We chatted with Ryan Alexander, DevOps Engineer at Decision Resources Group (DRG) about his company’s use of AWS and how they automate cloud cost savings. Below is a transcript of our conversion.
Hi Ryan, thanks for speaking with us. To start out, can you please describe what your company does?
Decision Resources Group offers market information and data for the medtech industry. For example, let’s say a medical graduate student is doing a thesis on Viagra use in the Boston area. They can use our tool to see information such as age groups, ethnicities, number of hospitals, and number of people who were issued Viagra in the city of Boston.
What does your team do within the company? What is your role?
I’m a DevOps engineer on a team of two. We provide infrastructure automation to the other teams in the organization. We report to senior tech management, which makes us somewhat of an island within the organization.
Can you describe how you are using AWS?
We have an infrastructure team internally. Once a server or infrastructure is built, we take over to build clusters and environments for what’s required. We utilize pretty much every tool AWS offers — EBS, ELB, RDS, Aurora, CloudFormation, etc.
What prompted you to look for a cost control solution?
When I joined DRG in December, there was a new cost saving initiative developing within the organization. It came from our CTO, who knew we could be doing better and wanted to see where we might be leaving money on the table.
How did you hear about ParkMyCloud?
One of my colleagues actually spoke with your CTO, Dale, at AWS re:Invent, and I had also heard about ParkMyCloud at DevOpsDays Toronto 2016. We realized it could help solve some of our cloud cost control problems and decided to take a look.
What challenges were contributing to the high costs? How has ParkMyCloud helped you solve them?
We knew we had a problem where development, staging, and QA environments were only used for 8 hours a day – but they were running for 24 hours a day. We wanted to shut them down and save money on the off hours, which ParkMyCloud helps us do automatically.
We also have “worker” machines that are used a few times a month, but they need to be there. It was tedious to go in and shut them down individually. Now with ParkMyCloud, I put those in a group and shut them down with one click. It is really just that easy to automate cloud cost savings with ParkMyCloud.
We also have security measures in place, where not everyone has the ability to sign in to AWS and shut down instances. If there was a team that needed them started on demand, but they’re in another country and I’m sleeping, they have to wait until I wake up the next morning, or I get up at 2 AM. Now that we set up Single Sign-On, I can set up the guys who use those servers, and give them the rights to startup and shutdown those servers. This has been more efficient for all of us. I no longer have to babysit and turn those on/off as needed, which saves time for all of us.
With ParkMyCloud, we set up teams and users so they can only see their own instances, so they can’t cause a cascading failure because they can only see the servers they need.
Were there any unexpected benefits of ParkMyCloud?
When I started, I deleted 3 servers that were sitting there doing nothing for a year and costing the company lots of money. With ParkMyCloud, that kind of stuff won’t happen, because everything gets sorted into teams. We can see the costs by team and ask the right questions, like, “why is your team’s cost so expensive right now? Why are you ignoring these recommendations from ParkMyCloud to park these instances?”
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