There’s no question that engineering teams at innovative tech companies are busy. No matter how successful your company is, there’s always a long backlog of feature enhancements that can make it challenging to focus on other priorities.
So, it’s no surprise that one of the most common questions we get from companies that engage with us is “How much of an effort will this be for my engineering team?”
The short answer is that you can get value within minutes. Then, within an hour or two, you’ll have an entirely new perspective into your cloud cost — so that it aligns with your products, features, teams, and more. Finally, if you want more advanced unit cost analysis or views, it can take a few more hours of time invested.
To help you better understand the time commitment required, here are the steps you’ll go through and the value you get at each stage.
First, How Much Time Will You Save?
While CloudZero does require some time investment, our customers report significant time savings along with new perspectives into their cost, so it’s important to understand the big picture.
Companies like Lyft and Netflix have shared what it takes to achieve the outcomes that CloudZero delivers on its own – and many of them have entire teams of engineers dedicated to cost analysis and optimization.
Here are a few examples of how CloudZero customers have saved time — not to mention money.
- Malwarebytes saved 10 hours per week of their DevOps architect’s time.
DevOps architect, Shawn LoPresto says, “Cloud cost is now a very small portion of my day — and by very small, I mean I don’t have to think about it anymore.”
- Drift enabled five people to focus on other priorities.
A team of five people, called the COGS Hunters, went from spending 80% of their time managing cost to having a continuous view and deep understanding of their COGS.
- Remitly went from a DIY tool to automation.
Greg Farrow, principal architect explains, “With any sort of software development, the earlier you think about things and solve problems, the cheaper it is to solve those problems. If we try to make something cheaper to run once we’ve already built it, it’s a really expensive process. Whereas, if we’re thinking about that from the start, it’s baked in straight away and it’s much cheaper for us to do.”
- ResponseTap realized the long-term time and cost savings of shifting left.
The Remitly team built a custom cost data pipeline and dashboards — a process that took them and two engineers a quarter to complete and covered about 60% of their total costs. With CloudZero, they no longer need to build or maintain their own cost optimization solution.
Next, Here’s What It Takes To Get Started
Step 1: Connect your AWS account to the CloudZero platform
The first step you’ll need to take is to connect your AWS master billing account to the CloudZero Cloud Cost Intelligence Platform. The platform is secure and least-privileged — which you can read about here.
- Time investment required: A few minutes
The process is very simple and typically takes anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. It takes a few more minutes to connect Slack if you also would like to have anomaly notifications and reports sent directly to your teams.
- Outcome: Easily explore your cost data and start receiving anomaly alerts
After connecting to the platform, you’ll be able to see all of your data and easily explore cost trends — while easily zooming in and out between high-level data and the individual resources. You’ll also start receiving real-time cost anomaly alerts right away.
- Progress to full value: 25%
At this point, CloudZero will show all of your costs in a very simple, easy to explore interface. You’ll be able to see costs per account and how much you’re spending on different services.
- What our customers say:
CloudZero customers love how simple and easy CloudZero is to use.
- Ben P wrote on G2 crowd, “Setup and connection to your AWS accounts is really smooth and easy and utilizes least-privilege IAM permissions. The team has done a masterful job on this.”
- Shawn LoPresto, DevOps Architect, Malwareytes says “One of the big selling points of CloudZero is that it was built for engineers. CloudZero is intuitive enough that our engineers are able to go in there, self-serve, and understand exactly what they’re looking at.”
- Michael Weinberg, Manager of Infrastructure Engineering, SeatGeek loves how you can easily share different views of cost context with teammates. He says, “You don’t get that level of efficiency with AWS or the other ‘fancy’ cost tools.”
Step 2: Receive your expert cost optimization review
Once you’ve connected to the platform, a CloudZero expert will immediately get to work performing an initial assessment of your infrastructure.
- Time investment required: 1 hour
You’ll spend up to one hour meeting with an expert, who will walk you through their findings.
- Outcome: Receive a report that will help you immediately understand where to focus your efforts to optimize your costs
Once your analysis is complete, you’ll receive a peer benchmarking analysis, waste optimization recommendations, and more. This will provide a clear picture of where you can start to reduce your costs. Your CloudZero expert will guide you through your findings and answer any questions you have.
- What our customers say:
- Shawn LoPresto, DevOps Architect, Malwarebytes, explains that “CloudZero quickly enabled us to put a laser focus on what we needed to address.”
