Cristian Măgherușan-Stanciu is creating Open Source software - https://autospotting.org
9
patrons
$119
per month
Hi there,

This is Cristian, the main author and maintainer of AutoSpotting.

Q: What is AutoSpotting? 

A: It's an open source tool that can save you a lot of money on your AWS bills by automating the use of spot instances in your AutoScaling groups. You'll likely see your costs going down much like in this image:



Q: How much money can I save with it?

A: The savings over on-demand are often in the 60-90% range, depending on instance type, with averages around 70-75% commonly seen when deployed over multiple instance types and AWS accounts. Even when compared to the commonly used Reserved Instances it can reduce your bills by about 30-50%, without any commitment, capacity planning or tracking and with little additional risk.

The absolute number you will see depends on your total bills, for example a user reduced a $9000 monthly bill to just about $1700 by using AutoSpotting.

Q: How does it work and how is this different from other tools?

Unlike most tools in this space that need to be migrated from existing AutoScaling infrastructure with considerable effort, with AutoSpotting you can keep running the same groups, often without any configuration changes except for a simple tag set on them: Key="spot-enabled", Value="true" is all you need to get started.

Once installed it starts monitoring your existing groups and continuously replaces their nodes with spot instances when the spot market conditions are good and automatically falls back to on-demand instances in case the spot market terminates any of your spot instances.

All the AWS services integrating with AutoScaling are supported out of the box, so your lifecycle hooks, scaling policies, load balancers and so on would just work without any configuration changes. It automatically drains load balancer traffic if the connection draining is configured on them, supports ECS, Beanstalk and Kubernetes workloads (pretty much anything based on AutoScaling should just work), and it can even be installed to run as a Kubernetes cron job if that's your preferred option(also supports CloudFormation and Terraform and can run in a Docker container).

This requires very little setup effort, often just a few minutes. It is by default running in Lambda so it has negligible runtime costs and no vendor lock-in if that's concerning you. You can also enable or disable it easily, even against all the groups from your account(maybe with some blacklisted also by tags), which can be useful if you do a quick large-scale rollout against development environments. Other tools will require a considerable migration effort to achieve the same results, and also to migrate back if you decide for whatever reasons it's not working as you expected. Unlike any other tools out there, you can evaluate it indefinitely from official binaries as long as your monthly savings are below $1000.

Because AutoSpotting is open source software, it's fully auditable and if you or someone else you know is skilled enough, you can also compile it and use it for free or you can even tweak it to suit your own needs, which is not possible for any other closed source or SaaS tools out there, where you depend on the vendor for any software changes. If you need any special customizations or additional features I can also help you with this kind of work for a reasonable fee we both agree on.

AutoSpotting is currently being used at many well-known companies, including Disney, Expedia, Smugmug and Telefonica, and many of them said great things about it. You can also have a look at this blog post by Rancher Labs, one of the major Kubernetes vendors who recommends it to their customers, or see some testimonials of other happy users. Have a look on https://autospotting.org for more testimonials and high profile users. 

Q: How can I get started?

A: Since it's open source you can build and install it from source code, which will always be free of charge, but likely requires some setup, learning and fiddling time you or your employees are likely to better spend by doing something else more useful for your business.

The easiest way to get started is by using the evaluation binaries, so you won't need to spend any time fiddling with build tools and preparing the required infrastructure. These can be used free of charge  as long as your AWS bill is less than $1000 monthly, or otherwise for up to 14 days evaluation, then you need to acquire a corresponding stable license if you want to use them further. These are built from the latest trunk code so may sometimes be unstable or even broken, so in case you notice and report any problems on Github the free evaluation period is extended until your issue is fixed.

Install now the latest evaluation build.

For people who really value their time, we also have stable, production-grade, carefully tested binaries that come with enterprise support and even installation help, so you won't need to spend your time troubleshooting unstable trunk builds.

These are designed to be very inexpensive considering the time and money they can save you, but just enough for supporting the development effort. To get access to those you just need to become a Patron(see below) and pay a monthly subscription fee.

Q: How much do the stable binaries cost?

