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How Validity Maximizes Their AWS Investment While Migrating and Refactoring Applications Into Their New Platform

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Migration, Digital Transformation, Cost Aware Engineering
Project Lead Adam Walker, VP of Infrastructure and Security

THE CHALLENGE


As the leader in the email deliverability solution space — Validity has helped tens of thousands of sales and marketing organizations to target, contact, engage, and keep customers — using trustworthy data as a key advantage.

Validity was formed in 2018, and has built and strengthened their technology offerings through a series of acquisitions, which they have combined to offer a Comprehensive Email Marketing Success Platform, called Everest.

Pictured: Validity's current website homepage

Over the past couple of years, the engineering and infrastructure teams have been hard at work integrating some of the best capabilities of the solutions they have acquired, while adding several critical new features not found in any other solution on the market.

Like every SaaS company, Validity needed to ensure their products were not only innovative — but also well architected and cost effective, which can be especially challenging with a robust, data-heavy product like Everest. One of the key drivers of their cost is AWS.

As with any acquisition, each product they were integrating had its own architecture, tagging structure, and tool chain — some of which were on-premise and others which were in AWS. They needed a way to be able to track cost as they combined them all in AWS.

 

THE SOLUTION

The Validity team implemented the CloudZero Cloud Cost Intelligence Platform to give them visibility into their AWS cost across the different aspects of their products. To help with inconsistent tagging, CloudZero automatically grouped resources, then organized them into metrics that they cared about — such as products and features. 

With CloudZero, they can see high-level cost trends, explore why costs are changing, and drill into any cost to see the source of it. 

As they have combined products to create Everest, and now continue to add new features, they rely on CloudZero to track the cost of migrating, refactoring, and building. This gives them visibility into the cost of each project, as well as the ability to communicate cost metrics and projections to leadership. They also can quickly understand which aspects of their architecture are driving the most cost.

Additionally, the Validity team receives custom, ongoing reports about services such as Amazon S3, Amazon RDS, and Amazon Snapshots from CloudZero’s customer success team. This helps them identify areas for optimization, without doing the investigation themselves.

Adam Walker, VP of Infrastructure and Security, explained, “CloudZero truly gives us a heartbeat of our spend at all times.”

Adam Walker

CloudZero truly gives us a heartbeat of our spend at all times.

Adam Walker | VP of Infrastructure and Security

OUTCOMES

Reduced Overall Costs While Migrating and Refactoring Applications for New Platform

One of the most impactful outcomes for Validity is that they have been able to migrate applications over to AWS, while lowering their overall cloud costs. 

During the development of Everest, they not only needed to figure out the best way to shift applications over to the cloud — but in many cases they were hosting two versions of each —  the original version, as well as a refactored version in Everest. 

“As you retire older products and introduce cutting edge products, you need to have a careful balance, because you’re going to have dual costs. We've been able to shift products up from physical data centers to the cloud, while still saving money on what otherwise probably would have been astronomical spend,” said Adam. 

In fact, they had originally projected an increase of over 20% as they built Everest. Instead, while utilizing CloudZero, they reduced cost by about 35% over the course of a year.

Pictured: Validity's cost per product in CloudZero. The lime green represents their new product, Everest, and the other colors represent different products they've built and acquired. They use this view to show how their costs have changed per product during their migration and new product launch. Cost data has been removed for privacy.

Provided Centralized Visibility and Reduced Time Spent Managing Cost by 90%

Prior to using CloudZero, the Validity team had inherited several different cost management systems from the companies they had acquired, ranging from AWS Cost Explorer to other popular cost management vendors. They decided to centralize everybody on CloudZero, which gave them a single point of visibility into costs across the entire organization.

“Managing AWS spend could be a full-time job,” said Adam, “with CloudZero, I’ve cut down 90% of the time I used to spend managing cost.”

Validity also has benefited from having CloudZero’s experts — who work like an extension of their team to answer questions and proactively make suggestions. 

“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,” said Adam. 

Adam Waker

With CloudZero, I’ve cut down 90% of the time I used to spend managing cost.

Adam Waker | VP Infrastructure and Security

Built a Cost-Cognizant and Collaborative Engineering Culture

The new visibility that CloudZero provides has helped transform the way the Validity engineering team thinks about cost. 

“We're definitely more cost-cognizant in everything we do,” said Adam. “CloudZero has helped us take a more standardized approach across our product lines. When one engineering team finds a more cost-effective solution, we ask ourselves if we can use that as a standard across the enterprise. Our culture has changed quite a bit — and it’s saved us quite a bit of money.”

Improved Cost Communication With Executives 

“Our leadership team isn’t interested in knowing how much we’re spending on EC2 and RDS — they want to know about how much it costs to deliver each of our products and how those numbers are changing over time. CloudZero gives them a great window into that,” Adam explained.

Instead of pulling custom reports, like he did with AWS Cost Explorer, Adam takes a quick screenshot of his CloudZero dashboard and sends it to his C-suite to keep them updated on cost during the migration.

Adam Walker

When one engineering team finds a more cost-effective solution, we ask ourselves if we can use that as a standard across the enterprise. Our culture has changed quite a bit — and it’s saved us quite a bit of money.

Adam Walker | Validity

Cutting-Edge and Cost-Effective Products

As a data-heavy martech company that serves an international market, there are aspects of Validity’s architecture that naturally drive cost up. For example, GDPR requires a replicated infrastructure and the nature of their business requires extensive data transfer. Validity is also focused on delivering the best possible customer experience possible with high availability infrastructure.

CloudZero has helped them identify the most cost effective ways to meet those requirements — without sacrificing availability or customer experience.

“By combining the best functionality of multiple different software solutions, we’ve built the leading email product. CloudZero has helped us achieve this while ensuring that 100% of our spend is being invested in delivering cutting-edge features to our customers.”

Adam Walker

By combining the best functionality of multiple different software solutions, we’ve built the leading email product. CloudZero has helped us achieve this while ensuring that 100% of our spend is being invested in delivering cutting-edge features to our customers.

Adam Walker | VP of Infrastructure and Security

See for Yourself

We're definitely more cost-cognizant in everything we do.

Freedom Dumlao
Adam Walker VP of Infrastructure and Security, Validity