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Ibotta Gains Deeper Visibility into Spending and Grows Business Using Apptio Cloudability in AWS Marketplace

 

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

Ron White
Vice President of Engineering, Ibotta

Executive Summary

Ibotta gains better visibility into AWS costs, saves $1 million and fuels business growth by using Apptio Cloudability on AWS. The Colorado-based organization provides a mobile app that consumers use to get cash back on purchases with receipt and/or purchase verification. Ibotta takes advantage of the AWS-based Apptio Cloudability solution, available through AWS Marketplace, to get detailed reports about AWS spending and usage.

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.”

The Solution

Getting Detailed Spending and Usage Reports Through Apptio Cloudability

To solve the problem, Ibotta turned to Apptio Cloudability, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner, that offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for analyzing AWS spending and usage. The Apptio Cloudability solution is available through AWS Marketplace, a curated digital catalog listing over 4,200 software offerings from popular software vendors. By purchasing Apptio Cloudability on 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 of Cloudability. “All it takes is a few clicks, so customers can see the value of our solution much faster.”

Ibotta uses the Apptio Cloudability True Cost cloud management platform to create detailed AWS spending and usage reports using a centralized, point-andclick analytics interface. By using Apptio 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 pricing. Ibotta also uses Apptio Cloudability to reserve provisioned throughput on the Amazon DynamoDB database service.

Automating Spending Analysis

Using Apptio Cloudability, Ibotta has much greater and more accurate visibility into its AWS spending, all from a single dashboard within the Apptio Cloudability user interface. “With Apptio 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 Apptio 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 Apptio Cloudability’s anomaly detection, which is driven by machine learning, Ibotta can also more easily control its costs. “Using Apptio Cloudability, we discovered a misconfigured gateway in our AWS infrastructure that would have cost us $15,000 in one month,” says White. “Apptio Cloudability flagged that as a high-expense resource within a day of it showing up in the software, so we avoided that expense.”

The Results

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 $1million,” 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.”

Making Smarter Business Decisions

Ibotta also expects to make better business decisions because of the increased AWS usage visibility it now has. “Apptio 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 Apptio 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 Apptio Cloudability bring us in the future.”

Read more about how Ibotta Saves $1 Million on Emerge.

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