bright ideas

Does "free credit" really mean free?

Or is it a little unicorn laughing its rainbow coloured balls off at you?

The day starts off normal enough. In between your refund from Ashley Madison and your Grab One gluten free, organic, hypoglycemic bean curd by-product protein bars offer (yes you CAN spend 14 hours a day at your ergo desk and still get a six pack), you spot it - FREE PUBLIC CLOUD CREDIT.

It must have been from the IT expo you recently attended and strategically placed your business card in every receptacle. Holy mother of %Public_Cloud_Vendor%, something FREE. US$$$ Public Cloud credit!

“Amazeballs” your inner Kardashian cries, “Bl&%dy AWESOME” your pudgy IT exterior exclaims. It couldn’t be easier. Click link, enter work email address (secure enough for Ashley Madison so surely secure enough for this reputable provider), and complete your profile. Enter your credit card details, safe in the knowledge that you won’t exceed the FREE credit and therefore incur any additional charges. It’s an innate financial knack you possess. After all, why pay $7.50 for the meatball sub on Thursday when it’s the “sub of the day” for $5 on Tuesday! You know you can beat %Public_Cloud_Vendor% on this one. You’ll use only the credited amount and not a shekel more.

Done. You have an account! It couldn’t be easier. You secretly bemoan GUI usability and yearn for the days when IT was more complicated and other people couldn’t participate in the dark art. You salivate as your spin up FREE virtual machines. Ah, the options available. The cloud services, the batch services the object storage. You don’t even know what that is but you’ll have it - blimey you’ll have two.

Be still your beating heart, you see Ubuntu, Suse and Puppet in the provisioning gallery. Shifting slightly in your faux leather executive 5240A office recliner (you are Team Leader after all) you launch multiple instances and BASH away. 

But wait, now the virtual machines are running you can view PERFORMANCE. The available monitoring at your opposable thumbs take you to heights of euphoria you have not experienced since you beat Kevin from Data Protection at Duke Nukem. DASHBOARDS! Finally a use for the 640x480 capable projector you bought on TradeMe while searching for parts for your 1971 Suzuki TM400 Cyclone. Admittedly you are still trying to convince the company of the value of projecting largely useless information on the blank wall of an office that is aesthetically reminiscent of an off-shore call centre without the “love you long time” sentiment.

You are in, you are done. The cloud is yours. You are a GOD. Your cloud prowess becomes legendary in the office and it’s NOT COSTING YOU A CENT.

<insert time period> …(but less than 30 days)

Your pocket vibrates. Mick Jagger sings “Get off of my cloud” from your pants. You let it ring awhile. It doesn’t hurt to let the office know how awesome you are. It’s a message from your banking app. A new charge of US$120 has just gone on your credit card. That’s unusual. You open the app on your iWatch. The charge is from %Public_Cloud_Vendor% for “Public Cloud something something….” You can’t read it because the screen on your iWatch is too small, but other than strapping your iPad onto your arm which would be stupid because then how would you tell the time. Duh! How is this charge possible? You had FREE credit?

You begin your “Understanding Public Cloud billing” odyssey. You discover that the charges are based on a proportion of the individual consumption metrics per 0.000001 based on the Gregorian calendar converted to UTC, taking into account the price of dairy and the proposed TPP levy (has the digital GST levy kicked in yet?). And that’s the easy bit, your hex calculator won’t help you here. 

Next step you download the billing CSV. You attempt to open the file in Office 365 Excel. After 10 minutes of “not responding” you uninstall Office and reinstall the 64bit version praying you don’t exceed the 1,048,576 row limitation.

You are a clever guy. You are an IT PROFESSIONAL, your business card even has your picture on it. But the contents of this CSV make you feel as incompetent as you did when you in-place-upgraded your XP desktop to Vista. Oh how Barry smirked at you over the brushed chrome of his Sony Vaio OEM preloaded laptop.

Right - quit, cancel, danger Will Robinson. There’s nothing to be done but shut this thang down. You stop all your virtual machines in the benign hope that the charges will stop. But you didn’t deallocate did you? Rookie mistake.

That’s it. There’s nothing to be done. Backup the internet and go home because Mum has dinner on the table and Two and a Half Men are repeating Season 23 Ep 18. A cracker ep by anyone’s standards (in your industry).


Next blog topic: How to cancel a Public Cloud subscription. This will involve many dodgy quality VoIP phone calls, covering all continents on the planet twice, and you will hear the phrase "Can I help you with anything else" (even after they HAVEN'T helped you) more times that %Public_Cloud_Vendor% releases security bulletins.

Disclaimer: This blog is certainly in jest. It highlights that although Public Cloud platforms can be a very powerful tool, there is a real need to understand how to use it and how to control consumption. Fortunately, ViFX can assist you by ensuring you get the most out of your Public Cloud consumption, whilst controlling your spend. Click here for more information.

Mona de Plumo

Author: Mona de Plumo

06 October 2015 / 0 Comments