aggressive plan that was based upon the usage metrics provided by ParkMyCloud. Then I would meet with each team owning a subset of resources, looking to get their sign-off on adjusted schedules. In most cases the teams would outline valid uses cases for times when resources looked idle but they do need them on. After shaving back my plan to meet their needs, we still have sizable cost savings at the end of the day.
What other benefits have you gotten from using the ParkMyCloud platform?
Something else that’s been happening is I’m finding servers that don’t need to be on at all. ParkMyCloud is proving to be a conversation starter about resource usage. These business conversations have led me to decommission idle resources altogether.
For the resources, we do schedule, at scale the cost savings is sizable. We only have a few examples of resources that need to be always-on 24x7x365. For the majority of resources, we have assigned new schedules. Also, when new resources are provisioned, we’re changing it so the default is now scoped to only be on during working hours.
Anything else to add or feedback to share on your use of the platform?
We’re very happy with the tool and the engagement with your team.
Thank you Todd!
There’s no doubt that cloud container services adoption is on the rise. A recent survey found that more than 80% of IT professionals and teams reported deploying container technologies — up from 58% in 2017.
With this rise in adoption comes a rise of options in the market, so it quickly becomes difficult to keep track of each service and what they’re best used for. We took a look at 14 container services and container-like services associated with the top cloud providers, and broke down the main use case for each. Scroll to the bottom for a comparison chart.
AWS Cloud Container Services
Amazon Elastic Container Service
Amazon Elastic Container Service (Amazon ECS) is a container orchestration service, used to manage and deploy containers distributed across many AWS virtual machines. Combined with AWS Fargate, it allows you to run containers without selecting servers. Pricing depends on the launch model: for the Fargate model, you pay for vCPU and memory that your containerized application requests. For the EC2 model, you simply pay for the EC2 instances and other resources – such as EBS volumes – you create to store and run your application.
Amazon Elastic Container Registry
Amazon Elastic Container Registry (Amazon ECR) is AWS’s managed solution to store, manage, and deploy Docker container images. It is highly available, scalable, and integrated with Amazon ECS. Payment is based on the amount of data stored in repositories and data transferred to the Internet.
Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes
Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes (Amazon EKS) is AWS’s service to manage and deploy containers via Kubernetes container orchestration service. Pricing is $0.20 per hour for each EKS cluster, as well as the cost of AWS resources such as EC2 instances that you create to run your Kubernetes worker nodes.
AWS Fargate is a solution for Amazon ECS that allows you to run containers without managing servers or infrastructure, making it easier to focus on applications rather than the infrastructure that runs them. Pricing is based on the vCPU and memory resources used.
AWS Batch is a way for AWS users to run large quantities of batch computing jobs — which is done by executing them as Docker containers. You pay only for the AWS resources you use to create to store and run your application, with no additional fees.
Azure Cloud Container Services
Azure Kubernetes Service
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is Azure’s fully managed solution to manage & deploy containers via Kubernetes container orchestration service. You pay only for the VMs, storage, and networking resources used for the Kubernetes cluster, with no additional charge.
Azure Container Registry
Azure Container Registry is a way to store and manage container images for container deployment a
cross DC/OS, Docker Swarm, Kubernetes, and Azure services including App Service, Batch, and Service Fabric. Pricing is per day, with several tiers depending on the amount of storage and web hooks needed.
Azure Container Instances
Azure Container Instances (ACI) is a service that allows you to run containers on Azure without managing servers or infrastructure, making it simpler to build applications without focusing on infrastructure. Billing is by “container groups” which are assignments of vCPU and memory resources for your running containers, and is on a per-second basis.
Azure Batch is a service for running a large number of competitive compute jobs, which users can choose to can run directly on virtual machines or on Docker-compatible containers. You pay only for the compute and other resources used to run the batch jobs, with no additional fees for using Batch.
Azure App Service
Azure App Service is a way to create cloud-based web apps and APIs, which similarly to Azure Batch, has options for running on virtual machines or in containers. Billing is per hour, with several tiers depending on your needs for disk space, number of instances, auto scaling, and network isolation.
Azure Service Fabric
Azure Services Fabric is a way to lift, shift, and modernize .NET applications to microservices using Windows Server containers. Service Fabric is an open source project that powers core Azure infrastructure and other Microsoft services include Skype for Business, Azure SQL Databases, Cortana and more. You pay for compute, volumes, and collections used, though the complicated pricing model makes it hard to estimate.
Google Cloud Container Services
Google Kubernetes Engine
Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) is Google Cloud’s fully managed solution to manage and deploy containers via Kubernetes container orchestration service. You pay for the Google Compute Engine instances used, with no additional charges.
Google Container Registry
Google Container Registry allows users to store and manage Docker container images for container deployment. You pay for the storage and network used by your Docker resources.
Google App Engine Flexible Environment
Google App Engine Flexible Environment is a platform for deploying web apps and APIs, which you can do on VM instances or on Docker containers. Pricing is based on the compute, storage, and other resources used for the apps
Cloud Container Services Comparison Chart
For quick and easy reference, we’ve condensed this comparison into a chart:
It’s a great time to become familiar with the various cloud container services and try them out — this infrastructure model will only become more prominent!
If you ask a group of CIOs or analysts for a list of priorities for companies adopting cloud infrastructure, there’s no doubt that cloud visibility would be named near the top. Insight is important for everything from security to cost management. But cloud visibility on its own is not enough, particularly as widespread cloud usage continues to mature.
Don’t Get Us Wrong: Cloud Visibility is Important
Cloud visibility is a broad term, encompassing resource consumption and spend, security and regulatory compliance, and monitoring. In fact, cloud “monitoring” is a term that typically encompasses performance monitoring and security. This is certainly important: some projections show the cloud monitoring marketing reaching $3.9 billion in 2026, so there is obviously demand for these tools.
Another aspect is cost. Cloud cost visibility is a hot topic right now, and with good reason. Public cloud providers’ bills are confusing, and you need to be able to understand what you’re being charged for. It’s also important to see where your spend is going, ideally with slice-and-dice reporting so you can analyze by user, team, project, and resource type, and ensure internal chargeback based on consumption.
However, in terms of resource and cost management, cloud visibility alone is not enough to make change.
Cloud Visibility is Useless without Action
There’s a reason that this time of year, self-help gurus encourage resolution makers to make their goals actionable. Aspirations are great. Knowledge is great. But without practical application, aspirations and knowledge won’t lead to change.
When it comes to cloud cost management, there are several capabilities that you need in order to capitalize on the insights gained through visibility. Three important ones to keep in mind are:
- The ability to allocate costs to teams.
- The ability to automate remediation.
- The ability to optimize spending.
The popular cloud cost management tools tend to be strong on some combination of analytics, reporting dashboards, chargeback/showback, budget allocation, governance, and recommendations (which can get quite granular in areas such as reserved instances and orphaned resources). However, they require external tools or people to act upon these recommendations and lack automation.
Actionable is Good. Optimization is Better.
As you research cloud visibility and monitoring solutions to address knowledge gaps in your organization, be sure to include a requirement to address cloud waste. Cloud optimization should require little to no manual work on your part by integrating into your cloud operations, allowing you to automatically reap the benefits and savings.
Here’s a first step on your optimization journey: pick a cloud account, plug it into ParkMyCloud, and get immediate recommendations for cost reduction. Click to apply the recommendations – or set a policy to do it automatically – and see the savings start to add up.