Enterprise FinOps: How Autodesk Rightsizes AWS Costs

Customer Story
Autodesk

Best-in-Class Cloud Financial Management at Autodesk

Hear from multiple Autodesk stakeholders how Densify enables FinOps within their organization by:

  • Providing reliable AWS infrastructure optimization recommendations that have illuminated opportunities to use more capable and affordable instance types without any performance impact
  • Enabling collaboration and building trust between Engineering, Finance, and application owners to drive shared success
  • Building confidence that production infrastructure in AWS is rightsized and cost-efficient

Enterprise FinOps at Autodesk

AWS FinOps Case Study Transcript

Autodesk’s enterprise cloud journey over the past two years has been realized by our program to move from the data center to the cloud. The mission has been simple: to move the majority of the workloads from the data center to the cloud, to shrink the data center footprint and provide world-class connectivity services, and to get it done in less than two years.

Pat Barnes
Senior Director, Infrastructure,
Autodesk

Like many organizations, we struggled as our cloud environments grew with wasted and underutilized cloud resources driving unnecessary spend. While our existing tools were adequate from a billing perspective, they left much to be desired when it came to the number of resources and the accuracy of the recommendations they were providing.

We chose Densify because of their robust, configurable recommendations, available across a number of cloud resources. Because Densify’s recommendations are available via API, we were able to easily integrate with the custom portal that provides a seamless experience for our developers, making it easy for them to get the information they need—quickly and efficiently. The accuracy of Densify’s data greatly increased our customer adoption, their willingness to work with us, to take action on those recommendations, and ultimately, the money we were able to save the company.

In our experience, tops-down and bottoms-up transparency is the best way to affect change. We want to show senior management what they are spending, what they are using, what it costs to deliver the products that they are working on. From the developer’s perspective, they don’t have a lot of time to spend on the optimization. Of course, your primary focus is delivering product. So, our goal is to provide the most accurate, true recommendations, and build confidence.

Auto Scaling Groups are a key tool in our cloud resource toolkit. Previously, developers had very little insight into how they are actually consuming them. In many cases, people may be configuring them correctly, in other cases, not so much. So, Densify has greatly enabled our developers to actually learn how to better use these tools. And, of course, we’re becoming more efficient in saving money at the same time.

Application owners are interesting. Of course, everyone wants to do the best for the company, but people don’t have time and they have other priorities—so the quality of data is key, and building confidence is key. Building a relationship where they know they can take action based on what we’re saying and that it’s not going to impact the application. So, that takes time, and again, it’s a confidence-building exercise. But it is achievable, and Densify helps us do that.

Jason Smathers
Sr. Manager, Cloud Architecture and Insights,
Autodesk

One of the main challenges of optimization is finding time to optimize the existing workloads you have. Densify can save time during optimization analysis because the policy engine automates the heavy lifting of comparing the hundreds of different options in AWS, and then the reports that come out help engineers clearly see what you currently have versus what is possible in the optimization, so they can make good decisions.

Bob DiBetta
Principle Solutions Engineer,
Autodesk

Densify has really helped us to gain confidence that our production systems are rightsized and cost-efficient. It helps us to be aware of instance classes and resource sizing that, perhaps, we weren’t aware of previously. And, when we are rightsized, it helps us to know that we have made the right choices. We’re constantly monitoring our systems to make sure that everything is behaving the way that they are expected to, and having this feedback loop to understand whether or not our production systems are the right size, has been really, really valuable to us.

As an application owner, Densify has helped my team to be more efficient at managing our production systems. There is much less guesswork. The insight that we get into Densify’s recommendations—understanding why it is recommending what it is recommending—helps build our confidence.

I remember one case in particular: we had a mature service that we had been operating in production for many years, and we were quite confident that we understood its load patterns, its customer use, and how to optimize it. When Densify analyzed this system, it came up with the recommendation to optimize using an instance class that we had never even heard of! So, we dug deeper, we took a look at the recommendation and why Densify felt that this was the better match. We did our research on the instance class and made a judgement on whether or not we agreed with the recommendation. Ultimately, we decided to implement the change, and as a result, we are more cost-efficient and our customer-facing metrics are completely unchanged—which is to say—it is every bit as performant and every bit as reliable as it has ever been.

Mike Lee
Application Owner,
Autodesk

Our AWS costs are material and extremely variable. Although AWS allows us to be elastic in the cloud, managing the finances can be a nightmare. Luckily, we’ve partnered with Densify, who helps us optimize our cloud infrastructure costs. Densify saves Autodesk money and time. I would highly recommend their product to other tech companies.

Cindy Vo
Finance Business Partner,
Autodesk

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