ibotta Case Study


Based in Denver, Colorado, Ibotta is a mobile technology company that enables consumers to earn cash back from more than 1,400 partners on in-store and mobile purchases via its smartphone app.

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By increasing our Amazon EC2 Reserved Instance coverage and purchasing reserved Amazon DynamoDB capacity, we have saved more than $1 million."

Ron White
Vice President of Engineering, Ibotta

The Challenge

Seeking Better Visibility into Cloud Spending

When Ibotta launched in 2011, it knew it needed to be in the cloud. The company, which provides a smartphone app that customers use to earn cash back on purchases, knew the cloud would give it the best chance to succeed. “The cloud provided the fastest and most efficient way for us to scale our platform,” says Ron White, vice president of engineering for Ibotta. Ibotta chose to run on Amazon Web Services (AWS). “From day one, we went all-in on AWS because it was the one company that could give us an automatically scalable platform,” White says. “Our early growth would not have happened without AWS.”

As Ibotta rapidly grew its business, it faced a major challenge: how to better control and optimize its AWS spending. The company manually tracked its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) spending through spreadsheets, which was time-consuming and failed to provide accurate visibility into costs. “For five years, we were running just a handful of web servers on Amazon EC2, and it was easy to predict and manage the costs,” says White. However, the company grew quickly and added microservices and a data-science solution, all of which required more Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3 resources. “Our AWS footprint really took off as we grew, but we struggled to gain visibility into our resource utilization,” he says. “The spreadsheets were difficult to maintain, and we needed to find a better way to manage our spending.”

Why Amazon Web Services

Getting Detailed Spending and Usage Reports Through Cloudability

To solve the problem, Ibotta turned to Cloudability, an Advanced Technology Partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN) that offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for analyzing AWS spending and usage. The Cloudability solution is available in AWS Marketplace, a curated digital catalog listing more than 4,200 software offerings from popular software vendors. By purchasing Cloudability from AWS Marketplace, Ibotta simplifies its procurement and billing processes. “It is very easy for our customers to procure our solution through AWS Marketplace,” says Mat Ellis, founder and CEO of Cloudability. “All it takes is a few clicks, so customers can see the value of our solution much faster.”

Ibotta uses the Cloudability True Cost cloud-management platform to create detailed AWS spending and usage reports using a centralized, point-and-click analytics interface. By using Cloudability, Ibotta has developed an automated AWS cost visibility and optimization process. That process enables Ibotta to increase its Amazon EC2 Reserved Instance (RI) usage, which offers a major discount compared to On-Demand Instances. Ibotta also uses Cloudability to reserve provisioned throughput on the Amazon DynamoDB database service.

Automating Spending Analysis

Using Cloudability, Ibotta has greater and more accurate visibility into its AWS spending, all from a single dashboard within the Cloudability user interface. “With Cloudability, we get fast, comprehensive reporting and analysis of our AWS spending across all our accounts,” says Scott Bassin, director of engineering for Ibotta. “It has really eased the process, and we no longer have to rely on spreadsheets to do everything. We can even view AWS accounts by department, so we can quickly see that cost information without having to jump between different accounts.” With these capabilities, Ibotta can better plan its AWS spending. “We can evaluate our spending plans for the year and get a more realistic projection of those costs through Cloudability,” White says. “We can set a budget and watch that closely within the tool to make sure we don’t exceed it.”

By taking advantage of Cloudability’s anomaly detection, which is driven by machine learning, Ibotta can also more easily control its costs. “Using Cloudability, we discovered a misconfigured gateway in our AWS infrastructure that would have cost us $15,000 in one month,” says White. “Cloudability flagged that as a high-expense resource within a day of it showing up in the software, so we avoided that expense.”

The Benefits

Saving $1 Million by Increasing Reserved Instance Coverage

With better visibility into its AWS spending, Ibotta gained the confidence both to increase its coverage of Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances from 40 percent to 60 percent and to make reserved capacity purchases within Amazon DynamoDB. As a result, the company is seeing significant savings. “By increasing our Amazon EC2 Reserved Instance coverage and purchasing reserved Amazon DynamoDB capacity, we have saved more than $1 million,” says White. “That means we can grow our AWS investment and ultimately invest more in the infrastructure we provide to our customers. That will help us reach more customers and grow our business faster.”

Ibotta expects to make better business decisions because of the increased visibility it has into its AWS usage. “Cloudability will enable us to make smarter decisions about the work we do, especially when it comes to data science,” says White. “For example, we can see that specific AWS usage related to our data-science work is costing us a certain amount to run each day. Overall, we know Cloudability will continue to provide us with smart recommendations about where we should be investing our cloud resources. We are excited to see where both AWS and Cloudability bring us in the future.”

About ibotta

Pay straight from the Ibotta app and get instant cash back on your entire purchase at over 30 national retailers.

About the Partner - Cloudability

Cloudability provides financial management tools to track and analyze public cloud spending. The company’s AWS analytics tools make it easier for companies to track, manage, and communicate their AWS spending and usage. Cloudability is an Advanced Technology Partner in the AWS Partner Network. 

Benefits of AWS

  • Gains deeper visibility into AWS spending and usage
  • Saves $1 million by increasing coverage of Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances
  • Drives new business growth

AWS Services Used

Amazon S3

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance. 

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Amazon EC2

Secure and resizable compute capacity in the cloud. Launch applications when needed without upfront commitments.

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Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB is a key-value and document database that delivers single-digit millisecond performance at any scale.

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