I’m sure that most people have heard of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
How often have we seen some new technology or gadget with promise be used for more nefarious purposes?
For example, I am convinced that when Ernest Holmes invented the tow truck back in 1916, he had a higher purpose in mind than using them to shake down citizens for parking revenues, to fill municipal coffers.
Indeed, the Law of Unintended Consequences is always in the back of the minds of scientists, engineers, inventors and entrepreneurs as they bring new inventions and products to market. Will these products take on an unintended life of their own? Will they be used for good or for evil purposes?
Occasionally, though, something good is invented and users stumble upon an even better way of putting it to use, in a way the inventor never dreamed of.
Our Intention: Snooze for an Hour
A few months ago we released simple capability within ParkMyCloud called “Snoozing”.
First some context: When you attach a parking schedule to an AWS instance, that schedule will enforce itself and maintain the desired instance state. When the schedule says an instance is supposed to be turned off, it will be off. When it is supposed to be on, it will be turned on.
That’s great for saving money on AWS instances that don’t need to be running 24×7, however, it can be problematic when a developer needs to come in on the weekend to get some work done and everything is turned off. Or they need to continue to work late on a weeknight, but a schedule is in place that shuts down development environments by 6 pm.
These common scenarios led several of our customers to ask us for a “snooze button” – the ability to suspend schedule action for a set period of time. So, we obliged. In fact, we integrated that ability with on/off toggles, so that a developer can select a parked instance and hit the toggle button to turn it on. The system will prompt him/her, asking how long they want to suspend the schedule. It then snoozes the schedule for that period of time for the instance(s).
The Unintended Consequence: Sleep Until Waking
Since we released the Start/Stop/Snooze functionality back in January of this year, a couple of our customers have taken the concept of saving money by parking instances and turned it on its ear.
They have taken the interesting approach of turning ALL of their non-production environments to be STOPPED by default, using a single parking schedule. They then require their development teams to snooze the schedule for the instances they will be using for the amount of time they will be working.
Using this approach, these users have not only maximized their monthly AWS cost savings, but they redeemed the time by avoiding the need to hammer out a set of parking schedules that suited everyone.
Bravo to them, on this innovative, out-of-the-box thinking!