Workfront, a work management application platform company, transitioned from a traditional data center environment to public cloud services about three years ago. They now use a multi-cloud environment, with thousands of virtual machines running in both Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). These public cloud services are regularly created and managed by more than 200 users on more than 30 teams throughout the company – and the globe – to provide consumable resources for Workfront’s global customer base.
During the transition to public cloud, Randy Goddard moved from a traditional system engineer role at Workfront to a new cloud governance role. In this role, Randy is at the forefront of efforts relating not only to security and user management, but those of cost management as well. Among the challenges Randy faces is a commonly held misconception among users that the cloud is “just free”.
“Since starting on the cloud journey, I have been very well aware of the cost, as has the cloud engineering team,” said Randy. “We were really the ones that felt a sense of urgency and paid mind to the actual costs. Outside of this small group, there wasn’t an awareness of the need for insight, diligence, and regimen in our cloud environment.”
Workfront uses CloudHealth Technologies for governance and visibility – but found they still needed additional automation in order to optimize and control cloud resource costs, especially given users’ tendency to leave resources running when they weren’t being used. The solution would need to be flexible enough for their global team.
At first, the Workfront team considered the possibility of building their own solution to turn cloud resources off when they weren’t being used. They were just beginning to run a cost-benefit analysis of the resources it would take to create such a solution, when CloudHealth introduced the Workfront team to their partner, ParkMyCloud. Immediately, they saw how ParkMyCloud could automatically solve their exact problem.
“We saw the benefit and the cost associated and thought – why would we build our own for the cost that we could get ParkMyCloud?” said Randy.
Randy’s team started a trial of ParkMyCloud with an AWS account that contained a large amount of development resources. They let ParkMyCloud collect usage pattern data for those resources, then logged in to look at the “SmartParking” recommendations provided by the platform. These recommended on/off schedules, which were automatically created based on resource usage data, were easy for Workfront to accept and apply to start reducing costs. In fact, they found that 7 out of 8 environments could be completely turned off for at least 12 hours per day. While some resources are customer-facing production accounts that need to stay on 24×7, they found that it was “kind of a no-brainer” to accept and apply the other 80%.
Then, they were able to demonstrate to the rest of the business how easy it was to set up, use, and maintain — thereby both educating internal users on the amount of spend that was previously wasted, and making it easy for those users to prevent cloud waste.
Workfront began to roll out ParkMyCloud to more teams and cloud accounts, with a goal of onboarding 30 teams globally. They used data from ParkMyCloud’s recommendation engine to create a savings estimate, which they rounded down to conservative $200,000 per year to present to leadership – “but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it ends up being more,” said Randy.
The team was impressed by the simplicity of adoption and setup, and with quick feedback and support they received from the ParkMyCloud team. They appreciate features like a Slack integration for easy resource visibility, as well as control and automated policies – all without having to build their own solution. Workfront also looks forward to utilizing ParkMyCloud’s resource rightsizing functionality, which will provide yet another avenue for savings and optimization.
“A lot of cloud customers will realize right off the bat that proper governance is not easy,” said Randy. “You can’t go into being a cloud user thinking that it’s going to be cheaper or clearly visible, especially with the complexity of adding multiple accounts and then complicating it with multi-cloud management. You’ve got to employ tools that allow you to gain visibility into and management over those resources. Without CloudHealth and ParkMyCloud, we wouldn’t have that.”
He concluded, “This is the beginning of a very good partnership.”
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Workfront is the first modern work management application platform that connects enterprise work, collaboration, and digital content into an Operational System of Record (OSR). Workfront has helped thousands of companies successfully transform their businesses into modern enterprises that increase revenue, improve customer experiences, and eliminate cost, including BT, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, Fossil Group, TSB, and Trek. To learn more about how Workfront makes work matter, visit www.workfront.com.