0 comments 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.

But, if the image on the right reflects cost savings and better optimization, why does the optimized fit in blue look so much bigger? The newer generations of AWS machines have 5G networking out-of-the-box now, meaning newer generation machines get you a lot more compute power for a lot cheaper.

Getting the Optimization

So, who’s this blue optimized beauty we recommended? It’s that r5.large that we show in the middle select box. We find the instance size that will get you the greatest cost-savings by default, but also give you our top ten recommendations.

screenshot of the top 10 instance size recommendations

One of the things we always find remarkable is how big of a difference there even is even within our optimization results. In this case, our top recommendation is $61.50 a month cheaper than our bottom recommendation. (We do month calculations based on AWS’s 750 hours.)

When the machines start to add up, you can see how the savings (or the waste) also start to add up. It can be painful to watch. That’s why at Sunshower.io, we demystify cloud computing by giving you tools to easily manage the entire lifecycle of your cloud infrastructure. We automate all the decisions and present you with the best options across different vendors and clouds so you can be sure that you’re truly optimized. We want to help companies clear away cloud confusion, and empower them to create the most efficient cloud strategy possible.

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 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 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 monitoring tools, it’s impossible to 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.

Setting Yourself Up For Future Success

When it comes to cloud costs as a whole, think about it this way: When you build a snowman, you start with a tiny ball. As you roll it around, it picks up more and more snow until the ball is eventually so big you can’t even move it. No way are you picking that guy up—he’s staying right where he is until the inevitable destruction by meltdown. Cloud costs can incrementally build up (and melt down) in much the same way. Not everyone has a full-time IT department or the expertise to be able to game the system and make sure their cloud infrastructure is as optimized as possible.

The good news is, there are tools out there to put you on the path to reducing your cloud costs today. The trick is choosing the right solutions—ones priced for the size of your company that simplify your life on the cloud, rather than complicate it. Choosing the right tools to help avoid sprawl, overprovisioning, and overspending are vital parts of a company’s survival. Make it a priority to understand how you use the cloud today, and you’ll be in a better position to reduce cloud spending tomorrow.

This post was originally published as a guest post for Fort Collins Startup Week: http://bit.ly/2SDr9gl

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. 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 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 plan for your cloud usage. The bottom line: We 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 were some solution 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 optimize your cloud costs.

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.

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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.

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 show you a better way.