Tech Talk:  Galileo Cloud Compass

Tech Talk: Galileo Cloud Compass

Simple Cloud Costing?
Galileo Cloud Compass to the Rescue!

A video chat with the developers who bring right-sized cloud costing information in real-time.

It all started with a casual conversation about the cloud and infrastructure monitoring among the team at Galileo and our parent company, The ATS Group. From there, it quickly evolved into a discussion on how we can alleviate a source of frustration for many of our customers.  Because cloud migrations are tedious, and many organizations lack the necessary data for right-sized cloud migrations, they often choose to go with the “lift-and-shift” migration strategy.  It is faster and less resource-intensive, but a rehosting approach can quickly and easily lead to overspending, something none of us have an appetite for in our current economic state.

That conversation with our team led to the advent of an exciting new addition to the Galileo suite of products.  Galileo Cloud Compass collects key metrics from your infrastructure (including Windows, Linux, and AIX) to provide right-sized cloud costing information in real-time.

Some of the guys involved with Cloud Compass sat down to share their experiences during the development process.  Check out the video here or scroll down to read a transcript of the conversation with ATS Group’s Principal, Tim Conley, and Dave Hamilton, and Steve Horan.

The Convo

Tim Conley:

Hello everybody, and welcome to our podcast today. We’re going to be talking some technical mumbo jumbo around cloud, monitoring, and some significant things that we’ve created.  I’ve got Dave Hamilton and Steve Horan from our team, some great guys that are going to share our journey around Cloud Compass. Cloud Compass is a recent addition to the Galileo Suite. With it, we can ingest operating systems statistics, run them through an engine, and accurately predict your costs for AWS, Azure, and some other clouds soon to come. It’s available for both x86/Windows, Red Hat/Linux operating systems, and we also have an IBM POWER part of this solution where you can ingest IBMi and AIX and spit out what metrics or CPWs might be in your environment.

The purpose of this tool is to do a metric sizing to go to the cloud. We realized a lot of folks think they want to go to various clouds, but they have zero clues as to what it will cost. So, this tool gives you a quick and easy method to check into that. Again, I got Dave Hamilton and Steve Horan with me here today. Dave, let’s start reviewing how this product got started.

Dave Hamilton:

All right. Thanks, Timmy. So Cloud Compass was built like most other things at ATS, out of the need to automate and optimize what we do. As many people know, our products and services are built out of necessity for some of the consulting work that we do. So, in late 2018/early 2019, we have involved in quite a few “cloud feasibility” studies for our clients. The work involved reviewing metrics to see if a particular application or piece of hardware was able to move to a public cloud.

It was painstakingly difficult and time-consuming to get all these metrics pulled together and reviewed with the customer.  And so like many great ideas, this one was born over a meal. We were out at a burger joint in King of Prussia, outside of Philadelphia.  I think it was Shake Shack of all things.

Steve Horan:

Yeah, I think so too.

Dave Hamilton:

By the way, their chicken sandwich is amazing. At a burger place, nevertheless!

Anyway, we wondered what it would look like if we were to take the sizing metrics that we have in Galileo and run them against the published AWS costing data.  That day at lunch, we greenlit what we call a “side-sandwich” at ATS. For people listening along, our team is great about having both a day job and another project to chew on that is exciting and often worked on at nights and weekends.

Early iterations of the tool (which produced an ugly looking spreadsheet) were done on nights and weekends to nail down the logistics and work out the kinks.  We reviewed that first iteration with Tim, and he said, “Oh, that’s cool data. But it looks like shit!” We put a better look and feel to it, and that is where the first automated reporting through Galileo Report Studio was born.  Finally, we said, “Okay, let’s take this from a “sandwich” project, move it into the suite and put some real development effort into it,” and that’s how the Compass name and the product were born.

Tim Conley:

Thanks, Dave. Yeah, the funny things that come out on the back of a napkin! For those folks listening and watching, we have completely full whiteboards across our entire office because we like to do a lot of thinking and dreaming and erasing to see what’s possible. So, Steve, it was fascinating to me that you spent your off time – nights and weekends – doing this. What generated your interest to spend that quality time to do this?

Steve Horan:

Yeah, most of this was done off-hours, prototyping.  People always ask the question, “Why are you going to give up your free time to do work for your company or your business?” As engineers, architects, or whatever you’re doing in your career, you’re always trying to look for ways to grow and improve, or even have fun, and that’s what these “side-sandwiches” are about. We have a problem that we have to solve, and there’s maybe a new technology that we want to use to solve that problem.

