I bet you know how many instances you have running AWS or Azure or Google Cloud. OK, maybe you don’t. But whether you do or don’t, do you really have a handle on what your cloud infrastructure looks like? If you are like most, the answer to the question is no. Cloud sprawl, multicloud, hybrid cloud … it is hard to get a handle on this. In this DevOps Chat we sit down with Jay Chapel, CEO of ParkMyCloud and discuss how really understanding your cloud infrastructure can help DevOps deliver better.
As usual, the streaming media of our conversation is below, followed by the transcript of the conversation:
Alan Shimel: Hey, everyone, it’s Alan Shimel, and it’s time for another DevOps Chat. Today’s DevOps Chat guest is Jay Chapel, CEO and Co-founder of ParkMyCloud. Hey, Jay, welcome to DevOps Chat.
Jay Chapel: Hey, Alan, how’s it going? Thanks for having us.
Shimel: Oh, thanks for having—thanks for being here, Jay. So, Jay, I invited you on because I wanted to talk specifically about a problem that I first encountered, oh, I’m gonna guess seven, eight, nine years ago or more, and I called it cloud sprawl. Which is, you know, the nice thing about Amazon and AWS is, it made it so easy to spin up new instances and add new storage and what have you. The not so nice thing about AWS and those kinds of things is, it made it so easy to spin up new instances and storage and those kinds of things.
So, it was—it’s come to the point, Jay, where I know many, many companies really have little control and even less insight into what they’re actually spending on, and what they actually have in terms of assets in the cloud. You know, and for anyone who’s gotten an AWS bill or tried to go through an AWS bill, my AT&T wireless bill is probably easier to understand, if you can believe that.
So, it’s a real problem. Jay, I would imagine this is something that you guys are helping companies with an awful lot, and that’s the crux of it.
Chapel: Yeah, that’s correct. I think there’s three problems we primarily see with customers that relates to Amazon, Azure, Google, and/or even multicloud. One of them obviously is what you just brought up, sort of cost visibility. A second, though, is once you get the visibility, it’s around control.
So, I get a good view of what I have, how do I control those costs using things like reserved instances or turning things off and on. And then the third thing is, really automating that as part of your DevOps process. So, how do I automate that as part of how I’d spin things up in the cloud, spin things down, and really make that integrated into my infrastructure.
Shimel: So, and hand in hand with automation, we tend to think once stuff is automated, we can reduce the cost of it, but we really can with automation and on and off stuff. You know, Jay, and we can talk later perhaps on another DevOps Chat, we can get into the kinda technical details of how this all works.
But I wanted to focus our conversation today really at the business owner or business stakeholder, if you will, who is tasked with keeping a cloud budget on budget or under budget, who is tasked with making sure that there’s enough resources to do what needs to be done, but not—they don’t have excess resources—who really is, I mean, this is a major problem for them.
Without naming names, Jay, can you give me some war stories, if you will, of kinda the worst messes you’ve seen some companies get into before they came over to ParkMyCloud?
Chapel: Yeah, so, I mean, to your point around the business owner—so, we just talked to a large company yesterday that’s moved into AWS, and they actually had a team of people on the phone with us, I think there were five or six of them, and they all had cost management or cloud reporting or some kind of financial control in their title, even though they were technical people. So, people are—companies are putting people sort of in charge of this problem and spending money to help manage and reduce money.
So, that’s a really large company with lots of resources, but then, for, I would say, companies born in the cloud, like whatever fintechs or health care or social media or ad companies that have been built over the last five or 10 years with all their infrastructure in the cloud, to really put that responsibility more on sort of the DevOps person.
So, it’s kinda interesting as, even though they’re technical, they’re also responsible for controlling cloud costs, because somebody’s knocking on their shoulder saying, “Hey, this bill’s gone up. You need to manage this. Here’s a visibility into that—now you need to put controls and mechanisms in place so people just can’t spin things up randomly, and there’s some process in place.”
So, it’s kind of a mix based on the size of the company, for sure, but that’s definitely a problem we see, and those are the people we talk to every day.
Shimel: Absolutely. So, Jay, I don’t know if you guys have amassed any kind of metrics or anything, but give me a size of a company and kinda what their cloud bills are. And there’s probably a difference between native cloud and companies who are just starting to kinda go through their transformation. But what—you know, just so we have a kind of field of reckoning, what kind of budgets are we talking about?
Chapel: Yeah, well, that’s an interesting one. So, lots of people you actually talk to on the phone don’t really know how much they totally spend per month on the cloud. [Laughter]
Shimel: Oh, I know that.
Chapel: But they do know the size of the infrastructure, so they’ll be able to tell you, “Hey, we’ve got 4,000 instances, and I’ve got this much in storage, and I’ve got this much in terms of database spend,” and things like that. But they really don’t know their total bill.
But we talked to—we just talked to a company today with 4,000 instances, another one the other day with 7,000, another one the other day with 12,000. So, it’s really all over the map, but if you have 12,000 instances, you’re spending millions of dollars per month with either Amazon, Azure, or Google—in this case, it happened to be Amazon.
But the more interesting thing is that, what we see is like—for a really good example, we’re just looking at a company today based in Canada that uses our platform, they have about 430 instances in Amazon, and they park 26 of those, but they save $18,000 a month just by parking 26 of those.
So, what’s interesting is how big the instance is and then how much money you can save on it. So, if it’s a small or micro, you’re not gonna save much money, but if it’s a database and/or a large, extra-large, you know, the gargantuan instances, you save a lot of money on those.
