Josiah Haswell, co-founder and chief technology officer, and Lisa Gumerman, co-founder and CEO, of Sunshower.io Courtesy Sunshower.io

Startup navigates cloud computing world

FORT COLLINS — A Northern Colorado startup is looking to make it easier to determine how much cloud computing a small- or medium-sized business needs — and to make sure it’s not overpaying for it.

Sunshower.io has figured out the complicated calculus of how much cloud computing a company actually needs — ensuring it’s not buying an option too big for its needs and ultimately spending too much on a service it’s not using to capacity.

The company has gotten attention for its work – it recently was the second-place winner at the Pitch No.CO competition at Fort Collins Startup Week.

Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing services, such as processing power or applications or other needs. Rather than owning all of that computer infrastructure or data centers, companies can rent access. A major user of cloud computing is Netflix, and popular providers are Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. Cloud computing is a little different than what people usually think of when they think of “the cloud.” In that case, they are commonly thinking of cloud storage, but cloud computing is the active use of computer processing and software running, just on servers not owned by the user company.

But selecting how much cloud computing a small- or medium-sized business should purchase can be a difficult thing to calculate accurately.

“Just like when you’re buying a laptop, you might not know what specs you really need,” CEO and co-founder Lisa Gumerman told BizWest. “You might say Apple is fine, I’ll roll with it. But just like how laptops can get expensive, so can all these computers in the cloud.”

Those computers in the cloud, called instances, can be easy to lose track of. Sunshower’s goal is to help a business keep track of them, but also save money on using them.

“We found that we can save people more than 40 percent on their monthly cloud computing bill,” Gumerman said.

Companies can manage their cloud computing on their own, but it can often be difficult and confusing. Pricing models are also confusing.

To make it simpler for clients, Sunshower looks at the metadata about a customer’s system — data already collected by Amazon Web Services — and views it across eight different dimensions. Things like storage space, memory, networking are all taken into consideration to figure out the shape of a client’s workload. Based on that shape and some proprietary machine learning, Sunshower can figure out the best size and type of instances for that workload.

The company is targeting startup, scaleup and small- to medium-sized businesses. These companies, Gumerman said, can be spending anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 per month or more on cloud computing, which adds up.

“It’s about one headcount per month, really,” Gumerman said. “Because we have no upfront cost we can target that market, which is underserved. People throw money at the problem [of cloud computing] and then raise another round to cover the costs. But people don’t have to throw money at the problem.”

Actually calculating how much cloud computing a company needs, rather than just purchasing the most available, is Sunshower’s secret sauce, but Gumerman said the company uses various available metrics. The company views those metrics over a period of time — usually a month — and then quantifies how much computing a company is really using. Finding that information can be difficult, Gumerman said, which is why many companies don’t do it for themselves. Tack onto that challenges in running it against a pricing catalog, which can require some complicated math to figure out the best purchase for a company. For example, the best price per unit will be purchasing the biggest instance. It’s cheaper to buy in bulk. But that’s not necessarily the right, most optimal fit for every company. Many companies do not need that much cloud computing.

“As an engineer, you don’t know what resources you need,” Gumerman said.

Gumerman compared it to knowing you need fliers to get out the word about a show, but don’t know exactly how many you need to get the word out to the right number of people. You could print 5,000 and be certain you have enough. But perhaps you only needed 100. Sunshower helps companies calculate the exact amount they so that they pay for that amount and not for too many.

“It’s so common that people do this; they routinely overspend on cloud computing,” Gumerman said.

Some companies, such as Netflix, are big enough to be able to say that whatever they spend on cloud computing is the cost of doing business. Other large companies are able to hire a dedicated account manager to do these calculations and monitoring in-house. But for small companies, saving on cloud computing can be monumental for their businesses. The $1 million they’ve raised doesn’t have to be spent on cloud computing for $25,000 a month but for much less, with the rest going to payroll and other needs.

Looking ahead, Gumerman expects a lot of possibilities for Sunshower. The company recently came in second place at the pitch competition for Fort Collins Startup Week. In March it hit its one-year anniversary and the company is in a pretrial period until June. It’s already helping people save money on their Amazon Web Services cloud bills and has plans to roll out the same services for companies using Google Cloud later this year.

FORT COLLINS — A Northern Colorado startup is looking to make it easier to determine how much cloud computing a small- or medium-sized business needs — and to make sure it’s not overpaying for it.

Sunshower.io has figured out the complicated calculus of how much cloud computing a company actually needs — ensuring it’s not buying an option too big for its needs and ultimately spending too much on a service it’s not using to capacity.

The company has gotten attention for its work – it recently was the second-place winner at the Pitch No.CO competition at Fort Collins Startup Week.

Cloud computing is the delivery of on-demand computing services, such as processing power or applications or other needs. Rather than owning all of that computer infrastructure or data centers, companies can rent access. A major user of cloud computing is Netflix, and popular providers are Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. Cloud computing is a little different than what people usually think of when they think of “the cloud.” In that case, they are commonly thinking of cloud storage, but cloud computing is the active use of computer processing and software running, just on servers not owned by the user company.

But selecting how much cloud computing a small- or medium-sized business should purchase can be a difficult thing to calculate accurately.

“Just like when you’re buying a laptop, you might not know what specs you really need,” CEO and…