Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category

Cloudability joins AWS Activate

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We are thrilled to announce the latest step in our journey: a partnership with Amazon Web Services through their AWS Activate program.

At Cloudability, we have had a deep love and respect for the startup community since our humble beginnings. Along the road from our original team of three to now nearly 30 employees, we’ve worked with startup incubators, venture funds, and trusted advisors and mentors. In particular, startup programs such as the Portland Incubator Experiment, 500startups, and Techstars have been integral to our growth as a company— and the credits from those programs were instrumental in getting our infrastructure up and running.

Now that we are nearing our third birthday, we are thrilled to expand our role within the startup community through AWS Activate.

AWS Activate helps companies to grow just as we have grown, by providing startups with the resources needed to get started on AWS. As a trusted partner of AWS, we’re excited to be offering extended trials to companies that are admitted through their Activate program. With access to Cloudability Pro, startups can be comfortable knowing they have visibility into their usage while maintaining focus on all the things that are integral to growing as a business.

If you’ve been admitted to their Self-Starter program or are included in one of the Portfolio programs, speak with your Solutions Architect about activating your trial today. We’re looking forward to helping you go up and to the right!

Unleash your Cloudability data with Google Sheets

Do you regularly find yourself exporting cost and usage data from Cloudability? Now you can make the process easier with our Cloudability data API.

We love data

I wouldn’t work at Cloudability if I didn’t like a bit of data. After all, that’s exactly what we’re about—providing you with all the data you need to make great decisions about your cloud spending. Cloudability even gives you the ability to use your cost data anywhere through reporting exports and a robust API.

Therein lies the issue: I despise the process of exporting/importing via CSV, and I’m far too crummy of a developer to efficiently pull data from our API in a scripted manner. After a bit of tinkering, I found a way to have a dynamic set of data from Cloudability in a spot where I can easily compare it to other datasets. The key lies in Google Sheets’ importData function.

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The questions your Finance team will always ask about RIs— and what they REALLY need to know

If you’ve ever tried justifying an RI purchase to your Finance team, you know that you need to do some translating. While it’s obvious to folks in IT how Reserved Instances would save money, their merits aren’t so apparent to the uninitiated— especially when they’re staring at a spreadsheet. You’ll need Finance’s approval on this, just like you would have with other hardware purchases in the past. In order to save money on AWS, you’ll need to be able to answer their questions.

Question I: “What will this cost us?”

When it comes to cloud costs, everyone has the same goal: saving money wherever possible, without cutting corners. Therefore it’s understandable that when Finance sees the upfront cost of a Reserved Instance, they’ll be wary; “You want to spend more money on the Cloud?”

Explain to your Finance team that Reserved Instances work by charging an upfront cost in addition to an hourly rate— a rate that is much lower than that of On-Demand instances. By combining the initial cost of the Reservations with the estimated cost of its hourly usage, you can compare that cost to the On-Demand cost— and, if you’ve chosen the right RIs, find that your cloud bill will ultimately end up leaner than it would be otherwise.

As such, the question of how much an RI purchase will cost ultimately comes down to several factors.

“How much money am I spending off the bat?”

Unlike On-Demand instances, Reserved Instances have an upfront cost. This means that you will be spending more money initially than you would with On-Demand instances.

That said, the hourly rate for a Reserved Instance is considerably lower to that of an On-Demand instance. Generating savings with Reserved Instances comes down to prolonged usage of the reservation, in order to take advantage of that lowered hourly rate.

“What will cash flow look like over the next X months?”

In order to break even and see a return on a Reserved Instance investment, you need simply use the reservation a certain percentage of time or more over the duration of the Reservation. Using reservations correctly can save you between 30%-60% compared to On-Demand, depending on the RI type— which can change the entire economics of your infrastructure.

It’s important to note that a three-year RI may have a break even point only a month after a one-year RI; even if you’re not sure that you’ll use it for the full three years, you can enjoy a much greater hourly discount using a three-year RI than a one-year. As you can see in the table below for a m2.4xlarge us-east running Linux, the savings from a one-year RI surpass those of a three-year RI long before the three-year mark:

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Once you’ve broken even on your reservation purchase, the rest is simple: the more that the instance is used, the greater your ROI.

“If we don’t do this, then what’s the difference?”

You can predict the precise savings that Reserved Instances will generate by comparing the cost of the Reserved Instances— both the fixed upfront cost, and the hourly rate according to usage— to what the hourly On-Demand rates would cost. If you’ve picked the right Reserved Instances, you should find that the overall Reserved Instance cost over its duration (one or three years) is substantially lower than that of On-Demand.

Question 2: “How do we know these are the right purchases to make?”

Answering this question is incredibly easy with Cloudability’s Reserved Instance Planner. The planner calculates which RIs would best suit your infrastructure for maximum savings based on historical usage, then generates each of these data points instantly, all on the same page.

The Planner’s reservation recommendations are calculated with precision according to your hourly historical usage. Not only does it predict which Instances are the best candidates for each Reservation type, but it accounts for your hourly usage patterns, ensuring that levels of usage will persist for Instances which qualify for Reservations.

Of course, there is always a human component. Before making a big purchase, it’s wise to talk to folks at your company to see why they’re using different instances; for something like a short-lived project, an RI is likely not a wise idea. However, an instance being used to drive the app itself is a much more viable RI candidate.

Demonstrate ROI

With these precisely calculated numbers in front of you, articulating the merits of Reserved Instances to your CFO will be a simple task.

Whether your Finance folks are already believers in Reserved Instances or you’re in need of some data to get them on board, log in or start a free trial of Cloudability Pro now to see where RIs can help you save on your cloud costs.

The app in the past year: Cloudability’s latest features

If you haven’t logged into your Cloudability account lately, you’ve got a lot of exploring to do. From the way we convey your data to the way we calculate it, our cloud cost management platform has changed a lot over the past year— and is truly the greatest it has ever been.

Before we plow ahead into 2014, we’d like to walk you through all the updates to the app from the past year that have revolutionized the Cloudability experience.

General availability and EC2 Usage Analytics

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As we rang in 2013, we bade beta goodbye and launched Cloudability Pro into general availability. With this release we were most excited to introduce our instance-level usage data and analytics, which pinpoints sources of usage and estimated associated costs down to specific instances.

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Tighten your AWS bill with Reserved Instance modifications

Reserved Instances can save you considerable amounts on your AWS bill— but only if you to use them. If not, they may prove more costly than On Demand pricing— so what happens if your infrastructure starts moving in a different direction? Continuing to use specific Instance types in order to get the cost savings of previous reservation purchases can be crippling to innovation. That’s why sometimes, it’s necessary to modify a Reserved Instance and realign your reservations to your infrastructure.

When can you request a Reserved Instance modification?

There are two scenarios in which you can request a Reserved Instance modification.

First, you can request to modify your reservation across Availability Zones in the same Region— such as from us-east-1a to us-east-1c.

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