This project was a mix of all of those. We had a couple of people learning new development tools, (my interest is in UI development) and then the cloud feasibility question.  This is a process that I don’t think anyone wants to do by hand. You spend all your career trying to be good technically, and then all of a sudden, you’re stuck doing cloud accounting work, like here’s dollars and budgets. It is not really attractive to us as an engineer, as well as a lot of our customers. That could be some toil work that a lot of your guys are experiencing too.

So this was a “hey, there’s new developers, there’s opportunity to share information, we get to gain some experience with some new technology,” kind of thing.  It was kind of like the perfect storm. It was definitely a lot of fun.

Tim Conley:

Yep. Sounds good, Steve. Thanks for that. I know it was quite interesting to me with our own cloud journey, moving Galileo, our SaaS offering, to the cloud.  The struggles that you and Paul and some of the other guys had trying to find information within AWS. So one of the reasons we did this is to provide metrics to be able to see what one actually needs in the cloud.

Steve Horan:

Do you remember how long that process took, Tim? I think you asked us, “Hey, what are our current costs on-prem?” and then, “Am I going to save money when we move?” And I mean, that took probably a couple of weeks, and our environment’s not as big as some of our customers.

Tim Conley:

Yep.

Steve Horan:

And when we look at other customers, where they’re asking us for help with 200-300 systems, that could take weeks, months, maybe. So the Cloud Compass tool helps with a lot of that. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the tool when we did our own migration, but we took what we’ve learned and put it in the tool.

Tim Conley:

Yeah, great point. One of our customers is in Azure, and we ran their environment through Cloud Compass, and it was striking how much money they could save by going to another cloud vendor, and we actually proved that with the customer. Really interesting.

So guys, tell me, going back before our journey to AWS with Galileo, why did you guys originally look at AWS?

Dave Hamilton:

That’s a good question. AWS was a logical solution for us as a cloud partner.  Our relationship with them goes back to 2014 when overwhelming customer demand had us do a very deep dive evaluation into all the public cloud providers. We used people like Gartner and our own hands-on research to prove each of these platforms for not only cost but the depth and breadth of services that they provide and ease of use and that sort of thing.

We looked at it based on our current customer base and their needs, and that’s what first turned us on to Amazon’s solution.  Back then we started very small as a partner, and we took that seriously. Certifications … I mean Steve, I can’t even remember how many certs you have at this point, but the rigorous training and qualifications to be a select consulting partner, which is what we are today, that’s something that didn’t happen overnight. We made a company-wide investment in the AWS platform.

Tim, you spoke about the Galileo migration. I think that is the commitment our customers are looking for. Moving our own SaaS offering to their platform (AWS) is a full circle from partner to platform support and being able to run it day-to-day for our MSP customers, et cetera. So yeah, it really did make sense.

Since then we certainly adopted other cloud platforms. We spoke earlier about Azure and our skill in that area as well, which is coming to Compass soon, but that original partnership has been good, and one we look forward to continuing.

Tim Conley:

It’s interesting you say that. A lot of people I talked to after our journey often think, “Oh yeah, I can just spin up an EC2 instance, attach a couple of EBS volumes, login, and here we go, this is great.” It’s not that easy. In fact, I’d say it was a lot of rocket science by you guys, completing our journey to the cloud.

There’s a lot of offerings in the marketplace that are capable, but the act of moving to the cloud is not simple. You guys did a great job on this, and that’s one of the reasons why we developed Cloud Compass.  Because customers taking a journey to the cloud without any experience can be a daunting task.

The first thing you want to know is what’s the financial feasibility of this item to go to the cloud? Is it even possible? Cloud Compass gives you that very first step that you need to take, “is this even financially feasible for me to move some stuff to the cloud?” From there you can take that journey. So any last words guys?

Dave Hamilton:

No, except to say that talking about this stuff is obviously a passion of ours, and I look forward to doing it with you guys again.

Tim Conley:

Sounds good. Well, I appreciate your time. Join us back for some additional podcasts and go to theATSgroup.com and check out this podcast and many others as we continue to put them out there with some of our in-depth knowledge around cloud, hybrid cloud, things like that. Dave, Steve, thanks very much for your time today, and we’ll talk to you later.

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