Ep#16 Daily Tech Show: Spot ECO Optimize AWS RI’s & SP’s w/ Ben Swoboda

August 4, 2021

About Ben Swoboda

Product Delivery Professional with 9 years managing Product Development, Software, and Infrastructure deployment projects. Experienced with all phases of a product’s lifecycle, utilizing Agile and Waterfall methodologies. Worked with innovative teams to develop proprietary solutions. Also worked with vendors to evaluate, white-label, and productize their offerings. Provided go-to-market and sustaining efforts for dedicated, public, and managed cloud; managed hosting; and professional services.

Do you work with AWS Reserved Instances, but you’re not sure if you’re getting the most out of them? Are you looking for a way to optimize your our eyes or even those savings plans without all the hassle? What if I told you that I know a company that has the insight on Marketplace Gold, then you’re going to want to stick around because we’re talking about ECO a product by spot. This is The Daily Show, and I’m your host, Jon Myer.

This week we’re talking with Ben Swoboda from Spot by NetApp about a product called ECO. ECO helps you continuously optimize your AWS Reserved Instances or savings plans by purchasing and selling them on your behalf. In this episode, we are talking real world examples. For example, the other day a colleague of mine put Nico into perspective, and right before the pandemic hit last year, a large ticket hosting company purchased a massive amount of our eyes. Then the pandemic hit and everything shut down completely almost overnight, which means their infrastructure shrunk.

And now what are they going to do with all these rights? Well, ECO was able to come in, purchase all the unused our eyes, agreed to distribute them to the market or our internal customers. Oh, don’t forget before I bring Ben on the hit that subscribe and the notification button, because we have more content on the way. Here to tell us about ECO and how you can help optimize your new or existing rise in savings plans, is Ben Swoboda from Spot?

Host: Jon
Please join me in welcoming Ben to the show. Ben, thanks for joining us. Thank you. Appreciate it, Jon. So, Ben, you are one of my go to gurus here for ECO before we get into that. How about you give the audience a little bit of background about yourself?

Guest: Ben
Well, I live in St. Louis, Missouri, I have three boys and a dog. I actually worked previous to working at a spot at a reseller and an MSP for all three major hyperscale providers. I have a passion for understanding how the building files are designed by those providers, which is super exciting. And I like to get out and do stuff. I go on adventures with my kids about myself. Most recently, I played a game called Demolition Ball, which involves bumper cars and track balls with a bunch of strangers.

Guest: Ben
And they were wonderful, had a great time.

Host: Jon
OK, we’re going to have to talk offline about that. It’s actually very interesting and I think I would have a lot of fun and would be a kid.

Guest: Ben
And you probably would.

Host: Jon
Oh, and I’m going to have to search it after the show. So, Ben, before we get into ECO, would you help everybody understand the different types of incentives that AWS offers? I mean, there is a vast majority and not only RI’s have multiple standard conventional inconvertible. There are just so much. Can you help us understand a little bit before we jump in the ECO?

Guest: Ben
Yeah, it’s important to know you just mentioned some that all of them are affecting costs. Some are actual instances that are running and there’s a price that’s associated with it. Some are just cloud billing constructs. How a customer’s bill depends on what is being applied at the time by eight of us or other hyperscale providers. A user can log into a console they could spin up and easy to instance, and they pay the OnDemand price just did it on demand for OnDemand instances.

Guest: Ben
You get invoiced for the hours of usage. This can’t be a good solution and cost effective if the user plans to only use it here or there. But sometimes you want to run things long term. But that’s where reservations get involved a little bit. Don’t talk about that just a second. The advantage of an On-Demand instance is convenience, but the disadvantages that it’s the highest cost of all of the different options that you have for a discount. A user can trade off some convenience.

Guest: Ben
They could do spot instances which are unused instances AWS puts out for bidding. So you pick your price, but you may not pick the time. It could be inconvenient unless you know how to use spot products, which that’s probably a different conversation with the different product owner somewhere, because AWS can take away those instances if they see a higher bidder for it. And then back to the commitment pricing. If you expect long term usage of a service and don’t want to pay on demand prices, you could get a reserved instance, which isn’t actually an instance.

Guest: Ben
It’s a it’s a commitment for which discounts are applied in trade for one to three year commitment. And they assume that there’s that steady state usage and you pay for it regardless of whether or not there’s an odd bad instance or not. Hopefully there is. That way you’re getting a significant discount. Otherwise there’s an opportunity for waste, like our eyes, saving plans or commitments. But they can cover more than just one type of service. Unlike our savings, plans cannot be sold on the AWS or marketplace, which makes them a little bit inflexible.

