Patag cloud resourcesrkMyCloud has built a SaaS platform that allows users to turn off AWS EC2 resources in non-production environments during off-hours. We call this “parking”.  

In order for ParkMyCloud to automatically recommend instances to be parked – or to simply automate the parking process altogether – users should have a naming convention for their instances or some type of tag on the resources.

Of course, our application is not the only one which relies on you having some type of tagging strategy for your resources. In fact, I’ll wager that most cloud applications involved in some type of cloud analytics, DevOps automation or cloud management would also be in a better position to help you help yourself if you had a consistent approach to tagging.

Tagging can help you in all sorts of areas, from asset management, to automation, cost allocation and security.

While I was researching ideas for this blog, I came across a great resource on AWS Tagging Strategies, published by AWS in January of this year, which provides a comprehensive overview on the subject. In fact, I couldn’t have said it better.  You can find it here.

One of the excerpts from this blog which caught my eye was the about Tagging Categories:

Organizations that are most effective in their use of tags typically create business-relevant tag groupings to organize their resources along technical, business, and security dimensions. Organizations that use automated processes to manage their infrastructure also include additional, automation-specific tags to aid in their automation efforts.

We take this concept to heart here at ParkMyCloud in our internal systems, by applying tags based on functional group (prod, dev, test, QA, etc.) and resource type. We also recommend this approach to our customers — many of whom do use category tagging to identify resources as “production” or “dev”, “test”, “QA”, and “staging” for example. This makes it very easy for us to identify and automate the process of “parking” instances and quickly save customers money.

In the coming weeks, we will release “Zero-Touch Parking”, which will take maximum advantage of tagging. Here’s how it will work.

Let’s say you have 100 instances, 50 of which are production instances, and therefore should never be parked. If those 50 instances are tagged “production app”, you will simply create a policy that says instances with that tag assigned will get routed to the Production group, it’s blocked from having a schedule assigned to it, and runs 24x7x365.

On the other hand, let’s say we have an instance tagged “test”. We could have a corresponding policy that assigns that instance(s) to the group “Test Team”, applies a “Test” schedule which turns the instance off at 6:00 p.m. every weekday, on at 8:00 a.m. every weekday, and off on weekends.

The strategies outlined in this helpful document are not limited to AWS, but should be applicable to environments in just about any cloud provider.

So, on behalf of other cloud applications, help us to help you — get out there and start tagging, if you haven’t already.

About Dale Wickizer

Dale brings over 30 years of technology and engineering experience to his role as co-founder and Chief Technology Office (CTO) at ParkMyCloud. After experiencing the problem of growing cloud spend first-hand, and discovering that there was no simple way to solve it, Dale teamed up with co-founder Jay Chapel to create ParkMyCloud to solve the problem of cloud waste. Before founding ParkMyCloud, Dale was the CTO of the U.S. Public Sector at NetApp, Inc. where he set the future technology and product direction and managed key customer relationships. Prior to NetApp, Dale was an Associate Partner and IT Infrastructure Architect at Accenture, where he helped large enterprises plan and execute IT transformations, data center consolidations, and application deployments. Dale holds both a Bachelor's and a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He and his wife, Barbara, reside in Springfield, VA.