Blog   |   Cost Management   |   August 27, 2018

Overcoming Cloud Anxiety or How I Learned to Love the Cloud

I have some friends who own Teslas and, while I’ve driven one, I’m not ready to own one. I go on too many road trips to worry about recharging. I shouldn’t be concerned as there are plenty of charging stations around the country but like many other traditional gasoline-powered car drivers, I suffer from “Range Anxiety.” I am confident I can always find a gas station on my route. I know how long my car can go with a quarter tank, etc. To me, electric cars are an unknown. But I’m sure they represent the future and there will be a tipping point where batteries get better and charging stations are more plentiful. It’s just a matter of time.
There’s a similar phenomenon for the cloud. Data center administrators, like myself (I spent sixteen years with Sun Microsystems) “know their lane.” They might not be willing to embrace the cloud as easily. Perhaps it’s fear of the unknown, or concern that decades of knowledge is now irrelevant. But a lot of the knowledge I used in the data center translates quite well to the cloud. After all, as the popular t-shirt says “There is no cloud. It’s just somebody else’s computer.” Still, for many, there is this form of “Cloud Anxiety.”
When I first moved to the cloud, it was through one of dozens of hackathons I participated in. This particular event was in 2012. It was the first ever Rochester, NY Startup Weekend. Our team won “Best Mobile App” so we decided to turn that app into a startup. A colleague on the team suggested we run our back-end on a web server and database via Amazon Web Services. AWS had a free tier and numerous promotions to avoid fees in the future, which, as a pre-revenue startup, sounded great. We gave it a shot — and it worked. However, we quickly outgrew the free tier and ran out of AWS credits, leaving us stuck with a sizable bill each month. Despite our growing revenue, we couldn’t escape the anxious feeling that our bill might someday get out-of-hand.
Two years later, I participated in another Rochester Startup Weekend, and again our team won! This new app turned into yet another startup. This time, we decided to use Microsoft Azure for the backend, as Microsoft was also being quite generous to startups. They gave us three years for free. That was more than three years ago and, sure enough, the bills are now a source of apprehension.
We are talking about hundreds of dollars, not thousands, so my worries were, and are, manageable. But what about large enterprises (or very popular small startups) that suddenly have large spikes in usage? In addition to hackathons, I participate in numerous meetups and trade shows. I often hear from cloud customers about their surprise bills. Sure, the cloud vendors provide dashboards where you can keep an eye on costs if you’re pro-active. That’s not the same as automated alerts when you exceed thresholds. Even with alerts, knowing about increased spending is only part of the problem. Reducing those costs is the real goal.
If I had used CloudCheckr, I would have been receiving timely cost alerts (via email, SNS, PagerDuty, ServiceNow, etc.) based on dollar amounts or budget percentages (or both). I could have managed my AWS and Azure accounts from the same interface. And as a nice bonus, I would have been kept advised of security concerns to keep my cloud in check. Plus, with CloudCheckr’s “Fix Now” and “Always Fix” buttons, those security vulnerabilities could benefit from Self-Healing automation. That means CloudCheckr can fix misconfigurations even while you sleep. Sleep is something I could have used while running two startups! No more Cloud Anxiety!
Learn how you can avoid Cloud Anxiety with a free trial from CloudCheckr!

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About the Author

Todd Bernhard has been with CloudCheckr handling Product Marketing and Technical Evangelism roles since 2017. He holds multiple certifications including AWS Solutions Architect Associate, Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, Google Cloud Associate Engineer and FinOps Certified Practitioner. Prior to joining CloudCheckr, Mr. Bernhard was an award-winning, bestselling mobile app developer and entrepreneur and previously worked for Sun Microsystems, as an Evangelist, Sales and Technical Trainer and Product Marketing Manager for Sun’s high-end data center servers.