A: 
This kind of cost saving software is usually charged a percentage of your total savings, anywhere between 10% and 25%, often in the thousands of dollars monthly, which I consider a lot. That's actually one of the reasons why I started this project and made it open source in the first place.

But because it's open source and licensed under a very relaxed MIT license, some companies even forked this very software into closed source, and are charging as much as $21 monthly per EC2 instance for a slightly tweaked older version that's lacking a lot of the current capabilities, but sold with a huge marketing effort as if they invented all this and wrote it from scratch, without giving any attribution or contributing anything to the development effort. This is not so nice but it's allowed by the license and it turns out that there are people out there willing to pay for it and support this kind of behavior.

For the stable binaries I am offering support tiers for all sizes of organizations, starting from $20/AWS region monthly. This is a flat fee so you can run any number of instances and save as much as you can there, typically in the hundreds or thousands monthly, so this is often negligible considering your costs and achieved savings. We also have discounted tiers covering multiple regions, entire AWS accounts and even multiple AWS accounts.

To get back to the example I mentioned above, the company that reduced their AWS bill from $9000 monthly bill to just about $1700 is currently paying a $40 monthly subscription for the stable and supported binaries.

I'm offering this at a huge bargain because I work on this project mainly out of passion. I don't try to get rich out of this, just to make a small passive income for my family so I can somehow keep myself motivated to work on this continuously but also to justify to my wife spending time on this each week. I wish I would one day be able to work on this full time, once this becomes enough to pay my bills, but I'm not there yet, and I don't want to force this by increasing the price over what I find reasonable for my effort but also for users like you.

Note:
  • You can quit being a patron at any time, just don't forget to uninstall the licensed binaries.
  • If the available stable tiers don't match your infrastructure so well, please get in touch and we can agree on something. For example some users prefer a shared revenue scheme in which we split the savings for the first few months instead of paying the flat stable build fees.


Q: Why do you charge money for open source software?

A: I've been working on this project for about three years now, and it took a lot of time and effort to make this software as polished as it is today. In order to make this project sustainable for long term, I constantly need to spend time on it, often multiple hours daily.

With a small child I have a hard time justifying this time to my family if I can't bring something in return, such as some money that helps us paying some of our bills. So far I get about $120 monthly, which justifies a few hours of work each week, but I'd be able to work on it more if this amount increased significantly. What I earn out of this is peanuts considering my normal hourly rate and that companies typically save thousands with it, but this is my non-greedy way to sustain the current development effort so I can improve it further. But please also try not to be greedy yourself and give something back if you find this useful.

As I said this is fully open source, so you can run the open source code essentially for free, but it's up to you to set up a build environment, compile and run it as well as sometimes figure out issues in untested trunk code. If you have time for this by all means do it, it can be a lot of fun! But if you have other things on your plate just purchase the stable builds and get on with your life without spending any time on such tedious stuff and let me take care of all this. The evaluation builds and especially the stable binaries are designed for people who don't have time to spend on such activities, they are both easy to install with just a few clicks.

But even if you run your own open source build, if you really like the project and it saves you significant amounts of money please give back as much as you think is fair for the benefits this software brings you, any help is much appreciated.

The stable binaries have been tested extensively and come with support. They will save you more time and by the nature of the project also significant amounts of money. I spend a lot of time and some of my own money to make it all smooth for you and I'll do my best to help you roll it out and also if you run into any issues later on.

Q: What do I get in return?

A:
  • As soon as you join you will be given instructions to install the latest stable build, depending on the tier you chose, which you are licensed to use them for as long as you are a backer.
  • You are entitled to get support during installation and for any issues you encounter for as long as you are a backer.
  • You will be notified when it's recommended to update after major improvements and which builds are safe to use after I thoroughly tested them.
Note: The license only covers the size of the infrastructure specified in each tier you are paying for, the use beyond the licensed scope is not enforced at the moment in any way, but you're infringing the license terms, so you may want to avoid this if you care about copyright and legal compliance in your company, which I guess you often do.

Q: What are Stable builds?

