Optimizing and modernizing to reduce waste
When starting their AWS journey, one of Routier’s most frequently used CloudCheckr features was Reserved Instance purchasing recommendations. Routier said that Choice Hotels was spending a lot on on-demand with EC2s and used CloudCheckr to find potential discounts. He needed to make sure they met as much on-demand consumption as possible and leveraged the reporting in CloudCheckr to help meet those goals.
“We didn’t know of a good recommendation system and so CloudCheckr does that,” Routier explained. “So we thought, ‘Oh, let’s use them and see what they recommend based on usage,’ and then do our own analysis because we know it’s going to be stable and productionalized… as that second pair of eyes to confirm this will be a good purchase and how we can take advantage of it.”
One place Routier found major savings was with unused resources. With recommendations from CloudCheckr, he was able to reduce provisioned EC2 resources (including instances, EBS volumes, and load balancers) from 6,000 to 4,500 — a savings of approximately $50,000 month-over-month. “It was very simple to use the CloudCheckr reporting for unused resources, idle resources — that’s definitely the easiest place to find that,” Routier said.
In addition to finding unused and idle resources, CloudCheckr CMx can also help organizations like Choice Hotels right size resources.
“CloudCheckr already knew with our EBS volumes that they were way oversized,” Routier said. “We were using the wrong type and likely the wrong provisioned IOPS. We were using io1, which is the most expensive you can use. We went through the exercise of modernizing the volumes to io2 and gp3 and that saved us $64,000 a month, or $770,000 annualized.”
Routier said that the Cloud Platform Engineering team created internal pipelines for releasing code on AWS infrastructure, which also includes spinning up said AWS infrastructure. With heavy adoption over the past year, there was an opportunity to clean up abandoned resources by using CloudCheckr. The process resulted in more than 1,200 resources removed in total: 550 EC2 instances, 600 EBS volumes, and 100 load balancers. This saved Choice Hotels $43,000 per month, or $516,000 per year, on their AWS bill for 2021.
This followed efforts in 2020 to reduce waste. Between March and May 2020, Routier and team conducted a thorough audit to find unused resources, system right-sizing opportunities, and any other AWS cost savings. After removing more than 2,000 resources, Routier estimates the company saved approximately $67,000 per month, or over $800,000 per year.
Managing cost centers through enhanced tagging
Tagging has been a crucial component of the team’s cloud strategy from the beginning. They have a specific pipeline to deploy what they need, but they don’t always have visibility into their operations.
“That was happening on the backend,” said Routier, “but we just didn’t have a good way to analyze the results. That’s where CloudCheckr came in. We could understand what were old resources versus new… by pulling the inventory and asset reporting through CloudCheckr, and that provides all the tag values.”
Choice Hotels uses tagging features in CloudCheckr to manage costs and determine whether they’re overspending. With several teams using AWS, Choice Hotels breaks charges down into separate cost centers. Tagging with CloudCheckr helps Routier and his colleagues perform chargebacks and analyze cost and usage.
Continuing the cloud journey with CloudCheckr
CloudCheckr CMx is a very large platform, said Routier, so he’s always finding new features. Visibility is one of the chief benefits that the robust set of features in CloudCheckr CMx provides. Today, Routier uses reporting features in CloudCheckr CMx, as well as the platform’s 600+ best practice checks, to manage day-to-day operations and gain additional insights alongside native AWS tools.
“I can’t look at my AWS console anywhere and have it tell me how many resources we have — for example, number of running instances, RDS databases, Lambda functions, or EKS clusters. I have no easy way of doing that right now [with native tools],” Routier said. “But in CloudCheckr, there’s a Summary Report that provides this information, so that’s extremely easy. We need that for capacity planning when it comes to monitoring our resources.”
Routier’s number priority, he said, is empowering business owners and helping them answer the question “What do I need to worry about?” The visibility in CloudCheckr CMx helps Routier address these concerns.