Host: Jon
First, I’ve got to say, you’ve mentioned about if you’re familiar with other spot products, if you’re interested in learning more about a class, a group which then was willing to take a look up here now, then I first of all, I thank you for giving us a little bit of backstory on. You’re not really touching or having that instance. It’s just how it’s built or the construct to it. And now that you helped everybody understand, our eyes reserve into savings plans, time to jump into what is ECO.

Host: Jon
I mean, really, why does Bob put together a comprehensive product like it and how can it help me in my environment?

Guest: Ben
Sure. So one of the things that, like you said, it’s very important is that ECO doesn’t actually touch the resources. It is touching those commitments. It is engaging in financial constructs. So no resources are ever in danger. And that’s really true whether or not ECO is involved. But the management of that economy surrounding those commitments can get very, very complicated. So we do a lot of things that the customer cannot do for themselves. At most.

Guest: Ben
We hope that a customer will be engaged with us and about it for about five minute review per month and not necessarily scheduling a meeting with with ECO. But what they’re doing is maybe looking at the invoice, looking at the ECO dashboard, confirming that everything is on the up and up and then moving on instead of spending hours and hours and hours kind of diving into it. What we’re doing is we are working constantly to provide the most savings for the customer and the least commitment.

Guest: Ben
And probably we’ll talk about that more later on down the line. We work with the customer guided strategies because as predictive as we want to be, what the customer has in their head is always more important because they might have a plan about what they’re going to be doing with their the resources. The Super Bowl might be coming and everything is going to spike, but we can’t always predict that unless the customer tells us that’s coming. And what we’re actively looking for is a hybrid portfolio of commitments, reservations and savings plans.

Guest: Ben
But we’re especially looking for something that we like to call our marketplace gold, where we are utilizing US’s ability to buy and sell underused or partially used reservations like the Bargain Barn. And we’re going to buy a little bit here, a little bit there. I’m going to put it all together. And it won’t be thrift store savings, but it’s going to be like premium savings, because if you buy a straight up our eyes, you’re not able to make the combinations that we’re able to.

Guest: Ben
And then we have our own internal all right marketplace, which means we understand our own customer’s usage and some of their struggles. And sometimes one customer struggle can be another person’s strength or surplus, if you will, and we can help broker some deals between them so that our eyes move it to the right place. And lastly, we have something called Flex, which allows us to shift some commitments around in a way that’s very, very creative.

Host: Jon
OK, so in the beginning there, you talked about the customer strategy, what’s in their head, and we talk to the customer and that sounds to me customer obsessed all the way. What we decide versus what they decide, what’s going on and what’s happening. Now, you did mention about providing the most savings with the lease commitments. Really? How is that achieve?

Guest: Ben
Well. If they want the most savings with the least commitment, we’re going to use the marketplace. For one thing, ECO is one of the biggest users of the marketplace on behalf of our customers, we could trade out wasteful reservations that aren’t being utilized for different ones that have been posted for cheaper prices. So let’s say I have purchased a reservation and I thought it was a good purchase. And I find out that my operations team totally spun down the entire environment that I purchased this reservation for.

Guest: Ben
I’m I’m hung with this reservation that I’m making payments on. But the month of month, the month, I don’t want to hang on to that. That’s waste. So I’m going to put it in the marketplace. And depending on how quickly it moves, it’s like Craigslist, right? I might start dropping the price drop at the price drop in the price. And Eco’s going to watch that. And they’re going to be the first to pounce because we’re constantly looking for the biggest deals.

Guest: Ben
But by the time they purchase it, it’s no longer a three year commitment. Maybe it took me a while to get the deal sold. So they’re going to buy at bargain basement prices, something that might only be for a few months worth of commitment. And we can take several of those small marketplace gold type commitments and put them together into something that really fits the customers of our.

Host: Jon
All right, now, Ben, you mentioned the term marketplace gold, is that a spot coined term, I’m going to say an internal term and really help the audience understand the definition of marketplace gold. And you’ve kind of walk us through how we’re finding some of those awesome opportunities. I mean, we’re constantly looking at it. We’re constantly trying to evaluate and grab those we’re grabbing. Maybe there is an R.I that’s out there that you purchased, maybe a customer purchase for three years.