A: They are production-grade builds of the AutoSpotting open source code (including those packaged as Docker images available on the DockerHub) that have been thoroughly tested and confirmed to work well, so you don't need to spend time testing the sometimes unstable trunk code to make sure that everything works as expected.

If you notice any problem with those I will handle this as a high priority issue and I'll do my best to solve it ASAP, usually within 24 hours.

Q: Is this the only way to get access to the stable builds and support?

A: We can also work on a one-off basis based on the generated savings. I would set it up on your infrastructure for up to half the generated savings for the first few months of usage, then you can run it for as long as you want, keeping all the savings generated thereafter. I am also available for support if you pay a small fixed monthly subscription via Patreon, which we agree based on your needs, plus a week worth of savings for each support case I handled for you.

Q: What if I have a question that wasn't answered here? 

This list is meant to be brief, so if you have any further questions you can have a look at the main FAQ of the project, but feel free to get in touch if you have a question that wasn't answered there.

Cheers,
Cristian 
Tiers
Single AWS Region
$20 or more per month 4 patrons
Stable build licensed to run against a single AWS region of your choice in an AWS account, supporting any number of AutoScaling groups you may have there,  for as long as you are a backer of this tier.


Note: the software is not enforcing this license in any way, so it can be enabled to run against more regions.  It's up to you to ensure compliance with the licensed limit.

Three AWS regions
$50 or more per month 0 patrons
Stable build licensed to run against any three AWS regions of your choice within a single AWS account, supporting any number of groups you may have there, for as long as you are a backer of this tier.


Note: the software is not enforcing this license in any way, so it can be enabled to run against more regions.  It's up to you to ensure compliance with the licensed limit.

Single AWS account
$80 or more per month 0 patrons
Stable build licensed to run against an unlimited number of AWS regions within a single AWS account, for as long as you are a backer of this tier.
5 AWS accounts
$350 or more per month 0 patrons
Stable build licensed to run against 5 AWS accounts for as long as you are a backer of this tier.
Goals
9 of 10 patrons
I have so many ideas to how to make AutoSpotting better!

With just a handful of users constantly supporting me I will be motivated enough to work on AutoSpotting on a weekly basis.
1 of 2
Hi there,

This is Cristian, the main author and maintainer of AutoSpotting.

Q: What is AutoSpotting? 

A: It's an open source tool that can save you a lot of money on your AWS bills by automating the use of spot instances in your AutoScaling groups. You'll likely see your costs going down much like in this image:



Q: How much money can I save with it?

A: The savings over on-demand are often in the 60-90% range, depending on instance type, with averages around 70-75% commonly seen when deployed over multiple instance types and AWS accounts. Even when compared to the commonly used Reserved Instances it can reduce your bills by about 30-50%, without any commitment, capacity planning or tracking and with little additional risk.

The absolute number you will see depends on your total bills, for example a user reduced a $9000 monthly bill to just about $1700 by using AutoSpotting.

Q: How does it work and how is this different from other tools?

Unlike most tools in this space that need to be migrated from existing AutoScaling infrastructure with considerable effort, with AutoSpotting you can keep running the same groups, often without any configuration changes except for a simple tag set on them: Key="spot-enabled", Value="true" is all you need to get started.

Once installed it starts monitoring your existing groups and continuously replaces their nodes with spot instances when the spot market conditions are good and automatically falls back to on-demand instances in case the spot market terminates any of your spot instances.

All the AWS services integrating with AutoScaling are supported out of the box, so your lifecycle hooks, scaling policies, load balancers and so on would just work without any configuration changes. It automatically drains load balancer traffic if the connection draining is configured on them, supports ECS, Beanstalk and Kubernetes workloads (pretty much anything based on AutoScaling should just work), and it can even be installed to run as a Kubernetes cron job if that's your preferred option(also supports CloudFormation and Terraform and can run in a Docker container).