So, it’s really all over the map on how much you spend based on not always the instance count, but the size of those instances or databases you’re running in the cloud.
Shimel: Got it, got it. It’s a crazy—I mean, when you think about it, the fact that they don’t know what they’re spending, Jay, and they have—you know, you’re talking to someone who, when I used to have to put a new server in would grab a screwdriver to rack mount it, right? [Laughter] So, 400 is a lot of screws.
Chapel: Yeah. [Laughter]
Shimel: But the fact that they don’t even know what they’re spending, I mean, at some point, that’s almost negligent, right? But yet, I get it. I get it, because it’s hard to put it all together.
Chapel: Well, it’s hard to put it all together, but then, you know, it also depends on who you’re talking to. If you’re talking to the CFO or the CIO or CTO, they probably understand quote-unquote how much they’re spending in the cloud. But, as you move down the organization to DevOps engineers or IT operations or director level, they may or may not know the total bill, but they definitely know what they’re responsible for in terms of infrastructure. And then, more importantly, how are they charging that infrastructure back?
So, we talked to some companies that do a pure chargeback model and they even do a cost uplift. So, let’s say that some organizations spend $100,000 a month in the cloud—well, they’re actually gonna cost uplift that and say, “Okay, well, I’m gonna put 10 percent on this or 20 percent on this for managing that for you.” And we talked to some companies that have no chargeback at all, that IT just pays the entire bill.
So, it really—you know, it’s really very similar to a traditional data center in that sense; so, just depending on the way people put their cost models internally and if they charge it back to projects and stuff. Definitely very interesting conversations when you get to it with people.
Shimel: Absolutely. Jay, just while we’re here, though, why don’t you give a little background on ParkMyCloud, though? I realize we didn’t really do that before, so what exactly—you know, give us a little background.
Chapel: Yeah, sure. We’re a two-year-old company based in Northern Virginia. We’re right near Dulles Airport, if people know where that is. And basically, what we do is, we help people optimize their cloud costs by turning things off when they’re not being used.
So, you could take a simple example of a customer that has maybe 100 instances in the cloud, maybe 55 of those are production and 45 of those are non-production. Well, those non-production instances generally don’t need to run on nights and weekends, and then we help them identify those instances, automate the sort of shut-down process based on schedules, and then bring them back up when they’re needed. And this is all integrated with single sign-on technologies like Slack and Jenkins audit logs and reporting, so it’s really an enterprise technology, and it even has an RBAC model that allows people to set up users teams, so you can do a whole role-based access control around that.
But when you park an instance, the average savings on an instance is usually between 65 and 70 percent per instance per month. So, ergo the example earlier where this company is parking 26 instances and saving $18,000.00 a month. You can really get a significant ROI doing that. And we have a lot of large enterprises using the platform—Capital One, Unilever, McDonald’s, etc. They’ve been on the platform for a very long time, and we have born in cloud startups like ParkMyCloud using it as well. We do have customers all over the world now in about 15 countries.
Shimel: That’s pretty amazing. Really amazing story. And Jay, what about you? What’s your background?
Chapel: Yeah, so I’m a sales guy by nature. So, I’ve been in the IT industry since the year 2000. I used to work for a company called Micromuse. They had a product called Netcool, so if people are familiar with traditional data center service assurance, network assurance, etc. And then we got acquired by IBM Tivoli in 2006, and I spent a lot of time over at IBM.
And funny enough, in about 2010, 2011, 2012, we were in Tivoli inside IBM and we sold infrastructure software like server monitoring, application monitoring, storage, and stuff like that. And we started losing stuff to born in cloud companies—companies like ServiceNow, companies like Splunk, companies like New Relic and AppDynamics, even solar ones and stuff like that. And what we—you know, and SaaS technologies.
So, really got into seeing, okay, how are people gonna use the cloud, and then where is that gonna go over time? And obviously now, since it’s a utility, really, we really kind of turned ParkMyCloud into something that focuses on cost control and optimization. Sort of like Nest for the cloud—that’s how we got to where we are today.
Shimel: Very cool, man. So, as I mentioned, Jay, we’re gonna have you and the folks on again, because I want to get more into the technical aspects of all of this. But I think what we’ve given people today is a good overview of the business case on why—I mean, if you don’t know what you’re spending on cloud to begin with? Call, right—give a call over there.
If you don’t know how many instances you have or, you know, are you shutting stuff off automatically, or is it simply if you’re just wanting to automate this, right? Because this is really something that, to me, screams out to be automated—really, ParkMyCloud seems like a great solution that you should be looking into.
Chapel: Yeah, it’s a single purpose platform, built solely to help people optimize inside AWS, Azure and Google. And we offer a free trial, and it’s, most of—I would say at least 75 percent of our customers are 100 percent self-service. So, we’ve never talked to them, they pay a subscription, they save money, and they love using the technology.
Shimel: That’s a nice business right there, my friend. Alrighty!
Hey, Jay Chapel, CEO, Co-founder of ParkMyCloud—thanks for being this week’s guest on DevOps Chat, and we look forward to hearing more about ParkMyCloud in the future.
Chapel: Yeah, likewise. Thanks for the time, Alan. I really appreciate it.
Shimel: Alrighty. This is Alan Shimel for DevOps.com and DevOps Chat. We hope you enjoyed this, and we’ll see you soon on another chat.