- Sean McIssac, Former CTO and EVP of Infrastructure at Yext explains, “We were able to quickly identify a number of areas to eliminate waste, and have caught more than a few changes where simple changes to the application saved us thousands of dollars a month.”
Step 3: Organizing your costs into meaningful business context
In this step, your CloudZero expert will help you to organize your costs into the different contexts that are meaningful to your business, like teams or product features.
Unlike other cloud cost solutions that rely solely on tagging, CloudZero also uses additional metadata and insight to identify more complex anomalies and highlight the specific resources that are responsible for cost changes in your environment — whether or not your tags are well organized.
- Time required: 45 minutes.
You’ll meet with your cost expert to discuss how your features are organized, which usually takes about a half-hour to an hour, depending on the complexity of your infrastructure.
- Outcome: Understand cloud costs in context of your business, such as cost per product, feature, team, etc.
Once your costs are organized into the context that makes sense for your business, you’ll be able view and explore cost from a completely new perspective. You will be able to view cost trends, detect anomalies, and investigate cost by feature, team, and more (rather than by AWS account, service, etc.).This will unlock the ability to begin decentralizing cost to engineering teams, because you will now be able to provide them with views of what they’re working on — with a simple, self-serve UI to let them quickly answer their own questions.
- Progress to full value: 95%
- What our customers say:
- Greg Farrow, Principal Technical Architect at ResponseTap explains, “CloudZero helps us connect the dots between our products and our spend — and zoom in and out with very little effort.”
- Ben H. wrote on G2 Crowd, “We have different cost targets per SKU, and CloudZero lets me see how my team is doing at a high level, then drill into various products and further into the technologies that drive our spend.”
- Shawn LoPresto, DevOps Architect, “Our previous solution was good at looking at resource tags — like every cost solution is — but it was CloudZero that helped us to easily and accurately map cost to our products. We can also better understand our unit costs.
Step 4 (Optional): Enhancing your cost data with telemetry for deeper unit cost analysis
Some customers choose to take their cost analysis further by measuring unit cost metrics, like cost per customer. This utilizes a CloudZero API to send a telemetry stream from your application to the CloudZero platform.
In this context, telemetry essentially means a set of records that tell us about your customers’ usage of your product.
Your CloudZero expert will coach you through this process and help you to identify which data makes sense for you to use. CloudZero will correlate utilization metrics with cost metrics, so you’ll be able to tell how much it costs to support each of your customers — and even how much each individual customer costs by feature.
- Outcome: Custom, granular metrics to put cost in context
You’ll be able to understand not only what your services cost, but why. Which customers are responsible for the costs? What workloads are driving the costs? And so on.
- Time required: Varies significantly depending on complexity
This process usually takes a few hours – and we’ve seen it take up to one day of an engineer’s time to set up the required API calls. It all depends on how readily available your customer utilization data is and whether you need to do anything custom. Your CloudZero expert will help you identify exactly what you need to do.
- What our customers say:
- Michael Weinberg, Infrastructure Engineering Manager at SeatGeek shared, “For our financial planning and revenue teams, they get a report that says this is how much it costs to service the Cleveland Cavs — or a little theater. They can approach the sales or renewal process a lot more intelligently. Having that information without a lot of back and forth is huge for them.”
Step 5 (Ongoing): Enable engineering to control their own cost
To ensure your team is getting maximum value, you’ll meet with your cost expert on a monthly or quarterly basis. During this session, your expert will deliver insight to teams to help them make more cost-conscious technical decisions. However, you don’t need to wait for these sessions. Your CloudZero expert is available as an extension of your team at any time.
- Time required: 1 hour per month or quarter (Varies)
- Outcome: Enable your team and align cost with your business
These sessions will help you to ensure that your data is continuously aligned with your products, features, and teams — even as your business grows and evolves. It will also be a time where you can ask questions or set new goals.
- Progress to full value: 100%
- What our customers say:
- Adam Walker at Validity explains, “The level of support and engagement we get from the CloudZero team has been great. It helps us focus on the right areas and gives us access to experts when we need it, which saves us time and sets us in the right direction.”
Get Started Today
CloudZero delivers cost intelligence directly to engineering, helping teams shift cost left, save time, and connect technical decisions with business outcomes. To get started with CloudZero, request a demo today.