This requires very little setup effort, often just a few minutes. It is by default running in Lambda so it has negligible runtime costs and no vendor lock-in if that's concerning you. You can also enable or disable it easily, even against all the groups from your account(maybe with some blacklisted also by tags), which can be useful if you do a quick large-scale rollout against development environments. Other tools will require a considerable migration effort to achieve the same results, and also to migrate back if you decide for whatever reasons it's not working as you expected. Unlike any other tools out there, you can evaluate it indefinitely from official binaries as long as your monthly savings are below $1000.

Because AutoSpotting is open source software, it's fully auditable and if you or someone else you know is skilled enough, you can also compile it and use it for free or you can even tweak it to suit your own needs, which is not possible for any other closed source or SaaS tools out there, where you depend on the vendor for any software changes. If you need any special customizations or additional features I can also help you with this kind of work for a reasonable fee we both agree on.

AutoSpotting is currently being used at many well-known companies, including Disney, Expedia, Smugmug and Telefonica, and many of them said great things about it. You can also have a look at this blog post by Rancher Labs, one of the major Kubernetes vendors who recommends it to their customers, or see some testimonials of other happy users. Have a look on https://autospotting.org for more testimonials and high profile users. 

Q: How can I get started?

A: Since it's open source you can build and install it from source code, which will always be free of charge, but likely requires some setup, learning and fiddling time you or your employees are likely to better spend by doing something else more useful for your business.

The easiest way to get started is by using the evaluation binaries, so you won't need to spend any time fiddling with build tools and preparing the required infrastructure. These can be used free of charge  as long as your AWS bill is less than $1000 monthly, or otherwise for up to 14 days evaluation, then you need to acquire a corresponding stable license if you want to use them further. These are built from the latest trunk code so may sometimes be unstable or even broken, so in case you notice and report any problems on Github the free evaluation period is extended until your issue is fixed.

Install now the latest evaluation build.

For people who really value their time, we also have stable, production-grade, carefully tested binaries that come with enterprise support and even installation help, so you won't need to spend your time troubleshooting unstable trunk builds.

These are designed to be very inexpensive considering the time and money they can save you, but just enough for supporting the development effort. To get access to those you just need to become a Patron(see below) and pay a monthly subscription fee.

Q: How much do the stable binaries cost?

A: 
This kind of cost saving software is usually charged a percentage of your total savings, anywhere between 10% and 25%, often in the thousands of dollars monthly, which I consider a lot. That's actually one of the reasons why I started this project and made it open source in the first place.

But because it's open source and licensed under a very relaxed MIT license, some companies even forked this very software into closed source, and are charging as much as $21 monthly per EC2 instance for a slightly tweaked older version that's lacking a lot of the current capabilities, but sold with a huge marketing effort as if they invented all this and wrote it from scratch, without giving any attribution or contributing anything to the development effort. This is not so nice but it's allowed by the license and it turns out that there are people out there willing to pay for it and support this kind of behavior.

For the stable binaries I am offering support tiers for all sizes of organizations, starting from $20/AWS region monthly. This is a flat fee so you can run any number of instances and save as much as you can there, typically in the hundreds or thousands monthly, so this is often negligible considering your costs and achieved savings. We also have discounted tiers covering multiple regions, entire AWS accounts and even multiple AWS accounts.

To get back to the example I mentioned above, the company that reduced their AWS bill from $9000 monthly bill to just about $1700 is currently paying a $40 monthly subscription for the stable and supported binaries.

I'm offering this at a huge bargain because I work on this project mainly out of passion. I don't try to get rich out of this, just to make a small passive income for my family so I can somehow keep myself motivated to work on this continuously but also to justify to my wife spending time on this each week. I wish I would one day be able to work on this full time, once this becomes enough to pay my bills, but I'm not there yet, and I don't want to force this by increasing the price over what I find reasonable for my effort but also for users like you.

Note:
  • You can quit being a patron at any time, just don't forget to uninstall the licensed binaries.
  • If the available stable tiers don't match your infrastructure so well, please get in touch and we can agree on something. For example some users prefer a shared revenue scheme in which we split the savings for the first few months instead of paying the flat stable build fees.


Q: Why do you charge money for open source software?

