Stop Using Your DevOps People to Clean Toilets | A Rant Against Unnecessary AWS Scripting

friends don't let devops friends clean toilets. or waste time with unnecessary aws scripting.I have nothing but the utmost respect for DevOps (development operations) people. They are unsung heroes in my opinion. Living in that precarious place between the developers, IT operations, and the business people, their job is to streamline and stabilize operations related to rollout of new applications and code updates to support the business.

When everything is working well, most people forget they are there. Much like offensive linemen in football, the only time people seem to notice them is on those rare occasions when something goes wrong. It doesn’t seem fair, but such is the life of DevOps.

To achieve near continuous deployment for applications, a high degree of automation is essential from the time new code changes hit the source code repository until they are pushed through test, QA, staging and into production. To accomplish that, DevOps teams require a working knowledge of their applications at a system level, as well as a deep understanding of the IT infrastructure (servers, storage, databases and network), to properly marry the two.

Inherent in this process is constant optimization to streamline the process and keep costs low. They are constantly evaluating build vs. buy for the tools they use in their trade. The preference is to use commercial off-the-shelf products if they are more cost-effective. This frees up their team to focus on keeping the “main thing the main thing”.

/* Begin Shameless Plug */

Parkingcalendar-croppedThe whole idea of ParkMyCloud is to help out that part of the DevOps community, who run their environments in Amazon Web Services (AWS).

With ParkMyCloud, you can schedule on/off times for development, testing, QA and staging environments without AWS scripting for as little as $1-$2 per instance per month.

A number of our larger customers have walked away from their own scripted solutions to do this in favor of ParkMyCloud for a few reasons:

  1. It was costing their team more to maintain their AWS scripts
  2. The time spent working on those scripts, was time that could have been spent on mainline business applications (a huge opportunity cost)
  3. Their scripts provided no reporting on cost savings, so that had they no idea whether they were getting a return on their investment. (With ParkMyCloud, the payback is usually within 2-3 months.)

get real aws savings

/* End Shameless Plug*/


/* Begin Rant */

So, I told you all of that to air a real pet peeve that I have.

Imagine my surprise when I still talk to potential customers, bent on writing their own AWS scripts to turn instances on & off. It just doesn’t make sense.

When they tell me, “Well, we can do that.” Then my response is, “Does your DevOps team also clean toilets?”

Then they give me this weird look (kind of like the look on your face right now), and respond, “Well, no.”

“Why not?” I ask. “Are they not smart enough to clean toilets?”

“Well of course they are smart enough, but it is not worth their time. We hire a janitorial service to clean our restrooms.”

“So, let me get this straight: You are enlightened enough to realize that cleaning toilets would be a waste of your team’s time, so you hired a janitorial service. Why on earth would you waste your precious DevOps resources to do the moral equivalent of this in IT, by having them waste time writing scripts to schedule on/off times for EC2 instances?”

“They should be spending that time on your main business applications. Leave that to us!”

Increasingly, they get point.

/* End Rant */

In closing, please remember: Friends don’t let DevOps friends waste time on AWS scripting for things not related to application delivery (especially when there are more cost-effective commercial products available to help save time and money).  Friends do tell their DevOps friends about ParkMyCloud.

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.