I’m sure that most people have heard of the Law of Unintended Consequences.
How often have we seen some promising new technology or gadget be used for more nefarious purposes?
For example, I am convinced that when Ernest Holmes invented the tow truck back in 1916, he had a higher purpose in mind than using them to shake down citizens for parking revenues, to fill municipal coffers.
Indeed, the Law of Unintended Consequences is always in the back of the minds of scientists, engineers, inventors and entrepreneurs as they bring new inventions and products to market. Will these products take on an unintended life of their own? Will they be used for good or for evil purposes?
Occasionally, though, something good is invented and users stumble upon an even better way of putting it to use, in a way the inventor never dreamed of.
Our Intention: Override for an Hour or So
A few months ago we released simple capability within ParkMyCloud called “Override”.
First some context: When you attach a parking schedule to an AWS instance, that schedule will enforce itself and maintain the desired instance state. When the schedule says an instance is supposed to be turned off, it will be off. When it is supposed to be on, it will be turned on.
That’s great for saving money on AWS instances that don’t need to be running 24×7, however, it can be problematic when a developer needs to come in on the weekend to get some work done and everything is turned off. Or they need to continue to work late on a weeknight, but a schedule is in place that shuts down development environments by 6 pm.
These common scenarios led several of our customers to ask us for a “override button” – the ability to suspend schedule action for a set period of time. So, we obliged.
In fact, we integrated that ability with on/off toggles, so that a developer can select a parked instance and hit the toggle button to turn it on. The system will prompt him/her, asking how long they want to suspend the schedule. It then snoozes the schedule for that period of time and starts the instance(s).
A New Twist: Parked By Default
Since we released the Start/Stop/Override functionality back in January of this year, a couple of our customers have taken the concept of saving money by parking instances to a whole new level.
They have taken the interesting approach of turning off ALL of their non-production environments so they are PARKED by default, using a single parking schedule. They then require their developers to individually override the schedule for the instance(s) they will be using for the amount of time they will be working.
Using this approach, these users have not only maximized their monthly savings, but they redeemed the time by avoiding the need to hammer out a set of parking schedules that suited everyone at the organizational level.
Bravo to them, on this innovative, out-of-the-box thinking!