Every infrastructure cloud provider makes it easy to create servers. However, one of the most important characteristics of cloud computing is that it’s easy to delete servers. Go ahead and use a server for as long as you need to and then get rid of it, along with all associated costs. However, cloud cleanup is typically the sole responsibility of the customer. Some smart folks have come up with their own solutions to this problem (see Netflix and their open-sourced Janitor Monkey for AWS), but we prefer to give our customers the automation capabilities they need to easily get rid of servers that aren’t needed anymore.
Set a Server Time-to-Live
When building temporary cloud environments, you often know exactly when you’ll be done using a server or set of servers. However, after the requisite days/weeks/months have passed, who remembers to shut off those machines? During the provisioning process of a Tier 3 server, users have the option to select a server lifespan and decide whether to archive or completely delete the server.
Use Scheduled Tasks to Automatically Shut Down and Resume Environments
Many servers will not be for temporary use, but they do have a defined windows of usefulness. For instance, consider a development environment that a project team uses to build a web application. There may be multiple web, database and application servers that collectively stay online during the work week. However, such an environment may be completely idle during weekends and holidays. Instead of incurring the cost for an unused environment, Tier 3 customers can create a Scheduled Task to pause or stop an environment and stop accruing CPU and memory charges. Unlike many cloud infrastructure providers, Tier 3 uses persistent VMs and only charges for OS licensing (if any) and storage costs when a server is inactive.
Scheduled Tasks operate on Groups of Tier 3 servers. This makes it simple to archive/pause/power on/reboot/shutdown/snapshot all of the servers in a Group at once. In this example, imagine setting up a pair of Scheduled Tasks that pause the entire development environment every Friday evening, and bring it back online early Monday morning. For even a small environment consisting of a database plus a pair of web servers, this results in savings of over $1000 a year.
In the image below, notice that I’ve configured a pair of Tasks. The “pause” Task runs every Friday evening at 6PM, and the “power on” Task fires every Monday morning at 7AM.
Your cloud environment should be made up of a well-groomed collection of active servers that provide tangible value for each hour that they are running. Tier 3 offers multiple options to automatically delete servers and take idle environments offline. This saves our customers both time and money. Any other automation that we should introduce to make your life easier? Let us know!