In the last decade-plus, the cloud has undergone a torrid evolution.
Born in 2006, the cloud didn’t face the same speed limits on evolution that we mortals do. Within years, the cloud had gone from competitive edge to competitive necessity; within a decade, specialized services like Kubernetes, Snowflake, and Datadog had emerged to help us use it more, more flexibly, and with a more data-driven strategy.
As the cloud evolved at an exponential rate, so did the costs associated with using it. By 2009, businesses collectively spent about $1 billion on the cloud; by 2019, they spent $100 billion; and in 2023, they’re projected to spend nearly $600 billion.
The cloud has grown chaotically. New tools (and associated invoices) have poured in with scarcely a moment for cloud-driven organizations to catch their breath. Predictably, the first cloud cost management tools, developed before much of this evolution had taken place, are not equipped to bring order to the chaos of cloud consumption.
CloudZero is a next-generation cloud efficiency platform. This year, the year in which we raised our Series B investment in the toughest investment climate in years, we found ourselves braced with a reality: Our identity — led by our logo — needed an update.
We needed imagery that would reflect this sea of complexity and the harmoniousness that CloudZero offers. We needed something that mirrored the nature of cloud environments: ever-shifting, not restricted by physical laws, untameable by first-generation tools.
As we embarked on this daunting task, I found myself thinking about relativity. Or, that is, “Relativity”:
M.C. Escher’s “Relativity” shows us something at once impossibly chaotic and impossibly orderly. Visual planes about each other; gravity changes direction depending on which subject your eye falls on; mundane scenes play out as if the physical laws of the universe had not been thrown into haywire. It’s an impossible geometry that at the same time seems possible.
The rules we’re used to don’t apply — and yet, the scene is not a disturbing one. It’s somehow peaceful, the way it would feel to be in a house high on a hillside catching a lot of natural light.
“Relativity” resonates with me because of the tightrope it walks between order and chaos. Escher uses a fine combination of art and craft — a high concept executed in simple lines, light and dark — to undermine and honor our sense of reality, direction, and beauty.
Anyone who’s worked in the cloud can understand this interplay between order and chaos. The cloud powers order at levels of scale our species has literally never seen before: communication between continents, infinite libraries of entertainment, services delivered equally well in New York and New Delhi.
But the cloud is equally well-known for its chaos. Unlike in days past, when procurement teams decided exactly how many servers their engineers got to build and run their software, engineers are now the ones making the buying decisions — which they do every time they spin up a new resource. Werner Vogels captured this brilliantly when he said “Everything fails all the time”.
For years, the output of this new dynamic was sanctioned chaos. In the name of building the best possible software, engineers bought as much of the highest-quality cloud resources as they could. The result: overgrown cloud environments where waste went undetected and end-of-month bills skyrocketed.
Combine this with the fact that the cloud itself only grew more complex over the years. What started out with one big player — AWS — has expanded to three big players — AWS, GCP, Azure — and a ton of more specialized options — Snowflake, MongoDB, Datadog, Fastly, etc.
Add in the notoriously chaotic Kubernetes and you end up with data from a variety of services, in a variety of formats, which first-generation cost management platforms simply can’t analyze as a unit.
For years, companies chalked up this technical and financial chaos to the costs of doing business in the cloud. They saved what they could with reservations and savings plans, probably deployed a first-generation cost optimization platform, and kicked the cloud cost can down the road.
But macroeconomic conditions have shifted from the favorable to the troubling, and cloud-driven companies’ tolerance for chaos has run out. The world has finally woken up to the reality that every engineering decision is a buying decision, perhaps one of the most extreme shifts in purchasing power to occur since the first computing systems were acquired decades ago.
The cloud world desperately wants to shift from the age of recklessness to the age of efficiency, and it needs a cost management platform that can facilitate the transition. I think this shift is essential to the very survival of the cloud itself.
Our vision for CloudZero has always been exactly that: Be the platform of choice for companies looking to find order within the chaos. Take vast volumes of cloud billing data, extract the most valuable information, and send it to the people — the engineers — who can use it most impactfully. Make efficient innovation a reality for every cloud-driven organization.
As the cloud and cost management challenges have evolved, we realized CloudZero had to evolve as well. We found that our prior logo — though beloved, especially by me — didn’t reflect everything I’ve outlined here: mounting complexity, order within chaos, a nexus of harmonious ideas.
Hence, our new logo:
The logo is a custom shape best envisioned in three — or really four — dimensions. Just as cloud environments change shape on a moment-to-moment basis, the logo changes shape and orientation depending on where your eye falls. In the manner of cubist painters, each angle reveals a unique vision of order.
It reflects the reality of the cloud. Cloud-native order is not a stable, inert state; it is an emergent property that, just like a murmuration of starlings, achieves coherence without a single unshifting shape.
It took innumerable rounds of iteration to reach this logo. We were determined not to settle for anything less than a symbol that embodied CloudZero’s spirit, our vision, our power, and our team. We wanted a symbol that was new under the sun and that took root equally in art and geometry. I couldn’t be happier to say that we got what we wanted.
CloudZero’s new logo is more than just a funky optical illusion. It’s a commitment to our fundamental task of helping cloud-driven businesses (ourselves included) find order in the chaos. It’s a reflection of the diverse array of perspectives and talents that our team brings to the table every day. It’s a stake in the ground, commemorating the dawn of the age of efficiency, and our central role in ushering (Eschering?) it in.
Thank you for reading, and thank you to the entire CloudZero team. Every founder dreams of having what I have, and few get it: a company full of kind, intelligent, driven people, and above all, a company that doesn’t suck. I couldn’t be more grateful, or more excited to see what the future holds for us, our customers, and the cumulative cloud.