Qcentive Controls AWS Costs & Enables Cloud Computing in Healthcare

Qcentive Controls AWS Costs & Enables Cloud Computing in Healthcare

The Challenge

Qcentive is a 2-year-old healthcare startup founded in Massachusetts. They build systems for the healthcare industry to help reduce costs and provide efficiencies in contract and payment management for healthcare companies.

As one of the first vendors authorized to take healthcare information and move it to the public cloud, Qcentive had a lot of work ahead of them. While in the process of building their first prototype application, they needed to take years of records and load it all into Amazon Web Services (AWS), so their users could then use Qcentive’s application to view and analyze all contracts, healthcare records, emergency room visits, and more to quickly calculate how to save in those areas.

In the first year of business, Qcentive architects simply spun up whatever resources they wanted on AWS. Monthly AWS costs grew — and all before they had an application on the market.

When Bill Gullicksen came on board as the Director of IT and took responsibility of Qcentive’s cloud operations, he immediately went into cost control mode, asking “what can we do to get these cloud costs under control?” He started with a rightsizing exercise to get some initial savings. They tried Reserved Instances in areas where they had some stability, gaining a 30-40% discount off of on-demand EC2, but it wasn’t the most optimal solution and required a long-term, upfront commitment for non-production instances.

The Solution

Bill noticed that many instances which were being paid by the hour that didn’t need to be running 24/7. That’s when he started thinking about how to schedule instances to shut down, saving both time and money through automation. At the same time, he knew that software developers were working on a flexible schedule, with some of them doing their best coding at 3:00 AM. If a developer got up with an idea and they wanted to code, they needed the ability to start up their instances on demand.

He knew he could turn them off with native AWS tools, but he needed a solution with more user governance and flexibility. That’s when he found out about ParkMyCloud. He saw that he could automatically schedule instances to get them running 12 hours a day, 5 days a week instead of 24/7, cutting cloud costs in half — while providing flexible access to his end users.

The Result

ParkMyCloud was the perfect tool for what Qcentive needed. In their first month of using ParkMyCloud, Qcentive reduced their company’s AWS bill significantly, and they achieve a savings of 20%. About 15 employees are using the platform.

In addition, new features like the release of the mobile app have added to the platform’s ease of use. If a team member needs access on a Saturday when Bill is 30 miles away from the computer, he can provide it anywhere with the mobile app. ParkMyCloud’s automated policy engine has allowed Qcentive to automate instance scheduling and team assignment for optimized savings.

ParkMyCloud was easy to set up, simple to use, easy for non-technical users and with very little effort from the technical staff. It only took a few hours from signing up to running the trial to having most of the work done and realizing savings.

Qcentive’s new rule of thumb: put a schedule and a team on every AWS instance, database and auto-scaling group. Even if a schedule is running 24/7/365, the schedule indicates that it was a conscious business decision versus something that just slipped through the cracks.

Qcentive now keeps many of their instances parked now and only turns them on when there’s a workload to run. Outside of that, there’s another 40 or 50% of instances that only run Monday through Friday, from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, which is getting them bigger savings than they had with Reserved Instances.

As Bill put it, “things like Reserved Instances look great the day you buy them, but then the first time you have to change the size on something, all of the sudden you’ve got Reserved Instances that you’re not using anymore. With ParkMyCloud that never happens. It’s all savings.”

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About Qcentive


Qcentive makes it radically easier for healthcare organizations to create, manage, and settle value-based relationships of any kind. Their tools, transaction platform and deep expertise help payers, providers and purchasers manage highly effective value-based payment programs in commercial and government healthcare.