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Summary:

Do you know how much Amazon storage you’re using? Do you really? Cloudyn says it can tell you the real data and recommend ways to cut costs.

Cloudyn thinks you’re using a lot more Amazon storage than you think, and not all of it shows up in your AWS console. That’s the problem it’s attacking with its new S3 Tracker.

We all know that people are putting tons of their digital stuff into Amazon; The S3 object count hit a trillion in June and it’s gone nowhere but up since.

Cloudyn CEO Sharon Wagner

Cloudyn CEO Sharon Wagner

Sharon Wagner, CEO of Raanana, Israel-based Cloudyn, said his company’s experience monitoring some 400 AWS customers shows surprising things about their usage, many of them relating to storage.

“We found huge inefficiencies. You’d be amazed at the amount of storage that is retired. We slice and dice that and make recommendations that you move that inactive stuff from S3 to Glacier,” he said. Glacier is a lower cost option for archival storage. If you haven’t looked at that document in a year, perhaps its time to ship it off to Glacier and pay less.

If a customer is running versioning on its storage, all those versions do not show up in their AWS console, Wagner said. That means they’re paying for them but don’t necessarily have visibility into them.
Update: An Amazon spokeswoman said via email, that starting in December, the S3 console does allow users to see their versions. And she said that customers can use AWS Lifecycle Policies to automatically move data from S3 to Glacier.

Also, in terms of Glacier it’s worth pointing out that customers can use our Lifecycle Policies to easily and automatically move data from S3 to Glacier.

If you think of Amazon’s various storage tiers, the old analogy holds. Elastic Block Store (EBS) is your active storage — think flash — while S3 is disk and Glacier is tape. Wagner’s argument is you keep your hot storage in EBS, close to your application, move your less active stuff to S3 and all the rest you cart off to Glacier.

Cloudyn also introduced a new service that helps track usage of Amazon’s RDS database and recommend when it’s time for a customer to move from pricier on-demand instances to less costly reserved instances that are typically booked in one- and three-year blocks.

“A database is not the kind of thing that you spin up and down… If a customer has RDS instances they’re not using, we recommend they sell them back to the market. We already do that for EC2 [compute instances.]“

Cloudyn is one of a half dozen or so companies including Cloudability, Newvem and CloudVertical, that are trying to make money helping customers optimize their use of Amazon infrastructure and minimize their spend. The problem is Amazon itself is coming out with more granular tools to help customers monitor its own services. This week it came out with an email alert system for RDS usage, for example. You can elect to get notifications when your database shuts down or restarts, when a backup starts or ends, or when a failover of a multi-zone instance starts or finishes. Amazon also offers its own Cloudwatch service to provide billing alerts etc.

But, as Forrester Research analyst Dave Bartoletti pointed out: “Amazon’s tools will get better and better but Amazon has no desire to get you to use less of its services. It’s like in storage — You’d think EMC would be the best vendor of storage management but historically they haven’t been.”

Bartoletti said this ecosystem of small third parties comes in handy now that many cloud adopters have gotten over the first high of cloud use and need to settle down and get serious about tracking cost and usage. Cloudyn, in his view, has an interesting perspective because of the historical data it keeps about its customers’ use.

This story was updated at 11:19 a.m. PDT with Amazon comment.

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  1. I remain unconvinced about the long term viability of these services as real businesses. They’re undoubtably useful right now and you can provide some clever tips to users about moving files to different types of storage, but they’re going to have to continually innovate to offer new analysis of your usage. Amazon is going to provide this kind of visibility over time as their tools and console expand.

    These seem more like a feature of a broader cloud management system (or the AWS console) than a long term business.

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