Optimize Unused Agents in CloudBees CI to Reduce Cloud Cost and Improve Efficiency

Written by: Tristen Cross

4 min read

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The first time I heard the phrase, “only pay for what you use” was from my Dad. I can still recall him saying it in an almost sing-song voice. “Ya know, we should only pay for what we use,” as he followed us kids around the house. He’d flip off each light that was left on, and smile to himself, knowing his utility bill wasn’t going to get the best of him that month.

Fast forward to today. My Dad is not alone in his thinking about his utility bills. In fact, his and many millions of consumers’ desire to keep their utility bills low has birthed multiple cost optimization in-home devices. The army of Dads and Moms unplugging unused electronics and turning off lights has been replaced by smart plugs and smart lights. Which is great news for my Dad, as that time spent turning off unused lights can now be spent honing the delivery of a well-timed Dad joke.

Ok, this covers our at-home expenditures, but what about our commercial utility bills, like the big glaring one: cloud spend and IT infrastructure bills. Well, my Dad’s idiom rings true as well: “only pay for what you use!” Whether you’re at home personally conserving cost or a leader of a Fortune 500 company looking for a way to conserve cost, this idiom applies. But where do you begin?

First, you need to identify the unused lights in your software development organization. A great starting place is the very backbone of your software development organization - your managed controllers.

This scenario might sound familiar. Your software development organization is growing. Yay! You’re adding more developers. Double yay! Those developers need more managed controllers. Gee, these controllers are really adding up!

Now let’s think about the usage of those managed controllers. A typical usage situation might look like this: all of those managed controllers are getting heavily used during working hours, then during non-working hours they sit idle. And like the light bulb left on, they’re costing you lots and lots of money, and no one is in the room.

Controllers cost the same whether you’re using them or not

CloudBees CI on Modern platforms offers a Managed Controller hibernation feature (formerly called the Managed Master hibernation feature). Now, with the flip of a switch, you can automatically set your controllers to hibernate or “turn off.” With this feature, you can reclaim those resources when they’re idle instead of having those Managed Controllers “up” all night. Your CFO will thank you, and to quote my Dad, “you’ll only be paying for what you use.”

Ok, we’re on a roll, let’s not stop there. What about those static agents? Can their resource utilization be optimized? The answer is yes.

Unused agents can still occupy valuable resources

Just like the CloudBees hibernation plugin for unused controllers, you can also use CloudBees CI managed controllers to deploy container-based ephemeral agents. Like the unused light bulb left on, those agents can really add up. Let’s conservatively assume you have 1,500 agents that are using infrastructure 24/7/365. This can very quickly add up to $1.7M dollars of yearly consumption costs. Now let’s say you optimize when your agents are being utilized using the hibernation plugin. Instead of running all the time, they’re now optimized and running 10 hours/day 5 days/week, the annual cost savings could be as high as $1.2M dollars saved annually. An over 30 percent reduction in annual spend.

These ephemeral agents will complete jobs on-demand. When the build is done, they will automatically be decommissioned. No more static agents increasing your cloud spend and infrastructure resources.

Together, CloudBees helps you automate the optimization of your costs and resource utilization. You will have reached cost and resource zen. With hibernating controllers and ephemeral agents, you’ll only be paying for the infrastructure while you are using them. And when the work is complete, any unused agents or controller will be automatically destroyed or sent to sleep.

The tools to get savings and optimizing your resource utilization are at your fingertips. It’s up to you to start using them.

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