Host: Jon
But guess what, I’m not using anymore. And I got off load. This is costing me money. Well, guess what, now you’ve got a less term, you’ve got less money spent and we can take a grouping of those and move them around to customers. Is that what I’m hearing?

Guest: Ben
That’s exactly right. We’ve done that for customers before where maybe a customer only needed to use a reservation for a few months, have been able to provide that that three year sort of commitment value to them without a whole lot of investment. Like imagine that you just are going to get three months or so of a three year. All right. That’s that’s a lot of money that you could have. Good. If you just bought a one year commitment or something like that, you would have had to worry about paying that one year price and then you’d have to unload your unused portion in the marketplace.

Guest: Ben
This gives you a lot of flexibility and it’s cheap.

Host: Jon
OK, now, how often does E scan the marketplace, I mean, to get these values, to get this marketplace gold, I mean, really, I’m a customer, I’m always monitoring watch it. But what is he doing that I can’t do?

Guest: Ben
Well, you’re asking me a little bit about the secret was the source, but we are OK without giving away too much of the secret.

Guest: Ben
I’ll speak and I’ll speak in vague talk here. But I think we’re constantly scanning and we’re scanning it with lots of eyes. And that is in my eyes, you can interpret that anywhere you want to, but we utilize the AWS marketplace more than any other user that’s out there. If there is a deal that’s out there, we see it before anybody else.

Host: Jon
Nice, nice. Now, not only there’s a marketplace, do we have like an ECO internal marketplace for customers that we’re utilizing?

Guest: Ben
We have a lot of customers and we have a lot of insights into what it is that they’re doing the way.

Host: Jon
Well, you said inside. It’s just that I was pretty good. Far back to that was totally intended to some customers make big purchases on reservations that are hard to move in the marketplace so they might get stuck with them. So we’re going to make connections between customers based on the strategies usage which allow both to benefit from the transaction. We’ve had customers that had entire accounts full of reservations and we were able to quickly move them from one customer to the other without either of them really looking on the marketplace at all.

Host: Jon
It’s it’s a real benefit for both sides.

Host: Jon
Interesting. Now, real quick, everybody, hang tight at the end here. Ben and I are going to play the T rex game. Originally I was like, then we’re going to play then the kick of this. I was like, oh, I’m not sure. Imbeds like, man, I was practicing. I heard you’re undefeated and I challenge. And so guess what, I’m adding it back into the show. Oh, he’s cracking the knuckles are.

Host: Jon
I think I’ve got some competition coming up.

Guest: Ben
Well, I definitely won’t joke. That is definitely not going to happen.

Host: Jon
OK, so then I know AECO has a product called ECO for me. He what MSP what is it. Know for me, I came from I have a unique experience working with an MSP a couple of years ago and I, I found out that there was a lot of value in understanding how it works behind the scenes. How does Go MSP work and how does it help the needs of an MSP?

Guest: Ben
Sure. Well, we have that experience in common. And based upon what you saw, you know that it takes a lot of manpower to build and maintain a proper building feet. How does it work? We’re consuming the cost of usage report from eight of us. That might be the reseller MSPs master payer or managed. Was it the management account? Now you got the nice words. So we are then taking that and we are distributing it to the reseller MSPs and customers and what we’re calling subsets.

Guest: Ben
Or it could be internal departments that we’re distributing it to. We’re passing it through layers of logic and through those layers of logic you can or the the MSP or the Enterprise can choose to pass on the savings that ICO has provided either as a pass through or they can choose not to pass it on. They could take the savings and then they could charge downstream whatever they want. And so we are able to process all that for them. We’re able to ensure that all of the billing is then validated.

Guest: Ben
They can they can review what they have set up from a billing workflow standpoint against whatever reporting they’ve already established against us, the at cost explorer. And then when they’re ready to go, they could turn it on for their customers. They could balance their invoice versus what they see in our cloud analyzer console. So we provide the ability to do turnkey billing rules that we’ve based on best practices and market trends, all based upon the curve, which can help a customer to get margin fast or just to allow for fair accounting practices for backfilling if the enterprise is using it.

Host: Jon
Talk about value and a lot of time and cost savings for an MSP, we’re handling the bulk of the workload, the validation, the reports here. You click a button and you send it downstream or you give them what you need. Here it is. What the cost. Before I touch on the cloud analyzer, I want to talk about ego in general. How often are we analyzing a customer’s account for more savings or commitments for their environment?

