Heretto saves costs on Google Cloud & upgrading from VMs to containerization

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Heretto saves costs on Google Cloud & upgrading from VMs to containerization

Imagine publishing the same content in many places for different consumers. Customer service, technical teams, and users have overlapping interests regarding product information but at varying levels of detail. You’d need a great memory to remember what to write and where all these publication points are. Or you’d need a software-as-a-service (SaaS) like Heretto to enable this ability. 

“Heretto is a SaaS publishing tool; actually, it’s more sophisticated,” says Karin Cross-Smith, President of Heretto. “We built a publishing tool for customers to create, manage, and deploy their business’s content in a component content management system, breaking it down into bite-size pieces that can be used in many channels and across different audiences. One piece of content could be important for everybody from internal support to field techs to external customers.”

Customers as diverse as Allstate, Analog Devices, F5 Networks, and Motorola use Heretto. “A company like Allstate, for example, has help documentation about different types of insurance and coverage options,” says Cross-Smith. “Because insurance varies by state, they have different audiences. They use Heretto to address the different audiences and, depending on where you are–say California versus New York–you’re served certain information.”

Business challenge

As a cloud-native company, Heretto has always operated on Google Cloud. With an expanding base of high-profile clients, Heretto began to see they’d need a strategic provider to streamline support for themselves and their clients and start moving from virtual machines (VMs) to containerization. As their VMs increased, Heretto saw they needed to optimize their cloud computing spend.

“We realized we had support needs we could use help with,” says Cross-Smith. “We decided Heretto needed more guidance about which cloud technologies to implement and how to utilize them better to align our resources.” 

With business on the rise from high-profile brands, Heretto has been expanding their operations and, consequently, monthly cloud expenditures. “Our cloud spend continues to go up every month, and we need a better handle on it,” says Cross-Smith. “We must optimize our cloud cost structure.”

As designed, Heretto’s application backend is a Java-based monolith. In this configuration, the publishing tool couldn’t take advantage of scaling with variations in demand. “The holy grail of cloud computing is elasticity,” says Brian Foster, Director of Cloud Operations at Heretto. “That’s when we’re paying based on consumption, and we can spin resources up or down to meet demand.”

This led Heretto’s Development Group to work with a Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) environment to break up that monolith and rearchitect Heretto’s tool based on microservices. After a while, they encountered a situation not covered by release documentation. “Fairly quickly, they hit a wall in terms of getting Kubernetes to do and behave the way they thought it would,” says Foster.

Solution

As a Google Cloud direct customer, Heretto was always self-sufficient. After adding more household names to their client list, they had Google Cloud introduce them to SADA. As a three-time Google Cloud Reseller Partner of Year, SADA has the experience and expertise to help optimize Heretto’s cloud cost structure and advise them on their cloud stack choices.

We were struggling spinning up this new Kubernetes cluster and something wasn’t right, and we just couldn’t nail it; it was critical to a very important customer. We needed this resolved, so we reached out to SADA. Quickly, we got SADA and Google Cloud experts involved.

Karin Cross-Smith | President of Heretto

Heretto opened a support case for their Kubernetes instance and within fifteen minutes they were on a call with SADA and Google Cloud, brainstorming their approach to GKE. “Initially, there were six or seven of us on this call,” says Foster. “We were focused on sharing knowledge of what we’re doing, what we’re running into, and determining who could help us.”

After that call, Google Cloud reproduced Heretto’s Kubernetes environment and deduced that changing the capitalization of one letter in the YAML configuration file would enable Heretto to set up their GKE instance. “This was an edge case where this small piece of code within the Kubernetes cluster wasn’t working as expected,” says Foster. “It came down to one character–the proverbial needle in a haystack. Without help from SADA and Google Cloud, it would’ve taken us ten times longer to find it.”

To streamline their cloud spend, SADA worked with Heretto on several cost-saving initiatives. First, SADA set up Heretto as an enterprise-level customer and then provided guidance to show them how to operate their Google Cloud instances of Cloud Run, Cloud Functions, and GKE to achieve Committed Use Discounts (CUDs) and Sustained Use Discounts (SUDs). 

Results

As a result of working with SADA and Google Cloud, Heretto successfully began their journey from VMs to GKE. With their Kubernetes cluster in order after knowledge sharing with Google Cloud and SADA, Heretto put their GKE instance in production and met their customer’s launch date.

Not only did SADA align us with Google Cloud and the needed resources but also they stood by our side all throughout the solution process. SADA was there in the trenches with us, which is really cool.

Karin Cross-Smith | President of Heretto

Heretto now has the tools to continue rearchitecting its application into smaller microservices, which will enable them to move toward on-demand consumption. “With a monolith, it’s difficult for your application to respond elastically to demand because you have to provision for peak usage,” says Foster. “Your system has to be able to run at that level, so you overprovision for CPU, RAM, and storage. Now, we’ll be able to have a pool of GKE nodes that can expand and contract as different functions in our application are executed more than others.”

With elastic scalability, Heretto only pays for what they run at any given moment. “Then we can spin down resources during lulls in demand and ramp them up at peak demand,” says Foster. “That’s where we’re driving our Google Cloud microservices effort, with the guidance of SADA.”

Combining their status as an enterprise-level SADA customer with CUD and SUD adjustments to their Google Cloud consumption, Heretto achieved over 30% cost savings on their cloud spend. “Every month Heretto is saving almost one-third right off the top,” says Foster. 

“We’ve realized great savings with SADA’s help,” says Cross-Smith. “And we’ve gotten good guidance on how to optimize operations, some of which we haven’t fully taken advantage of yet, such as working with SADA’s Fintech people.”

In the future, Heretto may take part in SADA’s Cloud FinOps Experience Lab to optimize and measure their Google Cloud spend even more.

/ AT A GLANCE

SAVED >30% on cloud costs

MOVED From VMs to GKE

If I left Heretto to start another software company, I’d go right back to Google Cloud, and SADA would be the first call I’d make to help me get my Google Cloud instance set up. Everything that SADA has helped us take advantage of has met or exceeded Heretto’s expectations.

— Karin Cross-Smith | President at Heretto

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