A: I've been working on this project for about three years now, and it took a lot of time and effort to make this software as polished as it is today. In order to make this project sustainable for long term, I constantly need to spend time on it, often multiple hours daily.

With a small child I have a hard time justifying this time to my family if I can't bring something in return, such as some money that helps us paying some of our bills. So far I get about $120 monthly, which justifies a few hours of work each week, but I'd be able to work on it more if this amount increased significantly. What I earn out of this is peanuts considering my normal hourly rate and that companies typically save thousands with it, but this is my non-greedy way to sustain the current development effort so I can improve it further. But please also try not to be greedy yourself and give something back if you find this useful.

As I said this is fully open source, so you can run the open source code essentially for free, but it's up to you to set up a build environment, compile and run it as well as sometimes figure out issues in untested trunk code. If you have time for this by all means do it, it can be a lot of fun! But if you have other things on your plate just purchase the stable builds and get on with your life without spending any time on such tedious stuff and let me take care of all this. The evaluation builds and especially the stable binaries are designed for people who don't have time to spend on such activities, they are both easy to install with just a few clicks.

But even if you run your own open source build, if you really like the project and it saves you significant amounts of money please give back as much as you think is fair for the benefits this software brings you, any help is much appreciated.

The stable binaries have been tested extensively and come with support. They will save you more time and by the nature of the project also significant amounts of money. I spend a lot of time and some of my own money to make it all smooth for you and I'll do my best to help you roll it out and also if you run into any issues later on.

Q: What do I get in return?

A:
  • As soon as you join you will be given instructions to install the latest stable build, depending on the tier you chose, which you are licensed to use them for as long as you are a backer.
  • You are entitled to get support during installation and for any issues you encounter for as long as you are a backer.
  • You will be notified when it's recommended to update after major improvements and which builds are safe to use after I thoroughly tested them.
Note: The license only covers the size of the infrastructure specified in each tier you are paying for, the use beyond the licensed scope is not enforced at the moment in any way, but you're infringing the license terms, so you may want to avoid this if you care about copyright and legal compliance in your company, which I guess you often do.

Q: What are Stable builds?

A: They are production-grade builds of the AutoSpotting open source code (including those packaged as Docker images available on the DockerHub) that have been thoroughly tested and confirmed to work well, so you don't need to spend time testing the sometimes unstable trunk code to make sure that everything works as expected.

If you notice any problem with those I will handle this as a high priority issue and I'll do my best to solve it ASAP, usually within 24 hours.

Q: Is this the only way to get access to the stable builds and support?

A: We can also work on a one-off basis based on the generated savings. I would set it up on your infrastructure for up to half the generated savings for the first few months of usage, then you can run it for as long as you want, keeping all the savings generated thereafter. I am also available for support if you pay a small fixed monthly subscription via Patreon, which we agree based on your needs, plus a week worth of savings for each support case I handled for you.

Q: What if I have a question that wasn't answered here? 

This list is meant to be brief, so if you have any further questions you can have a look at the main FAQ of the project, but feel free to get in touch if you have a question that wasn't answered there.

Cheers,
Cristian 

Recent posts by Cristian Măgherușan-Stanciu

Tiers
Single AWS Region
$20 or more per month 4 patrons
Stable build licensed to run against a single AWS region of your choice in an AWS account, supporting any number of AutoScaling groups you may have there,  for as long as you are a backer of this tier.


Note: the software is not enforcing this license in any way, so it can be enabled to run against more regions.  It's up to you to ensure compliance with the licensed limit.

Three AWS regions
$50 or more per month 0 patrons
Stable build licensed to run against any three AWS regions of your choice within a single AWS account, supporting any number of groups you may have there, for as long as you are a backer of this tier.


Note: the software is not enforcing this license in any way, so it can be enabled to run against more regions.  It's up to you to ensure compliance with the licensed limit.

Single AWS account
$80 or more per month 0 patrons
Stable build licensed to run against an unlimited number of AWS regions within a single AWS account, for as long as you are a backer of this tier.
5 AWS accounts
$350 or more per month 0 patrons
Stable build licensed to run against 5 AWS accounts for as long as you are a backer of this tier.