Guest: Ben
Sure. So we’re constantly looking at their environment like hundreds of times a day. We’re leveraging whatever APIs are available, looking at their usage we’re looking at. Yeah, whatever resources that they have signed up with us for us to manage all the commitments, but. We can only update our billing data, the data as often as A.W. US updated, which is about one to three times a day.

Host: Jon
OK, do you have an average on maybe some how often we’re making changes or these commitments? And remember, it’s not actual physical changes to the infrastructure or the environment, it changes to the financials and everything behind the scenes. Do you have any like how many times a day we might be making a change or a commitment in order to do a lot of cost savings for customers making transactions, either sitting in our eye or exchanging it or buying one?

Host: Jon
Yeah, I just imagine that this is constantly happening because environments are changing, customers are changing. One customer needs to translate to another, customers ones. And we move things around in order to get the most cost savings. But I really want your perspective on it.

Guest: Ben
Well, Eco’s going to evaluate whether or not to make a change in a customer’s environment thousands of times a day. Like it’s going to look at every single reservation, every single instance, and it’s going to compare it to every opportunity that’s out there, whether, yeah, it’s it’s a constantly evolving landscape. And then as far as how many transactions are taking on a particular day, it could be zero because there may not have been a better opportunity out there within the marketplace.

Guest: Ben
But if all of a sudden we see that there is a an opportunity with our ally where you’ve got perhaps a bunch of reservations, the customer has already that we could quickly purchase one hundred reservations from the marketplace and list on the marketplace, all 100 that they had already purchased because the price of commitment is better over here. We’ll do that. So it’s it’s really difficult for me to say, you know, between zero and a thousand, it’s really depends on the customer’s environment.

Host: Jon
I cannot imagine one person, two, three, four, even five people trying to do this for one company that has thousands of our savings plans, commitments to just analyze everything, it totally blows my mind on how well we’re handling this for all our customers and how much cost savings we’re doing for them. I just I can’t imagine one person doing it.

Guest: Ben
I hope no one has to know.

Host: Jon
I can see a lot of spreadsheets in their future.

Guest: Ben
I’ve seen a bit of part. Yes, I’ve seen those spreadsheets before and I have heard people whose jobs that were event there. They have hard jobs ahead of them. It’s an impossible task. There’s always a way to do it better. And we’re trying our best to do it the best of the market.

Host: Jon
OK, Ben, that that was really some really awesome information, but here’s a tough question. What if I’ve already purchased savings plans in the past or have existing Kynikos still help me?

Guest: Ben
That depends on how much room there is to work with. But typically, from what we’ve seen there, the answer is yes. Savings plans from our perspective can be a big bit risky. They can’t be offloaded like our eyes can in the marketplace, which means if your usage goes away, you are still paying on a savings plan or if you paid all upfront on a savings plan, it’s waste. Right? But there have been situations where equal savings in other areas or help the customers get creative with dealing with their savings plan.

Guest: Ben
Lockette, that again is some part of the ECO secret source, so I hesitate to share too much. Thank you, Jon. Thank you.

Host: Jon
Yeah, don’t worry. We’re going to move on. We won’t give any secrets away because I think ego is special and unique out there in the environment. I have an example, a real live customer example that I’d like to share with you now. We had to do an analysis on their environment and they came back with easy to workload’s with an estimated cost savings on the low end of three hundred and ten thousand dollars and on the high end, five hundred and ten thousand.

Host: Jon
Is that immediate savings? Is it spread out monthly? Three hundred divided by twelve. I get my money. How does that really work or how does how does the customer realize. OK, on the low end. Three hundred and ten on the high end. Five fifty. I mean. Sure. Where do they see it.

Guest: Ben
OK, so that’s a great question. I’m glad you asked it. First of all, those low, high end sort of ranges are probably related to the ranges associated with one and three year reservations. Probably what we’re trying to do is find something in the middle and that’s usually what the marketplace can help us obtain. Remember, we don’t want to lock our customers into really high commitments. So going all in on through your reservations can be a little risky.

Guest: Ben
But to answer the other half of your questions, you can provide those savings. Some customers might take a little more than others to get there on a monthly basis. You talked about the the three ten divided by twelve. Yes, that’s the goal. ICO manages a hybrid profile and I talked about earlier an ever changing landscape because some customers. Instances might be I’ll just call them exotic, it’s sometimes better to get started sooner than later because it could be some ramp up time.

