OLX Group Optimizes Cloud Operations Using Apptio’s Cloudability on AWS

Executive Summary

OLX Group (OLX) achieved greater cloud cost transparency, improved accountability, and enabled team ownership of cloud spend by using Cloudability from Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Apptio. OLX, a global online marketplace, serves 300 million customers per month through a decentralized business model that relies on autonomous teams in 30 countries. After migrating to AWS, OLX realized that its cloud management system wasn’t providing real-time visibility into cloud operations. Using Cloudability has helped OLX analyze usage patterns and adjust targets for the purchase of Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances, improving cloud cost allocation and saving the company money.

Seeking Cost Efficiency in the Cloud

As a fast-growing online global marketplace, OLX Group (OLX) needed a way for its 10,000 global employees to work as autonomous teams while simultaneously promoting cost efficiency and contributing to the company’s overall success. But its cloud management system didn’t provide the insight the company needed to make cost-effective decisions. OLX made a change, turning to Apptio, an AWS Partner, for a solution to update its cloud optimization strategy. Through its cloud financial management tool Cloudability, Apptio helped OLX achieve greater cloud cost transparency, improve accountability, and enable team ownership of its cloud spend.

Adopting a Cloud Management System

Founded in 2006, OLX operates globally, with more than 11 billion page views. Each month, more than 300 million customers across five continents navigate over 25 million listings to buy or sell cars, look for household goods, find housing, or land jobs. OLX runs with a decentralized business model in which teams in 30 countries works autonomously, building their own cloud-based products and running their own businesses, driven by the needs of local markets.

After migrating its on-premises data centers to the cloud, OLX realized the cloud management system it had chosen lacked the tools to provide real-time visibility into cloud operations. The finance department was failing to distribute accurate, real-time cost data to the global teams, and the company as a whole found it difficult to gain insight into instance management to track cloud spend efficiently. Invoice reconciliation involved people from several teams and took nearly a month to complete manually. To streamline costs and assist its global teams with insights into spending, OLX purchased and implemented Apptio Cloudability, available in AWS Marketplace, after a robust evaluation. Apptio virtually hosts and operates its products, including software-as-a-service solution Cloudability, so OLX does not need to own any of the underlying infrastructure. “Cost optimization is not a project. It’s a process,” says Sascha Curth, Head of Cloud Economics and Governance at OLX.

Optimizing Cloud Practices Using Cloudability

With Cloudability’s anomaly detection tools, OLX is able to set cost thresholds on abnormal spend and act quickly upon detection of undesirable trends. The Rightsize Overprovisioned Resources feature helps OLX to optimize costs by building and scaling its cloud infrastructure around its needs. By balancing performance and cost, OLX teams can identify underused resources that could result in excess spending and move to resources that are a better match. The Decommission Idle Resources feature detects unused resources so that OLX can shut them down, helping the company save even more. OLX also used Cloudability to create an invoice reconciliation dashboard, saving hours of manual research every month and making it simple for teams to review invoices and confirm the application of proper discounts.

Cloudability’s Commitment Management and Planning features help OLX improve the economics of cloud initiatives by reducing the hourly rates paid without engineering effort. The Reserved Instance Planner helps the team plan for the purchase of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Reserved Instances—capacity reservations that provide a discount of up to 72 percent on Amazon EC2 instance charges—by analyzing historical usage patterns and adjusting usage targets. And the Reserved Instance Portfolio enables OLX to manage its commitment portfolio through surfacing realized savings, usage rates, and impending expiries. And because of its near real-time usage and cost visibility, Cloudability helps OLX take ownership of its cloud spend across decentralized groups. “With Cloudability, we managed not only to get full insight into the usage and costs but also a common language where all departments—technology, business, and finance—were able to communicate and get on the same page,” Curth says. OLX teams also benefit from Cloudability’s customizable dashboards, which display only the most important key performance indicators and trend data, narrowing the scope of information displayed to each team. Moreover, OLX uses data from Cloudability to optimize its Reserved Instances by projecting its needs and making better purchasing decisions. As a result, OLX used 96 percent of its Reserved Instances, covering 80 percent of the company’s total instance usage.

“With Cloudability, we managed not only to get full insight into the usage and costs but also to get a common language where all departments—technology, business, and finance—were able to communicate and get on the same page.”

- Sascha Curth, Head of Cloud Economics and Governance, OLX Group

OLX improves its cloud cost allocation using several additional Cloudability features. Tag Mapping removes variation between tag keys, creating a more consistent workflow across OLX’s cloud infrastructure and providing better spending insights. Cloudability’s Account Groups feature enables autonomous teams to group vendor accounts to match internal business structures, and Business Mapping overlays existing tags and accounts with synthetic tags, enabling OLX to account for all cloud costs. Business Mapping also helps OLX optimize cloud costs by categorizing virtual machines, identifying unused instances, and encouraging teams to upgrade. “We reserve the modern generations of virtual machines and don’t reserve legacy ones,” Curth says. “Our goal is to make good behavior simple and as cheap as possible.”

Moving Forward in AWS Marketplace

Through AWS Marketplace, Apptio can quote and contract services to help customers achieve better visibility, management, and optimization of cloud resources on AWS. OLX can pay for Cloudability usage through its AWS bill, further unifying its system to optimize cloud resources and cost efficiency. 

OLX Group

About OLX Group

Founded in 2006, OLX Group operates a network of online marketplaces in 30 countries on five continents. More than 300 million customers a month navigate 25 million listings to buy or sell cars, look for household goods, find housing, or land a job.

About Apptio

Apptio is a leading provider of cloud-based information technology financial management software, helping chief information officers and chief financial officers connect technology investments to business outcomes. 

Published August 2021