2016

Reserved Instance Management & Best Practices Webinar

Today I hosted a webinar alongside my colleague Ciaran Fitzgerald and Zac Stevens, Co-Founder of Elastera. The focus was on Reserved Instance Management and Best Practices.

We covered the following topics:

  • What RI’s are and how they are applied
  • What the “payback period” is and how savings are realised
  • Planning and modeling an RI Quote
  • Ongoing management and monitoring for maximum ROI
  • Overall Best Practices

If you benefit from the webinar or have any questions, please leave a comment below!

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Push Notifications for Chrome on OSX at Last! (Update)

Update: Warning, Do Not Enable!
For the moment, please do not enable this flag as it will crash your browser upon relaunch. The only way in then is to delete the profile or, remove the flag from the Local State file.

If you have already enabled this and Version 52.0.2743.116 (64-bit) broke it, you can use the following steps to get your browser with all of your settings back in order:

  1. Navigate to ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Local State

  2. Open the file and remove “browser”:{“enabled_labs_experiments”:[“enable-native-notifications”],“last_redirect_origin”:””}, the underlined text.
  3. Save the file and you should now be able to open Chrome.

Has this affected anyone else? Please post so in the comments below.

***

Chrome and OSX notifications will finally play nicely together. When you turn on “Do Not Disturb” mode on your Mac, you will no longer receive popup notifications from new e-mail on Gmail for example. For those who often share their screen on remote meetings, this is priceless.

While the feature is not yet Generally Available, you can easily enable it by entering this into Chrome: “chrome://flags/#enable-native-notifications” and then clicking enable. Then relaunch your Chrome browser.

Your notifications will now all funnel through the OSX Notification Center. Enjoy!

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Modeling RDS Reservations

rds-modeling-blog-image[originally posted on https://www.cloudhealthtech.com/blog/modeling-rds-reservations]

In a previous blog series, I discussed the basics of EC2 Reserved Instances, the importance of purchasing them, and how to maximize your return on investment. If you are using Amazon’s Relational Database Service (RDS) to operate and scale a relational database such as MySQL or Oracle in the cloud, it’s highly advisable that you purchase reserved instances. Not only will you minimize your costs, but you also guarantee your ability to launch RDS instances when you need them. If AWS runs out of available RDS instances in a specific region, those with reserved instances have guaranteed capacity while the ones running On-Demand do not.

What is RDS?

Amazon RDS makes it easy to configure, run, and scale a relational database in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity while managing time-consuming database administration tasks that save your team precious time. With Amazon RDS you can choose from six different database engines, including Amazon Aurora, Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, and MariaDB.

Currently the average user spends about 6% of their total AWS bill on RDS. It has become a critical building block for cloud applications. Surprisingly, however, even though RDS reserved instances can save 60%+ on the compute costs of operating an RDS instance, on average only 14% of RDS instances actually run under a reservation.

Why Reserve? (Pricing)

Not unlike EC2 Reservations, RDS Reserved Instances can be purchased for either a 1-year or 3-year term. This results in a significant discount (somewhere between 20-60%) compared to the On-Demand Instance hourly pricing. In addition, it has the added perk of guaranteeing your ability to launch the instances you reserved when you need them.

You can choose between three payment options when you purchase a Reserved Instance:

  • All Upfront
    • Pay for the entire term with one upfront payment.
    • Receive up to a 63% discount off of On-Demand pricing.
    • The payback period is typically around 9 months.
  • Partial Upfront
    • Pay a low upfront payment and receive a discounted hourly rate for the instance for the duration of the Reserved Instance term.
    • Receive up to a 60% discount off of On-Demand pricing.
    • The payback period is typically between 5 and 7 months.
  • No Upfront
    • Pay nothing upfront.
    • Pay only a discounted hourly rate for the duration of the term. Savings are typically around 30% off of On-Demand pricing.
    • The payback period is immediate.

 

All Reserved Instance types are available for Aurora, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, and SQL Server (except for SQL Server as the license is included) database engines.

How Do I Know What I Should Reserve?

Step 1: What’s my usage?

Analyze your On-Demand usage by choosing a time period such as the previous month, week or even day. You should look to reserve the running instances in a time period that is most reflective of the usage you expect in the future. For more static environments I recommend a longer period of time.

Eliminate any groups or instances that won’t run more than 65% of the time. You can calculate this by the total number of hours the instance ran in a one-month period. See the image below.

Also eliminate any that you don’t expect to be running 6 months from now.

Step 2: Run across multiple Availability Zones?

Your current instance usage will dictate the regions (e.g. us-east-1 or us-west-1) in which you should reserve. However, you’ll still need to decide if you want the reservation to run across multiple Availability Zones (multi-AZ) within a region.

One of the most compelling RDS features is the ability to have a fully managed high availability deployment. But, keep in mind that since multi-AZ support requires an instance running in two different zones, the average compute cost will be doubled.

