Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take for me to set up GorillaStack?

5 minutes is all you need to get yourself up and running. No hidden gotchas, or tricky configrations – just a few minutes of your time to get everything setup.

What does GorillaStack set up involve?

To get setup, you will need to have administrative credentials for the AWS console or specific permissions which allow you to create IAM Roles. Other than that, you need 5 minutes and a desire to be a DevOps hero!

Are there any security risks with setting up GorillaStack? How do I know I can trust you?

We only ever ask for permissions that we need and follow least privilege principles with granular policies in AWS. We use cross account access in AWS which means that you are only giving permissions to our account and we can’t hand off your credentials to anybody you haven’t authorized. For further piece of mind, we only ever use temporarily generated credentials so you don’t need to worry about your precious access keys being stored. Setting up this way means we can only do the things we need too in AWS to help manage your billing and implement cost savings on resources you define. You have peace of mind that your credentials aren’t being stored or shared with third parties, and if at any time you want to discontinue using our services, you can easily remove our access permanently with a couple of clicks.

Which cloud services can I use with GorillaStack?

Currently we work with Amazon Web Services. You can Power Cycle Amazon EC2 instances, and Power Scale for any autoscaling group. You can receive cost alerts for all Amazon Web Services products.

Do you plan to build out any other products?

Yes, we’re focused on building anything that we think can help you make your cloud architecture more efficient – either from a financial or operational point of view. We currently have a few exciting new products in development so watch this space for more amazing tools for optimising your cloud.

Can I invite people to collaborate with me and view my accounts?

Yes, you can – we’ve built in granular permissions so that you can control who can see particular alerts and who can make changes to your infrastructure.

What happens if I don't want to use the service any more?

It’s simple, you just delete your account and we will no longer have access to your data. For further piece of mind you should also delete the role you created in your AWS account when setting up your account.

Are the alerts periodic or based on a threshold?

The choice is yours! You can get alerts based on when your services (or a combination of your services) pass your own defined thresholds. You can also get updated on a regular basis. Set up your preferences. Customise your alerts to meet your needs.

How does GorillaStack work? What logic does it use and how I can configure it?

If you use the help bar in the bottom left of the app you'll find a handy short explanation for how each product works. In terms of logic, most users find that it helps them to have a play around with the product in a free trial. Essentially customers can set their own logic by timing, tag, auto scaling group, location, timezone and some other metrics. If you want a quick heads-up before you dive in, here is a brief summary of what each product does with some shortcuts to our help articles:

  • Dashboard: Monitor costs from multiple accounts from one screen.
  • Alerts: Keep on top of your spend with rich alerts via SMS, Slack, Hipchat or Slack.
  • Power Cycle: Save money and resources by turning off EC2 instances when they're not in use.
  • Power Scale: Schedule your auto scaling with sophisticated controls.

Additionally, for Power Scale, you can read a good synopsis at our blog post about Power Scale and its enhanced scheduled auto scaling.

How does Power Cycle work?

With Power Cycle, you are able to define a schedule which you want your machines running on. Power up your instances when you need them and them off when you don't, so you don't pay precious money for redundant space in the cloud. For example, you might decide that you want to power off all of your development servers at 7PM and start them back up 8AM on weekdays. Power cycle can automate this process, so that it all happens without any manual effort. That way, services can be available for your developers when they need them, but you wont be paying for server time that you dont intend to use.

What level of granularity can I get with Power Cycling?

Power cycles can be set up for any instance in any region. In GorillaStack, you select your regions by a ‘GorillaStack’ tag on the instance and set the schedule for each region. The timezone for each region can be customised from the region default, to give you as much flexibility as possible and reduce the need for tricky timezone calculations. When the schedule activates in each region, all matching instances will be stopped or started as configured.

How does Power Scale work?

Power Scale operates on a similar design to Power Cycle, but works with your auto-scaling groups to create added efficiencies. At a high level, Power Scale appears to work in the same way as Power Cycle, but under the hood it is slightly different. On a schedule that you define, you can change your auto-scaling configuration to terminate servers in a given auto-scaling group and then create a fresh batch when you want them to come back. It might sound a little scary, but that's the way that auto-scaling is designed – when AWS auto-scaling wants to create a new server it uses your preconfigured launch configuration, so you can terminate and create servers without worrying about losing your precious set-up. Terminating unnecessary servers in your auto-scaling groups on a schedule can allow you to make significant cost savings in AWS.

What level of granularity can I get with Power Scaling?

Power Scales can be set up for any auto scaling group in any region. In GorillaStack, you select your regions by a tag on the auto scaling group and set the schedule for each region. The timezone for each region can be customised from the region default, to give you as much flexibility as possible and reduce the need for tricky timezone calculations. When the schedule activates in each region, all matching auto scaling groups will have their scaling parameters updated as configured.

What info does my sysadmin needs to know so they dont freak out when new instances spin up?

They probably just need to know that you are using GorillaStack to automate efficiencies in your cloud setup. The best way to do this is by using our Slack or Hipchat notifications which will tell your SysAdmin when these configurations occur, or even just our SMS / Email service which does the same thing. One of the many benefits is that you can even set how much notice you get in advance, and can snooze or cancel the configuration.

If there are issues with a server within the cluster, what info do they have or need in order to apply changes across all of those that have been spun up?

GorillaStack just needs to know the tags of the instances that you wish to apply changes to, its that simple!

What shouldn't a sysadmin touch if I'm using your product?

A sysadmin probably shouldn't cycle or scale from within the AWS CLI / Console if you're using GorillaStack. It won't break anything but it will make some of your configurations a little more complicated to manage. Besides, GorillaStack is generally more flexible and easier to use than the AWS tools in the same domain.

What are some success stories?

We have a number of clients (some quite high profile) who are seeing double digit % savings month on month. We will be putting out their case studies shortly when we have their testimonials lined up.

How do we calculate the ROI vs the normal spike allowance on AWS servers?

We have a couple of ways of determining this, but it makes sense to run for a period of time and then compare to the previous period. Obviously there will be other influences, but it should be pretty clear. We find our 30 day free trial gives most of our users enough time to see the value that we provide. We're pretty confident in our ROIs.

What's the difference between AWS native auto scaling & Power Scale?

There are 7 key enhancements to the AWS offering that makes Power Scale first choice ahead of AWS. We highly recommend that you read our blog for more info on how GorillaStack can turbo charge the scheduling of your auto scaling configurations. Essentially GorillaStack provides the following enhancements:

  1. Schedule multiple regions
  2. Schedule multiple groups
  3. Schedule by tag
  4. Snooze and cancel scheduled changes
  5. Rich integration with Slack & Hipchat
  6. No monthly limits
  7. Schedule in your local timezone

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