Newvem pulls back the curtain on Amazon cloud usage

Newvem team.

Startup Newvem has some new cloud usage data that might surprise the Amazon Web Services faithful. Newvem looked at how about 200 customers were using AWS and the results show that a large number are not getting the biggest bang for their buck

Amazon is seen as the low-cost public cloud provider of choice by many business users and developers. However, it’s not easy for customers to get a grip on their AWS utilization patterns — and that’s the issue Newvem means to address.

For example, more than half of “light” AWS users — those with fewer than 8 instances — left critical IP ports open to the Internet — a really bad security practice. And 42 percent of medium users (those running 9 to 35 instances) had 50 percent of their instances laying idle. Moreover, nearly a third (30 percent) of heavy users also have let at least 50 percent of their instances remain idle. Newvem defines heavy users as those running more than 36 AWS instances.

That means that AWS may not be as low cost as it should be. On the flip side, nearly one fifth of medium users (19 percent) manage to keep more than 90 percent of their instances utilized — they’re doing well, said Zev Laderman, CEO of Newvem based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

These numbers are a snapshot taken over a seven-day period. While Newvem can use them to promote its service — they are nonetheless interesting. The users surveyed gave Newvem their AWS credentials which it can use to monitor — but not tinker with — their computing and storage instances. The company plans to compile these numbers and publish them every two weeks in its CloudRadar report. “We want to provoke discussion and provide insight about cloud usage,” Laderman said in an interview Monday. The company is building a knowledgebase using all this cloud usage data that it will post to its website.

Some other CloudRadar findings:

  • Among Amazon Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) users, nearly one-third (29 percent) do not balance their instances into more than one availability zone.
  • More than half (53 percent) of heavy users (running 36 or more instances) have left database IP ports open to the Internet.
  • Some 26 percent of heavy users have less than 10 percent of their instances idle

Many companies appear to be flying blind with Amazon’s cloud services and companies like Newvem, Cloudability, and Cedexis, are trying to shine a light on what exactly is happening with their Amazon EC2 instances. Cloudability offers data on multiple clouds and Cedexis looks at performance of cloud and content delivery networks (CDNs) for large content providers. Newvem is focusing on Amazon at least for the foreseeable future, said Laderman.

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