0 comments on “Sunshower Platform 6/4 Release Notes”

Sunshower Platform 6/4 Release Notes

We pushed out another update to the Sunshower platform yesterday.

On the Back End

We upgraded from Java 9 to Java 12 and from WildFly 14 to 16. As part of this, we also moved our L2 cache from Ignite to Infinispan. (We love Ignite, and are still using it for other things, but there was a memory leak in the version of Hibernate we were using, and Ignite was preventing us from upgrading).

On the Front End

When you come into your system and we don’t have your optimizations ready to go, you’ll now see a big refresh button. You can also rerun the optimization at any time by hitting the refresh button in the upper right:

Refreshing the optimization is more obvious
No optimization results ready to go? Push the button!

The optimization summary now lists instances by current machine price, descending. It is currently paged, so users with more than 12 instances can expect to see some new navigation:

Paging at the bottom of the summary
Pages and pages of lovely optimization goodness

You’ll also see a little green trophy by any instances that are fully optimized. Good luck, and get optimizing!

Up Next

The next release will contain enhancements related to regions: support for limiting optimization recommendations by region, as well as the ability to group and view infrastructure by region. As always, please let us know any feature requests.

0 comments on “The Big Three: Comparing AWS, Azure and Google Cloud for Computing”

The Big Three: Comparing AWS, Azure and Google Cloud for Computing

If you’ve heard of cloud computing at all, you’ve heard of Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. Between the three of them, they’ll be raking in over $50 billion in 2019. If you’re on the cloud, chances are good you’re using at least one of them.

The latest RightScale State of the Cloud Report pegs AWS adoption at 61%, Azure at 52% and Google Cloud at 19% (see the purple above). What’s more, almost all respondents (as denoted in blue) were experimenting with or planned to use one of the top three clouds. Which, if you math that up, means that 84% of respondents are going to be using AWS at some point, 77% will be using Azure and 55% will be using Google Cloud.

AWS, Azure & GCP market share

Multi-cloud strategies are definitively A Thing, contrary to some folks’ opinions and the overwhelming one-cloud-to-rule-them-all desire of AWS. So it’s worth comparing them. On a broad level, AWS rocks and rolls with capabilities set to lock you into their cloud, while Azure’s great for enterprises and Google Cloud’s your go-to if you want to do AI. But, as with all things, there’s more to it than that, and it’s not just where you can get the best cloud credit deals.

2 comments on “Everything is a Data Problem”

Everything is a Data Problem

You wouldn’t think that the primary issue with optimizing cloud computing workloads would be getting good data. Figuring out math problems (hello, integer-constrained programming) worthy of a dissertation, sure. Writing a distributed virtual machine, maybe. Getting good data about a workload to run against good data about what the viable machines to put it on are? Not so much.

Well, you would be wrong. While the majority of the IP is in said math problems, the majority of the WORK is in the data — getting it and cleaning it up. And the data problem alone is enough to make you realize why everyone just picks an instance size and rolls with it until it doesn’t work anymore.

Last week we started the work to expand our platform from AWS-only to Azure. One of the first steps to that is what we call a “catalog”: a listing of all the possible virtual machine sizes across all possible regions with all of their pricing information (because, of course, pricing and availability vary). You would hope that this sort of catalog would be readily accessible from a cloud service provider (CSP). At the moment, the state-of-the-art is the work of many open-source contributors working together to scrape different CSP sets of documentation.

For AWS, we love ec2instances.info for this information, though we still had to get all of the region information in less savory ways. Different folks have attempted to do similar things for Azure, but Azure doesn’t make it easy. Pricing is different across Linux and Windows, because of course it is, but the information they give you when trying to look at pricing is missing some bits:

Screenshot comparing B-Series instances on Azure

1 comment on “How We Optimize Based on Resource Utilization Data”

How We Optimize Based on Resource Utilization Data

We frequently get asked what makes our AWS cost optimization so good. AWS cost management feels like it should be easy, and we talk to a lot of folks who think they’ve done a good job of it. The fact is, we’ve yet to see anyone who’s not wasting at least 40% of their EC2 bill. Let’s walk through it on our platform, and it’ll make sense why.

screenshot of a virtual machine report within the Sunshower platform

Fitting an Instance

It all starts with knowing what you’re actually using, resource-wise. Figuring this out as a human is surprisingly hard. For Sunshower, we look at the past month of a virtual machine’s life (if we have it — that’s our default) and sample every minute (by default, but it’s adjustable). After smoothing the data, that’s how we discover, in this case, 1 CPU (of the 8 they’re paying for) and 10G RAM (of the 30 they’re paying for) are actually being used.

In the screenshots below, you can see the resulting “shape” of the workload on the virtual machine. First, on the left: current vs utilized. The grey is what they’re currently paying for, and the purple is what they’re utilizing. Frankly, it LOOKS like a pretty good fit.

