AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

Four Key Steps of Optimizing Your IT Resources

In past posts, we have written about The Evolution of Managed Services in Hyperscale Cloud Environments and discussed how AWS and our APN Partners are Raising the Bar in light of this progression. Let’s now hear directly from a few of our MSP Partners who have embraced this new ideology in managed services and who are enabling increasing levels of innovation for their customers.

This is the first in a weekly series of MSP APN Partner guest posts that we will be publishing here on the APN blog this summer. Our partners will be sharing their expertise on critical topics that enable customers to embrace the AWS Cloud and more fully realize the business values that this allows them. Topics will include cloud automation, optimizing after migration, hybrid cloud management, managed security, continuous compliance, DevOps transformation, and MSPs as innovation enablers.

Let first hear from Jeff Aden, Founder & EVP Marketing and Business Development at 2nd Watch (APN Premier Partner, MSP Partner, and holder of multiple AWS Competencies), as he discusses the importance of refactoring and optimizing workloads after migration to AWS and how a next gen AWS MSP Partner can deliver this value.

The Four Key Steps of Optimizing Your IT Resources, by Jeff Aden, Founder & EVP Marketing and Business Development at 2nd Watch

The 2nd Watch team has been very fortunate to have the opportunity to help some of the world’s leading brands as they strategize, plan, and migrate their workloads to the cloud as well as support them in ongoing management of those workloads. I have worked with some of the foremost cloud experts within 2nd Watch, AWS, and our customers, and can share best practices and Four Steps to Optimizing your IT Resources that we have learned over the years.

Optimization in the world of cloud requires data science, expertise in cloud products and, most of all, an understanding of the workloads that are supported by the infrastructure. We are not talking about a single application where anyone can provision a few instances. This is about large migrations and management of many thousands of workloads. Within that context, the  sheer volume of choices in cloud products and services can be overwhelming, but the opportunities for digital transformation and optimization can be huge.

Reaping maximum performance and financial optimization requires a combination of experience and automation. On average, we’ve been able to save our customers 42 percent more with our optimization services than if they managed their own resources.

We see optimization in cloud typically driven by:

1. Migration to cloud

Typically this is the first step to optimizing your IT resources and the most common first step for many enterprises. By simply moving to the cloud, you can instantly save money by paying only for what you use. The days of old—where you bought IT resources for future use versus what you needed today—are over. This brings enormous savings in three areas: The time it takes you (IT) and the business in planning for future needs; the amount of space you need to own or rent to hold your data center along with all the logistics of operating a data center; and the cost of IT hardware and software, since you are not buying today for what you may use by 2020. The initial move can save companies between 40 to 60 percent over their current IT spend.

All of this can be done by migrating to AWS without rewriting every application or making huge bets on large and expensive transformation projects. Customers like Yamaha have achieved savings of $500,000 annually, and DVF racked up 60 percent savings on hosted infrastructure compared to a legacy provider. And, one of the most recognizable use cases is Conde Nast, which increased performance while saving 40 percent on operational costs.

2. Performance

This is an ongoing optimization strategy in the cloud. Auto scaling is probably one of the most widely-leveraged strategies for tuning performance in the cloud. It provides the ability for IT to add resources based on internal or external demand, in real time and with automation. Once you have your workloads in the cloud, you can begin to understand what your resources are really using and how to leverage auto scaling to save money and meet demand with both enterprise applications and consumer facing applications.

However, in order to take advantage of auto scaling, you must first ensure that you have fine-tuned some of the basics to really increase performance. One way to do this is by ensuring that you have selected the correct instance type and type of storage. Another is to ensure your auto scaling is primed and ready to take the load. Customers can also  purchase additional IOPS or replace Amazon EBS volumes as needed.

3. Financial

Optimization is probably the most intricate and ever-changing aspect of cloud computing today. An introduction of a new product or version can benefit customers dramatically but can also cause some headaches along the way. Often, we see prospects start with the financial optimization even before they have looked at migration or performance and how it weighs into the comprehensive financial mechanism a company uses to achieve an overall savings.

We encourage clients to migrate their workloads and understand the performance needs prior to purchasing any Reserved Instances (for example) in order to maximize their resources and ROI. Clients should focus on getting some other foundational areas established first, like best practices for tagging organization-wide, visibility into the right reporting KPIs, and understanding the workload needs. Once this is achieved, we find that RIs can be a very effective way to save money and increase ROIs. Clients like Motorola, who took this approach have saved more and increased their ROI more than was possible with their legacy manage service provider.

2nd Watch was built on cloud-native tools and leverages automation that allows for scalability. We manage more than 200,000 Amazon EC2 instances today and understand the complexity beyond the numbers. Behind our solutions for optimization is a team of experienced data scientists and architects that can help you maximize the performance and returns of your cloud assets.

4. Evolving to optimal AWS services

This is the next step in maximizing performance and achieving greater savings. Some companies elect to start by refactoring. While this is the right starting point for some companies, we have found—over many years and through many customer examples—that this can be challenging if customers are also trying to familiarize themselves with running on the cloud. The 2nd Watch proven methodology aligns with where clients are positioned in their journey to the cloud. If you take our approach, the company’s employees and vendors become immersed in the cloud and see it as the “new normal.” Once acclimated, they can explore and understand new products and services to propel them to the next level.

Companies like Scor Velogica saved an additional 30 percent on hosting and support costs by evolving their application in an SOC2 cloud native environment. Celgene reduced the time to run HPC jobs from months to hours by taking this approach. Not only do we preach this approach, we practice it before putting it into effect with clients. We moved off of Microsoft SQL to Amazon Aurora, increasing performance and capacity without increasing costs or risks. Other clients take it in steps and move to a product like Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) and experience savings on the operational side when they can clone a new database and save money, all without the administrative overhead of traditional IT.

A hyper-scale AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP) partner like 2nd Watch can provide tested, proven, and trusted solutions in a complex world. Gartner has named 2nd Watch a Leader in its Magic Quadrant for Public Cloud Infrastructure Managed Services Providers, Worldwide report for its ability to execute and completeness of vision. Access the report, compliments of 2nd Watch, for a full evaluation of all MSPs included. With the right level of experience, focus and expertise it is not so cloudy out there.

To get started or for help, contact


Jeff Aden

Founder & EVP Marketing and Business Development

2nd Watch, Inc.