Guest: Ben
So some customers have found like they’ve hesitated, hesitated whether or not to get started. And it really worked to their disadvantage because they missed out on a lot of opportunity. It’s not something you flip a switch and like, oh, my gosh, I’ve just saved billions of dollars today. It doesn’t really work like that. It can’t.

Host: Jon
You mentioned the ramp up time. What is the traditional ramp up time when I start realizing some savings are some significant savings? I mean, sure, granted, we’d all like to flip that switch and get those millions of dollars in savings. But is it one to week or two to realize it in a month? And the sooner I do it, the sooner that it will hit and I’ll start to realize, yeah.

Guest: Ben
So there will be customers that recognize savings right away. And then as I mentioned, sometimes there are challenges. I think four to six weeks is typically what we’re saying that is going to end up being for most of our customers to reach most of their savings potential. But we’re always looking to get more for our customers. And it’s important that we are constantly watching their environment because, like I said, there’s always spikes and we can always fit something into those.

Host: Jon
All right, all right, Ben, my last question before we get the T rex here, you mentioned cloud analyzer and that the console lines up with it. What is. Does it provide a easier way of looking at the spilling console? And I chose my words wisely. And, you know, I know it’s easy to use. It helps customers understand or utilization, but let’s help everybody understand what cloud analyzer is and why we should just look it up.

Guest: Ben
Sure. It’s free. Anybody can use it. You just have to have NATO behind me. I’m ready. Yeah, you’re welcome. I’ll say it provides a lot of the same data you already find in your council. But we feel like we were providing a quicker and in fact, we just made an update today that I saw it load data for a very, very large customer within one point five seconds so that it was jaw dropping. And it provides.

Guest: Ben
Yeah, that the way that we positioned the data is very user friendly within our spend analysis tool. Additionally, shows ways to optimize your environment, leveraging spot platform products like Echo, like elastic groups like Ocean, all great products. But you could log in, set up with cloud analyzer and have zero idea how you’re going to be using spot next. And this will help you. This will give you an idea of which accounts to target or which products to target.

Guest: Ben
It’s a great tool. Some users might sign up thinking ICO is their goal for savings, but discover larger groups or ocean or opportunities for some of their accounts.

Host: Jon
I like how cloud analyzer shows you visualization of your usage and your groups and where you’re spending the most money in the environment, and I like that it just right up in front and center and the simplicity of the screen, that’s very clean. That was probably some of the benefits and overall the value of it. Obviously, it’s free. But seeing your data right in one console, why I’m already taking a look at my last group or ocean or even utilizing ECO.

Guest: Ben
Yeah, it’s either high level data or you can get very granular with it. I think we do a good job of hitting a lot of different personae with that one.

Host: Jon
All right. Time to get down to the nitty gritty here and do it, I’ll be in the house. I’m going to go first just to see what you have to be. And I think it’s the right thing to do since I’m undefeated and I’ll give you a chance. Let me get my T rex game up and share my screen. All right, traditional question, can you see my screen?

Guest: Ben
I can’t.

Host: Jon
All right. You ready? I am. I feel pressure. Here we go to one.

Guest: Ben
We got the time right there.

Host: Jon
Oh, it’s all I got. Oh, I’ve got a chance. Oh, yes. Over in Dublin, too early on, oh, my goodness. Oh. Oh, well, you know what, it shows my name right away, and it knows that I’m good, I and share your screen. Let’s get this done. All right, here we go. I can’t say that I’m not rooting for you to lose.

Guest: Ben
All right. Ready?

Host: Jon
Wait, wait, wait, wait. Wait. Is this Godzilla? This is the Godzilla version. I just scroll down and I can do this.

Host: Jon
No, go back. No, go back. I want to see the Godzilla is much better. OK, are you ready? Like the cars, yeah, yeah, oh, you’re hitting. Oh, wait, wait, wait, I want to redo here. Why I. Cause I.

Guest: Ben
Just watching the master, you’re getting upset now, are you hitting the space bar or the up arrow? Up arrow, OK. Oh, into the donut shop, OK. By much. Going to go gun. Silber’s version was underneath. I got a play. All right everybody. I had lost my first one. I am now two to one. Ben just beat the champ. Congratulations on it. So everybody remember, if you like what you see, don’t forget to hit that like subscribe also dropped some comments down below.

Guest: Ben
Ben, thank you so much for helping us understand AECO and how it can help with all rise in savings plans. I really appreciate you joining the show. My pleasure. All right. Thanks for having me. Bye.

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