Step 3: Choose a term: 1-year vs. 3-year?

Most AWS customers gravitate toward the 1-year term for reservations as a hedge against the potential for new instance types being made available during the course of the reservation term. However, since 3-year reservations provide the highest discount rate, think twice before ruling out this option.

Step 4: Evaluate the reservation type – All Upfront, Partial or None?

Sometimes the increased savings you reap from All Upfront reservations are not enough to justify their initial upfront fee. The table below shows how purchasing an All Upfront db.t2.micro reservation will cost $51 more in advance and only offer 2% more in monthly savings. Obviously the number of reservations will affect the dollar amount savings. Just be sure to do the math.

Step 5: In which account should I make a purchase?

If you have more than one account linked to a consolidated bill, you can either purchase in the consolidated account or in each individual linked account.

As reservations can float between linked accounts under a consolidated bill, other accounts can still benefit from the associated discount if a valid instance isn’t running in the purchasing account.

If your goal is to simplify the purchase and management of your reservations and you are indifferent to capacity reservation, you should purchase in your consolidated account. However, if you want to ensure that you’re guaranteed the ability to launch the instances you are reserving whenever you need them, you will want to purchase in each individual linked account.

Final Thoughts

Running relational databases in the cloud? RDS is a simple and cost effective option that takes the database management out of the equation. Utilizing RDS reservations will allow you to take advantage of cost savings that optimize your cloud investment while guaranteeing capacity.

The ability to easily manage RDS usage and reservations and maximize cloud efficiency is at your fingertips with CloudHealth. Try a free 14 day trial to see how you can model, optimize and plan your most cost optimal purchase in seconds.

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2016 Cloud Predictions


crystal-ball-predictions

In the US, 2015 marked the point when cloud computing matured and became the go-to platform for a large portion of enterprise applications and data. The flexibility, scalability, and reduced CapEx costs drove this paradigm shift from traditional on-premise infrastructure. With public cloud data centers springing up around the globe, expect this trend to thrive overseas. Frankfurt, after all, was Amazon’s fastest growing international region mere months after its launch last year. I predict the new UK region will break that record.

In 2016, the industry will see an unquestionable maturing of offerings, with a focus on enterprise computing needs that go beyond test environments. Aside from that, here are some other areas to watch in 2016:

Business Level Automation:
So much flexibility in the cloud inevitably leads to sprawl. Idle instances left turned on, volumes active but not in use and test environments left running all weekend are just some of the things that can lead to management complexities and massive overspend.

Business-level automation of the cloud with platforms like CloudHealth allows executives to feel confident that their cloud spend is justified and that all resources are fully utilised. CloudHealth CTO and Founder Joe Kinsella explains this emerging market by what he calls, “the ‘Complexity Gap‘ – where the complexity of the building and managing cloud infrastructure is outpacing the ability of management software/services to contain this complexity.” No organization should waste precious DevOps resources by having them write and maintain automation scripts to manage their infrastructure. Employing engineers to keep up with Amazon’s pace of innovation (516 new features in 2014 alone) is, as Werner Vogels put it, like trying to fight gravity.

History in this space continually shows that trying to build and maintain a solution that is not core to your business will quickly become an unnecessary cost center. In 2016, enterprises will define policies that allow smart software to automatically drive governance and ensure that internal rules are followed.

Security Fears Will Wane:
With limited options for public cloud-native security solutions, Amazon stepped in with its web application firewall announced at re:Invent 2015. Just as traditional hardware vendors are becoming obsolete because of the cloud, infrastructure software is heading down the same path. Alert Logic’s Cloud Insight is an excellent example security management services that help companies identify loopholes that could put them at risk in the cloud. A majority of cloud security breaches are due to misconfigurations, so providers that can help monitor this risk and provide actionable recommendations will thrive in 2016.

Enterprise security is a complex problem to solve. Enterprises need a single solution that covers overall governance of their cloud environments. Even in the finance industry where security needs to be watertight, a recent study by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (Enisa) concluded that cloud security misunderstandings are a dime a dozen.

2016 will be the year when CTOs and CIOs enforce rules for working in the cloud…and they will do so with smart software that governs the entire estate.

Already happening…Tesco Bank – The cloud was “business as usual” within just 8 months in 2015.

Overseas IaaS Adoption Will Explode:
With Amazon and Microsoft launching data centers in the UK for the first time, expect massive adoption by UK businesses. This decision also reduces some of the problems associated with data sovereignty and data residency rules and lessens the blow of the invalidated US-EU Safe Harbor framework.

Long-standing British insurance company Aviva, which traces it roots as far back as 1696, expects to have 200 environments migrated over and running in AWS before the New Year. With Amazon and Microsoft expanding into India, China and Korea, massive adoption in Asia is also right around the corner.

 

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