Healthcare startup Qcentive is the creator of a cloud-based platform that allows healthcare organizations to create and manage value-based contracts and the company was one of the first to be authorized to use healthcare data in the cloud.
Qcentive is HIPAA compliant certified and has implemented a range of safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of health data. The organization uploads patient and healthcare contract records to AWS, where the company’s application can access the data. The platform allows health plan clients and value-based contracting providers to manage and analyze claims data and patient records.
While the platform was being developed, Qcentive uploaded a considerable volume of patient and claim information to AWS and created AWS resources as needed. It did not take long for its AWS bills to spiral. Qcentive looked for a way to control its AWS costs, such as rightsizing resources and utilizing Reserved Instances. That saved around 30%-40% on their on-demand EC2 expenses. However, the use of Reserved Instances was far from an ideal solution, as they call for a long-term commitment to achieve the cost benefits and do not give companies the flexibility that is often needed.
Qcentive was running its instances 24/7 and costs are charged per minute for its resources, even if those resources were not being used. The company played around with turning off resources by employing standard AWS tools and restarting them when necessary. That approach lacked versatility and greater user management was required.
The company looked for an alternative tool that made it possible to automate scheduling of AWS resources. ParkMyCloud provided the solution. The company’s platform allowed Qcentive to schedule its instances and automate turning them off and on. Qcentive’s instances now run 12 hours per day rather than 24 hours, slashing in half the company’s cloud fees.
Utilizing the platform for automating and scheduling resources gave an instant 20% reduction in AWS costs, while keeping versatile access for its customers. Schedules are assigned to resources as standard, with them normally operating 12 hours per day from Monday to Friday. In case access to resources is needed beyond the scheduled time, such as during weekend, it is easy to switch resources back on and override the schedule. This can be done through an easy to use mobile app.
Currently the company is scheduling all AWS instances, databases and auto-scaling groups and turns instances on whenever there’s a workload to handle. About 40%-50% of Qcentive’s resources are now just running from Monday to Friday, leading to significant savings. The price of ParkMyCloud is covered by the savings which have been realized, and the company now saves a lot more than when using Reserved Instances.
Bill Gullicksen, Qcentive’s IT Director, acknowledges that Reserved Instances are great, but if you have to modify the size of something, you’ll end up with a lot of underutilized resources. But with ParkMyCloud, it’s different. You get the cost benefits while still having the flexibility.