To compare, let’s look at the screenshot on the right: optimized vs utilized. There’s our purple triangle of utilization again. This time, you’ll see the optimized fit we found in blue. Even though the blue section looks a lot bigger, it actually reflects a substantial cost savings over the original, grey fit on the left.

resource utilization compared to purchased virtual machine

How is that possible? The thing you’re really paying for, in most machines, is CPU and Memory. So, the closer a fit you can get on those, the better. In the image on the left, you can see that the majority of the overprovisioning is taking place in the most expensive areas of cloud spend: CPU and memory. Tightening that fit up in CPU and memory, like you see represented in blue in the image on the right, might look like an incremental change from the image on the left, but in reality it adds up.

0 comments on “3 Reasons Your Cloud Bill is So High”

3 Reasons Your Cloud Bill is So High

At Sunshower.io, we talk to a lot of people about their cloud infrastructure usage. In our professional lives, we’ve dealt with the confusion caused by different cloud vendors, including confounding billing methods, lack of insight into the infrastructure you’ve built, and just throwing hardware and money at the current problem and hoping it’ll fix it. Understandably, the question we’re most frequently asked is the one that’s most mission-critical: How did my cloud bill get like this and how do I get it down?

1) You Forgot About Some Infrastructure

“Cloud sprawl” is extremely common, and happens when you’re running more cloud instances than necessary. It’s easy to see how this can happen—running workloads that you’ve forgotten about and unused and idle workloads are all key culprits. In a complex cloud ecosystem, it can be tough to keep watch over everything running in the cloud. Monitoring and controlling those workloads is key to making sure you’re not over-spending on the cloud. If your company isn’t using auto-scaling, you might be running instances 24/7 that aren’t always performing a necessary function. Running instances that you’re not using is essentially throwing money away—like going away for the weekend and leaving all of your lights on.

2) You Bought Too Much “Just In Case”

Overprovisioning refers to buying more cloud compute resources than you typically need. It’s important to tailor what you buy to actual usage, because it really adds up. The first step is figuring out what you’re actually using, which monitoring and cloud cost optimization tools can help with. If this process is overwhelming, there are vendors you can work with to help you sift through your options and make the best possible choices. Without good cloud monitoring tools, it’s impossible to see what you’re wasting. Only then should you start looking into what to buy instead.

3) You Drank The Vendor Kool-aid

The custom services provided by cloud service providers are tempting, but the cost can really add up. Even worse, it removes your ability to migrate to other cloud providers, so it’s hard to pivot to more cost-effective solutions over time. As you build your cloud strategy, try to avoid locking yourself into a relationship with a single cloud service provider. Don’t tie yourself to a single vendor because it’s convenient—make sure that you’re allowing yourself the flexibility to change providers and adapt new strategies when costs start to increase.

0 comments on “Save 40% or more in 40 Seconds”

Save 40% or more in 40 Seconds

Illustration of an open storage unit partially filled with cardboard boxes

Sunshower.io’s optimizing algorithms help you save time and money on the cloud. There’s no upfront cost, and our results are better than our competitors. It’s cloud computing optimization unlike anything else out there? So how do we do the thing?

Imagine you need to rent a storage unit — you have a bunch of boxes, but nowhere to put them. No problem! There are a ton of companies out there that will rent you a storage space. You do a quick search, and find over 30 self-storage companies scattered across town. You don’t have time to talk to everyone to compare prices (who does?), so you call a company whose name you recognize. You’re not exactly sure what size storage unit you need, so they talk you into renting a 10 x 20 unit, “just in case”, at which point you end up with a storage unit that looks like the photo above.

End result: you’re paying for a lot more than what you need. Sure, you could move to another facility, but who wants to negotiate with another company, then give up their whole day to move a truck and switch facilities? Easier to stay put, and keep that extra space.

Buying too much “just in case” is a very common things for companies on the cloud, too. Why?

  • There are an overwhelming amount of cloud service provider choices
  • There are an overwhelming number of options on each of those cloud service providers
  • The UIs of cloud service providers are confusing
  • It’s hard to know exactly what you need and what you’re using

That’s where Sunshower.io comes in

When you work with us, we securely run metadata about your resource usage through a proprietary algorithm designed to find the exact right fit for your cloud compute needs. We use machine learning to calculate millions of data points, factor in fluctuations in data usage over time, and come up with a cloud plan that ensures you aren’t overpaying “just in case.” We find you a fit so good, we can save our customers 40% or more on their monthly cloud compute bill.

(Think Cinderella’s glass slippers, with good arch support and just enough wiggle room for your toes.)

Over time, this kind of cloud savings can be game-changing. Just imagine the decisions you could make even with an extra 20% of your monthly cloud spend back in your pocket, like hiring another engineer, or launching a great social media campaign. And that’s what we’re all about at Sunshower.io: helping you focus on what matters — your business.

