Minimizing Your Cloud Bill with a Virtual Machine Scheduler

Many professionals in the cloud management industry agree the best way to reduce a cloud bill is to use a Virtual Machine scheduler to automate the process of switching off non-production instances when access to them is not required. Those in the minority argue a manual process is cheaper, or that scheduling scripts are more cost-effective. However, generally, that is not the case.

The Costs of the Manual Process

Even if you only use a few non-production instances, the manpower hours of switching them off and on again add up. Say it takes thirty seconds to switch on an instance and thirty seconds to switch it off again. Over the course of a month, that adds up to thirty minutes of manpower hours – per instance. Regardless of what you pay your developers, no way is thirty minutes of their hourly rate cheaper than using software to schedule instances.

Then there are the potential costs of the manual process. These include developers forgetting to switch off non-production instances or trying to take shortcuts – such as shutting down instances from the remote desktop – which mean you will still be paying for the resources allocated to the instances. So, not only is the manual process more expensive than software to schedule instances, you may not realize any reduction in your cloud bill due to the unreliable nature of the process.

How Cost-Effective are Scheduling Scripts?

The advantage writing scheduling scripts has over the manual process is that, once the scripts have been written, the process is finished and no further manpower hours are required. However, ignoring the fact it costs more to write scheduling scripts than the annual cost of software to schedule instances, if development teams work irregular hours, the scheduling scripts need to edited each time access to the instances is required in order to switch them on and switch them back off again.

Not only is the editing process expensive (in terms of manpower hours), but there is also the risk developers will forget to re-edit the scripts when they have finished using the instances. Depending on how often access to these particular instances are required, they might be left running for days or even weeks – running up the business´s cloud costs all the time. Therefore, it would be fair to say scheduling scripts are not very cost-effective at all.

Using Software to Schedule Instances

Using software to schedule instances inexpensive and reliable – and remarkably easy. Usually a business subscribes to a vendor´s service and signs into their cloud accounts via the vendor´s app. The app conducts a discovery of the business´s cloud account (via a permissions-limited credential) and highlights the instances that are suitable for scheduling – typically non-production instances such as those used for development, staging and testing.

System administrators simply chose the most appropriate schedules for their needs from a selection of preconfigured schedules, or create new schedules to apply to the highlighted instances. The whole process takes a few minutes and is therefore far more cost-effective than the manual process or writing scheduling scripts. Furthermore, software to schedule instances never forgets to switch instances off at the appointed time!

How to Overcome Irregular Working Hours with ParkMyCloud

ParkMyCloud´s software to schedule instances not only provides the choice of preconfigured and bespoke schedules, but also an “Always Parked” schedule that keeps instances switched off until access to them is required. When developers want to use the parked instances, they simply snooze the “Always Parked” schedule. This means that if development teams work irregular hours or move from project to project during the working day, no time is lost switching instances on and switching them off again.

Because of the possibility developers may forget to reactivate the “Always Parked” schedule, mechanisms exist to restart the schedule after a period of inactivity. In this way, ParkMyCloud´s software to schedule instances ensures non-production instances are not be left running overnight in error. The “Always Parked” schedule can be applied to any non-production instance, and can be an effective option to use even if your development teams do not work irregular hours.

Optimizing Cloud Costs and Keeping them Optimized

Because of the way in which ParkMyCloud conducts its discovery, system administrators get total visibility over the business´s cloud accounts. This helps identify unused and overprovisioned resources that can be terminated or right-sized in order to optimize cloud costs. In addition, ParkMyCloud also provides the governance tools required to increase accountability and maintain cloud cost optimization via a series of reporting options, policy engines and administrator alerts.

This level of governance simply doesn´t exist if you are using the manual process or scheduling scripts to reduce your cloud costs, yet it is essential if you want to maintain the savings you achieve from any cost-cutting exercise. The alternative is to repeat cost-cutting exercises periodically, which in itself can be expensive in terms of manpower hours and significantly reduce the benefit of earlier cost-cutting exercises.

Try ParkMyCloud´s Software to Schedule Instances for Free

If you have tried the manual process for switching off non-production instances or attempted to reduce your cloud costs with scheduling scripts, and not found them to be as cost-effective as you thought they might be, you are invited to try ParkMyCloud´s software to schedule instances for free. To take advantage of this opportunity, simply click on the “Try it Free” button above. Alternatively you are invited to contact us with any questions you may have about ParkMyCloud´s software to schedule instances and how it can help your business optimize its cloud costs and keep them optimized.