It is hard to believe that this week, ParkMyCloud is one year old. Wow! Time has flown by so quickly, perhaps it is more appropriate to measure it in dog years. Throughout the past year, we’ve been plugging away in our little corner of the cloud world. But how did we get here?
One Year Ago: The Pivot
Prior to ParkMyCloud, we were part of another company called Ostrato. There, we built a hybrid cloud governance and management platform, called cloudSM, which worked across several cloud providers (AWS, Azure, OpenStack, Vmware, SoftLayer, etc.).
At the time, any platforms offering “cloud analytics” seemed to get most of the attention and funding. I have, in the past, referred to these platforms as “Cloud Tattletales”: They tell customers a lot about what is wrong with their environments, but don’t actually do anything to help them to fix it. The platform we built, cloudSM, actually helped them do something about those problems. However, adoption was poor.
The fact that we were making little progress, despite our best efforts, begged the question: Were we early? Did we build something the market was just not ready for? Perhaps what we were witnessing was a “cloud analytics wave”. I figured that at some point, customers would wake up and realize that they needed to do something with all that wonderful analytics advice, like actually govern their hybrid cloud environments (the “cloud control wave”). If true, how long that would take was anyone’s guess, but 3-5 years or longer was not out of the question.
As with most startup founders we were impatient, and wanted to start making a difference. It was time for something new. But what?
Bridging the Gap Between Cloud Analytics and Cloud Control
New cloud analytics companies were popping up all over the place, so it would be hard to differentiate ourselves in that market. Both waves did have something in common: cost control. So, instead of spreading ourselves thin trying to control all aspects of cloud, we decided to have a laser focus on cost control.
One thing we repeatedly observed, especially in public cloud, was the tendency for people to leave stuff running all the time. Obviously, in production environments that made sense, but not in non-production environments. Those systems could be turned off when people went home at night. We decided to take our most popular cloudSM “global policy”, parking VMs and instances on a schedule, and use that as the vehicle to deliver immediate cost savings. We would allow people to turn their instances off when not in use, and power them on when needed, without scripting and without being a devops expert.
We also set our sights on a single cloud provider (AWS), rather than boil the “digital ocean”, and decided to make a dedicated product out of it, in a new company. The cost savings we could deliver would fit right in with the other purchasing options AWS developed, helping customers save money and contributing to AWS’ ability to oversubscribe their infrastructure.
We modeled ourselves after Nest, the intelligent thermostat, seeking to become “Nest for the public cloud”. We wanted to change the default state for AWS non-production environments from ON to OFF. That was the genesis of ParkMyCloud and the rest, as they say, is history.
The Little Startup That Could … Save You Thousands
We launched our new company, ParkMyCloud, on July 1, 2015. We went live on our SaaS application, also called ParkMyCloud, in September of 2015. We had our first customer by the end of the month. Fast forward a year to today and we have built a compelling, very simple-to-use cost control product. We’re continuing to improve our application, adding new features all the time (e.g., parking entire auto scaling groups, which is almost done). Customers love the savings we provide ($3 to $7 for every dollar spent). Our customers are truly global with several in Europe, Asia, and even as far from our home base in the Washington, DC area as New Zealand. All like our clean user interface, which allows them to see all their instances across all AWS regions and accounts. In fact, some use our interface as a proxy to the EC2 portion of the AWS console, obviating the need to add a lot of users in their AWS accounts.
In retrospect, while we’re seeing some movement in the hybrid cloud control market (witness the acquisition of Cliqr by Cisco in March and $20 million C round of funding for CloudHealth Technologies in May), broad adoption still seems like it is still several years away. I think we made the right call.
Give us a try free for 30 days and let us know what you think.
In the meantime: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ParkMyCloud!