To that end, we’re excited to announce our just-launched AWS EC2 optimizer

If you’re currently using Amazon Web Services EC2 for your cloud infrastructure, our service (colloquially known as Anvil) has been specifically tailored to analyze your data and come up with a better cloud usage plan to help with AWS cost optimization. The bottom line: Our AWS cost optimization can help you save money on AWS with just a few clicks.

Not using AWS EC2? We promise you won’t be left out. We’re launching AWS RDS optimization next, and we’ll be releasing optimizations for more public clouds as we go along. (Google Cloud and Azure are next up on the list, but let us know your needs and we can re-prioritize!)

0 comments on “‘Cloud Management Platform’ Undersells It”

‘Cloud Management Platform’ Undersells It

Silhouette of one person helping another person up a hill

Because we need a snappy way to refer to what we do, we call ourselves a ‘cloud management platform.’ But that undersells it. Why? Because cloud management platforms and solutions are for the big guys — the ones with IT budgets the size of small countries, or at least small counties. Twee though it may sound, we want to be the great equalizer for cloud computing, supporting engineers of all stripes.

Why does this matter?

More and more, engineers aren’t coming from a Computer Science background, they’re coming from code academies or more ad hoc backgrounds (hello, yes, I majored in journalism). And even when they are, cloud computing isn’t really taught in schools. So you wind up in a job, and suddenly you have to figure out how to deploy things. Or you start a company, and you realize “wow, I can’t just have this run on my localhost.” Or maybe your infrastructure is in the cloud already, and you realize you just wasted $200 on an instance you forgot about. Or your infrastructure is in the cloud and costing you the salaries of three good engineers a month, and you have to figure out how to keep the engineers and not the cloud cost.

And so the Googling and Stack Overflowing begins, except half the information is out of date because things are always changing, and the numbers are almost always wrong because cloud service providers are constantly changing their pricing structure. And don’t even get me STARTED on how or if you should containerize your software.

It is in these moments that you wish that there was a cloud management system that could just do the thing for you — help you pick a cloud, help you migrate across clouds, help you deploy with Docker just like you had been with machine images, help you with cloud cost optimization.

And that, THAT is our why. Because no matter how new or how senior, there will be a moment when you don’t have the support you need. We didn’t pick the name ‘Sunshower’ because it was cute and fit with the cloud theme (okay, we kind of did). We picked it because dealing with the cloud shouldn’t have to be so dang hard. It should be able to be easy, and rewarding, and maybe even fun.

Need some help on the cloud? Visit us at Sunshower.io.
Spending too much on AWS? Learn more about our Anvil optimizer.

0 comments on “Eulogy for the Old-Fashioned: Things We’ve Innovated Out Of Existence”

Eulogy for the Old-Fashioned: Things We’ve Innovated Out Of Existence

As a kid, I remember having my mom drop me off at the library so I could rummage through the card catalog. I still have warm-and-fuzzy nostalgic feelings about spending hours pulling books off the shelves, checking the indexes, and finding exactly the pieces of information I needed. It’s a nice memory, but would I trade away the Internet to get another chance at flipping through musty drawers of tiny typewritten cards? No way. You’d have to be bonkers to go backwards and do research like that. I’d rather sit at home in my pajamas and access hundreds of sources online in seconds, thanks very much.

Innovation is a funny thing. We get so accustomed to doing something one way, that it never occurs to us that it could be different. Better. Think about all of the things we used to consider perfectly fine until we figured out a better way:

  • Driving to the store to rent a movie (RIP, Blockbuster)
  • Placing a personal ad in the newspaper
  • Pulling over to make call from a pay phone
  • Planning a route using a tri-fold city map
  • Sending a fax
  • Looking numbers up in the Yellow Pages
  • Listening to music on a Walkman
  • Checking out what’s on tonight in the TV Guide
  • Using a typewriter with a bottle of Wite Out handy
  • Checking spelling using a dictionary
  • Looking facts up in an encyclopedia
  • Keeping business contacts in a Rolodex
  • Calling the theater for showtimes
  • Making a mixtape

At one point, someone asked: Why isn’t there a better way? Then they changed the game.

That’s what we did for the cloud at Sunshower.io.

People used to think it was okay to be surprised by their cloud bill, or to spend hours, sometimes days, sometimes months, deploying applications. We used to find it totally acceptable to ask developers to become experts in how to deploy their software, while still … you know … finding the time to actually write said software. Not anymore. Sunshower.io has all the tools you need to work with the cloud faster, simpler, and more efficiently than ever before. We’re a cloud management platform that’s dedicated to offering better cloud resource management strategies and simple cloud cost optimization tools.

Why take a boat across the ocean when you could fly? You have stuff to do, deadlines to meet. Check out our beta on DigitalOcean to see how we can offer you a more innovative cloud management system.