Some people think about the public cloud is a “utility” – you can buy services on demand, just like electricity, or water, or heating. Each of these utilities are consumable – as you grow you can consume more, as you shrink you can consume less. In the case of the public cloud, you are consuming IT-related infrastructure and services to build, test, and run enterprise and consumer applications which we consume either as an enterprise (e.g., Salesforce) or a consumer (e.g., Netflix).
But like any utility, there is a waste – lights are left on, faucets leak or are left running, and the heat running when you are not home. This is why there are now consumer applications like Nest. Buildings and homes alike have ‘automated’ ways to turn lights and water off/on to reduce waste and save money and protect the environment. Why should the public cloud be any different? We wanted to dig deeper into cloud waste and the problem it’s creating, so who better to talk to than the CEO of ParkMyCloud, Jay Chapel. Here are some questions answered directly by Jay Chapel:
What is “cloud waste”?
Cloud waste occurs when organizations spend money on cloud services they are not actually using. According to estimates by ParkMyCloud (based on numbers from Gartner and others), up to $6 billion is wasted on unused cloud services every year. This waste comes from servers left running when people are not using them (at nights and weekends), oversized databases, servers not optimized for the applications they support and storage volumes not being used or “lost” in the cloud. These are just a few examples of cloud waste.
Why is it a problem?
Little has been written about this issue because most are not even aware of it. In the broader scheme of things, cloud services are still young. We saw a trend in data center usage that we’re now seeing repeated in the cloud: first, companies adopt the new services. Second, they grow in use of those services. Those two stages are obvious, but then there’s a third stage after the growth: optimization. Both usage and spending need to be optimized.
Are most companies even aware of their amount of cloud waste?
Many companies are aware that they need to better optimize their cloud services, but are only just now exploring the best ways to do so. So, with cloud waste, there is not a great level of awareness. Of course, this is what makes it such a problem. Once organizations become aware of it, they can start to act to reduce cloud waste.
What is the solution to ending cloud waste?
Since wasted spend is a multi-faceted problem, there is no one answer that solves all aspects of cloud waste. However, there are a few straightforward steps that organizations can take. First, they should ensure that they are using proper governance measures to limit who in the organization can spin up new resources, and to ensure there is one point of single visibility. Second, they should start with one of the easiest ways to reduce cloud spend immediately: turning non-production resources – those used for internal purposes such as development, testing, and staging – off when they are not needed. A great place to start is on nights and weekends. After that, organizations can look at right-sizing resources – ensuring that servers are not over-sized for the applications they support – and finding and eliminating “orphaned” storage volumes that are no longer needed.
What type of savings are we talking about?
Just by turning non-production servers off when they are not needed, companies can save 40-60% on their bills. Savings from “right-sizing” instances and eliminating orphaned storage volumes add on top of that savings.
Any real-world examples that you can share?
Foster Moore, an international software development company based in New Zealand, needed to tackle the problem of wasted spend while still giving users freedom to have access to their own cloud resources. They schedule resources to be turned off except when they’re specifically needed. As a result, they instantly reduced their cloud spend by an estimated 30-40%.
How is ParkMyCloud fighting cloud waste?
ParkMyCloud is a SaaS tool that customers can set up in under 10 minutes to automatically schedule start/stop times (“parking”) for their public cloud computing servers. This helps reduce wasted spending on idle, non-production servers. Servers used for internal purposes like development, testing, and staging can be turned off nights and weekends when they are not being used, saving about 75% per server. With this uncomplicated, powerful approach, ParkMyCloud has delivered its customers millions of dollars in savings.