We spoke to Bobby Chan, System Engineer and Melanie Metcalfe, Project Support Manager, at software development company Foster Moore about their AWS use and how they’re managing costs and cloud users with ParkMyCloud.
Can you describe what Foster Moore does? What does your team do within the company?
Foster Moore is an international software development company based in New Zealand which specializes in online registries using our product called “Catalyst”. We have clients all around the world which requires us to be agile to cater to the different time zones.
Bobby Chan (BC): I am part of the Operational Services Group (OSG). We look after the day-to-day running of production systems as well as our internal infrastructure. My role is a System Engineer, primarily dealing with Release Management.
Melanie Metcalfe (MM): I run our Project Support Office. We sit within the Finance Division, providing administration and support for all three Foster Moore offices.
Can you describe how you are using the cloud?
BC: We are currently using AWS for most of our Catalyst product implementations. This is for all environments, from development up to production using a lot of the core functions like EC2, RDS and Route53.
What challenges did you experience in using AWS prior to using ParkMyCloud?
BC: As the business was rapidly growing, we started to struggle with the escalating costs of the cloud. On one hand, we were trying to restrict people’s use of AWS for security reasons, but on the other hand we wanted to provide them the freedom of the cloud.
We attempted to have manual on/off schedules for instances, but this proved troublesome with the dispersed team and the human ability to forget. This also put a lot of pressure on the OSG team, who would be solely responsible for this management.
MM: From both a Project and Finance perspective, AWS invoices have limited usability of supporting data provided. We needed to be able to attach costs to certain projects and control the associated responsibility for those costs by team or by project.
What drove you to search for a solution?
BC: Ultimately costs and the ability to manage and control them. Additionally, we wanted to pass the responsibility of management to the dev/test teams.
How did you hear about ParkMyCloud?
BC: A colleague of ours was tasked with finding a solution to the escalating cost of AWS by the Director of Operational Services. When ParkMyCloud was initially described to our director, who previously worked for utility companies, the analogy of a light switch that the “consumer” could switch on and off was a revelation. The technological simplicity enabled an easy transition of ownership to Mel’s “cost control police”. Mel took it from there and made it her own. It’s now a business controlled process rather than an IT one, which is as it should be.
MM: I was introduced to ParkMyCloud through a colleague in the OSG. I could immediately see the benefits is controlling costs and potential for forecasted savings.
Can you describe your experience so far using ParkMyCloud?
BC: It has been very good. The tool itself has been simple to use and most of our team here have been able to use it with minimal guidance. The PMC team have also been very receptive to our requests and comments.
MM: The first thing we did was establish Teams and set up a process for access to all environments that sit within each Team. The Team Lead is ultimately responsible for who has access. As above we endeavor to have all possible instances on a 24/7 down schedule with team members given full access to override for as long as needed.
What servers are you putting schedules on?
BC: We have schedules on everything but production. The idea of that is that since production is never “meant to be down”, we have left them without a schedule.
What benefits has your company realized with ParkMyCloud?
BC: First, as this was a cost exercise, it was cost savings. We then had the benefits of incorporating all other teams like development and test teams in the responsibility of looking after their own instances.
MM: The savings have been hugely beneficial. The forecasted savings from scheduling feature is excellent. The access via teams also provides a better level of ownership and accountability.
What percent are you saving using ParkMyCloud?
MM: Anywhere from 30-40%, depending on how much time we spend chasing unscheduled instances.
What other cloud cost-savings measures do you have in place?
BC: While we don’t have any other tools used primarily for cost savings (other than the native AWS tools i.e. Trusted Advisor), we have been going through the exercise of trying to actively reduce the RDS costs for our environments as this is one of our largest costs other than EC2 instances.
Do you use ParkMyCloud for user governance? What other cloud governance measures do you have in place?
BC: We use the teams function from ParkMyCloud to control access to instances in AWS. We divvy up the instances based on the clients they service and then assign users accordingly. We use ParkMyCloud as the primary access point for AWS instances, so we don’t need other measures to lock down the users.
Thank you both, Bobby and Melanie!