Hitting Your Cloud Sweet Spot

Hitting Your Cloud Sweet Spot

Hitting your cloud sweet spot” was the title of Newvem’s breakout session at re:Invent 2021 . I had the privilege to moderate a panel of cloud experts, who joined us to share their cloud operations status, challenges and gaps. Our panelists members were Ed Laczynski, VP Cloud Strategy & Architecture, Datapipe; Shane Myers, Operations at SmugMug; Andrew Kenny, VP Platform Engineering at Acquia; Eric Hammond, from alestic.com and Chemi Katz, VP Technical Operations at DoubleVerify.

The panel began by exploring individuals’ definitions of the “cloud sweet spot”.

Shane (SmugMug) mentioned auto-scaling as his lead example of a “cloud sweet spot” , as SmugMug’s core business is to process very large amounts of data coming into the system at various times of the day. AWS elastic capabilities provide them with these core capabilities.

Eric (alestic.com) mentioned cost visibility and underutilization as mattering the most.

Andrew (Acquia) said that by now, as his operational teams are fairly on top of things, his focus is on knowing which resources are being provisioned and what are the related costs.

Cemi (Double Verify) agreed with Andrew and added that he is using Newvem’s iOS application to make sure he gains this consistent high level visibility while mobile.

Ed (Datapipe) concluded by saying that Datapipe’s customers are asking for both operational visibility (as noted by other panelists) and a solution for internal cost distribution of various cloud services consumed.

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Most of the panel members emphasized that the cloud enables dynamic implementations that are elastic and variable with respect to the resources used. When done right, this environment should be designed to react to ongoing demand in real time, hence even advanced users should not see their last stable status as their long term status, but should make sure that they consistently get good understanding of their clouds and, as a result, refine to adjust for latest business needs.

In addition, analytics tools such as Newvem can speed up the learning cycle and thus time to market. This is a result of a reduced need for “trial and error”, as actionable and prioritized information is available for the cloud operations in order to make the best decision possible.

Last, automation is better and more accurately achieved by using Usage Analytics information as a more mature type of feedback:

  • Running underutilized instances is one thing, but being aware of this ASAP will make the cost of error low and return your focus back to your core business.
  • Applying best methodologies in your cloud infrastructure is good but not enough - you need to be constantly aware of existing and upcoming issues with security, cost modeling and other operational challenges, and react with minimum interference to your customers.

At this point, Ed (Datapipe) made a very exciting announcement about a new Datapipe and Newvem partnership:

“The mission critical solutions that our customers rely on us to run on cloud services like AWS require persistent analysis and evaluation to ensure proper availability, resiliency, security, and governance.  The Newvem partnership extends our ability to provide insight on AWS environments and enables our customers to achieve an efficient, effective and secure cloud experience….Datapipe Cloud Reports powered by Newvem offers all Datapipe Managed AWS customers’ proprietary and personalized analytics on AWS usage patterns. Additional information presented on the dashboard includes: Projected Daily Cost Average, Monthly Cost to Date, AWS EC2 Instances, AWS EC2 Average Instance Count, AWS EC2 Associated Elastic IP Count, AWS EBS Average Volume Count, Total Number of ELBs and Security Groups.”

Following this announcement, the panel continued with an open discussion, which led to an agreement that the “cloud sweet spot” sits on the border between operational and business worlds. Today, both technical-operations and business management would have cost and budgetary discussions  regarding the organization’s cloud operations, and that is where the panel is seeing the gap: in previous years, cloud implementations were seen as a newcomer to organizations, while its related operational expenses were seen as one line item cost each month. It is important to discuss overall costs, however corporate executives expect to gain deeper visibility once the cloud implementation is stabilized.

For example, the panel mentioned using Newvem’s business alignment tools to support them in creating a “proper and effective” conversation between management and various cloud operations’ teams.

Most of our panelists see the cloud sweet spot as maturing from single dimensional OPEX costs discussions into the ability to link between cloud expenditures and various cost centers inside their respective organizations. “You should be able to say which portion of your AWS bill went towards R&D efforts, which went to run customer A and so on”, the panel concluded.

Towards the end of our time slot, the panelists emphasized the growing internal demand from the CIO for better visibility into both their cloud operations, in terms of availability, security, utilization and financial efficiency, together with the business side of the house asking for a better understanding on how cloud operations is aligned with business goals and which potion of their monthly cloud spent is accounted for every internal consumer. The session also included a short presentation about Newvem’s current and roadmap features and some great notes and questions from the audience.

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Keywords: AWS, Amazon Web Services, Cloud Computing, Amazon re:Invent, AWS EC2, AWS EBS, Datapipe, Cloud Usage, Cloud Strategy, Cloud Utilization, Cloud Operations, Cloud Costs

About the Author

Dan Feld serves as VP Business development and Sales at Newvem. Previously, Dan served as Regional Sales Manager, EEMEA for Amazon.com, responsible for helping customers and partners take advantage of on-demand technology infrastructure provided by Amazon Web Services.  Dan has more than 18 years of business and IT experience around advanced technologies, business and IT Infrastructures. Dan has built and led global Sales, Business Development and IT teams for public traded companies such as Amazon.com (AMZN), Clicksoftware (CKSW), Creo (Creo) and Scitex (SCIX) and has worked on leading edge IT projects such as applying open source technologies within global corporate environments.  Dan has an MBA from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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