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How Armis Uses Cloud Cost Intelligence To Inform Engineering And Sales Decisions

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Cost Aware Engineering, Unit Cost Analysis
Project Leads Roi Amitay, Head of DevInfra

With CloudZero’s cost per customer data, Armis gained granular visibility into its entire cloud-native infrastructure, driving smarter cost optimization decisions.

Armis was founded to help organizations discover and secure managed, unmanaged, and internet of things (IoT) devices, including medical devices and industrial control systems (ICS). With almost 500 employees globally, the company is building a future that helps its customers and partners to quickly implement their digital transformation strategies and securely adopt new connected devices.

A fast-growing, cloud-native company, Armis adopted CloudZero to understand its AWS spend, including AWS Cost per Customer. Armis is using this intelligence to make informed decisions across both engineering and go-to-market functions.

THE CHALLENGE

Armis is an event-driven data company running thousands of microservices in multiple multi-tenant environments leveraging Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS). While this architecture offers essential benefits, such as resiliency and scalability, it also makes aligning cost to important business metrics, such as cost per tenant, challenging.

They understood that in order to effectively manage their business, they needed visibility into the cost to run different aspects of it. This meant understanding the cost of a specific product feature or single customer. 

Roi Amitay, Head of DevInfra at Armis, led the charge to gain visibility into spend.

“Our AWS bill grew exponentially over the course of one year,” Amitly said, “but that’s OK, though, because we are serving many times more customers. Even so, our infrastructure was starting to become very expensive, so we needed a way to find out what services and technologies cost us the most. We use shared resources and its hard to say what the cost of one tenant on that shared resource”

Understanding cost in order make smarter infrastructure decisions

To decode cost billing data in the past, Amitay and his team would have to dig into the AWS Cost Explorer tool and potentially spend hours consulting with AWS support attempting to understand the data. Cost Explorer reports deliver a time-based table that could show, for example, that a service like Apache Kafka or AWS S3 was costing a lot of money, but couldn’t really break down these infrastructure costs granularly.

While Kafka services hundreds of Armis customers and accounts for a significant part of its total AWS costs, Amitay suspected that some customers represented around 10% of the entire Kafka spending. While the team had this basic information, they didn’t know why these costs were so high, or have the ability to visualize the data with graphs so it would be easier to consume. Another major area of concern was S3 object storage, which is heavily used by Armis, as an event-driven company with a huge data lake. Amitay knew there was an issue based on the overall S3 costs and cost per bucket, but couldn’t drill down to find out the reason why.

“We knew that these insights could help us make better infrastructure choices to optimize costs,” said Amitay.

SOLUTION

Armis chose CloudZero to help them gain cloud cost intelligence for AWS. 

“We went with CloudZero because they were able to do what no other company we found could — tell how much a single tenant of our multi-tenancy costs us. I also was impressed with their team as well as how easy it was to explore our cost on the platform.” said Amilty. 

Using CloudZero, the DevOps team could drill down into the cost of each service, product feature, and customer. They could also see even more granular metrics, such as the cost driven by a single customer for a particular feature . 

“Using CloudZero, we gain the ability to know exactly what we are paying for in our infrastructure,” said Amitay. “We can find anomalies or issues with customer related sources that cost too much, and make overall infrastructure decisions that are best for the business.”

RESULTS

Drilling down to easily uncover cost savings

Using CloudZero, Amitay was able to explore his costs in a way that was previously impossible with AWS Cost Explorer or other tools.

“CloudZero has this unique approach where I can start from the total cost, then break it down into groups by whatever I decide — service, features, etc. Then I click on it and dive into what’s actually driving the cost. It’s very easy for me to find where my money goes. Whereas, when I use Cost Explorer, for example, the report I see isn’t clickable.”

With this new ability to explore, Amitay was able to understand why two of his more expensive services, Kafka and Amazon S3, were adding up. By drilling down, he found that Kafka was deployed across multiple AWS availability zones, and that the traffic between nodes was causing an unnecessary spike in costs. This information helped the DevOps team configure Kafka appropriately to save 30% on all Kafka costs. 

By drilling down into data on S3, Amitay’s team was able to see that half of the spending was caused by writing a large volume of small files to object storage. By storing fewer, larger files, they were able to save 80% of the S3 API requests cost. Additionally, Amitay and his team were able to search for third-party solutions that might cost less, with confidence they could make a data-driven decision.

“Cost Explorer and other traditional cloud monitoring tools don’t identify these trends that CloudZero proactively surfaces,” said Amitay. “You need to really look.”

Informing sales 

In addition to informing engineering and reducing overall cost, the cost per tenant data has helped the Armis sales team to make informed decisions about pricing and discounting.

“When our sales department gives a quote, they want to be know how much a tenant is going to cost the business,” said Amitay”,  “Before, they came to us asking for it and we couldn't provide it. Now we can.” 

Finance and leadership-level reporting

For a growth-focused company like Armis, the cloud cost data from CloudZero has proven invaluable. The data has made its way up to the board level, with the VP of R&D using it to justify the cost of infrastructure and provide information on the cost of goods sold (COGS) during board meetings. 

The finance team is using CloudZero reports to determine the spending that goes into proof of concept, production and development at Armis. As a SaaS company, Armis can ensure that the majority of the spending is allocated to development. It’s now much easier for the finance team to validate AWS costs and know exactly how they’re attributed.

Powerful visibility and a strong partnership

Using CloudZero, this cloud-native company has gained visibility into its entire infrastructure to power better decisions for their organization, which reduce overall costs and drive data-driven decisions.

“The CloudZero team is highly dedicated, helping to customize the product to our use case and explaining how the data mapped to infrastructure changes we needed to make,” said Amitay. “With the CloudZero cost intelligence platform, you can quickly and easily identify wasted spend, drill down on a specific service, or calculate COGS. It’s that granular level of data that makes the difference.”

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  • Organize cloud costs without perfect tagging
  • Measure COGS, unit cost, cost per customer, and more
  • Align teams around a common cost language
  • Empower engineers to see the cost impact of their work

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