Case Study

How Ziff Davis Manages Subsidiaries and Improves Cloud Visibility and Governance

Automated Workflows
CloudHealth identifies and deletes unused EBS volumes, saving around $400 a month
Financial Accountability
Ziff Davis has consolidated cost reports to track monthly budgets, pinpoint anomalies, and drive team accountability
Proactive Governance
With the ability to identify untagged or mistagged assets, Ziff Davis can improve resource hygiene

Media Giant Ziff Davis is world-famous for distributing premium content related to technology, gaming, entertainment, and men’s lifestyle. Spanning 112 countries and reaching tens of millions of individuals around the globe, some of its best known digital properties include PCMag, AskMen, and IGN.

Ziff Davis faces challenges with cloud

Part of Ziff Davis’ evolution involves acquiring other media companies, many of which are hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Over time, this made AWS management extremely complex, “managing the cloud environments across all our subsidiaries and lines of business simply with the AWS Management Console was not sustainable,” said Charmaine Honeycutt, Systems Administrator for Ziff Davis. “Over time, the sprawl grew out of control. We needed a product that would give us a centralized view of all that activity.”

Finding a solution

Acting as a single pane of glass, CloudHealth equips Ziff Davis with the visibility and insight they need to effectively manage their cloud infrastructure through policy-setting and governance. “We have weekly alerts set up for things like detached EBS volumes and disassociated Elastic IP addresses, which previously were not tracked at all,” says Charmaine.

ziff davis cloudhealth

The results

At Ziff Davis, RI management has changed drastically since bringing CloudHealth on board. “Previously, we did manual analysis on more than 200 RIs. I’d dedicate at least one day per week to the process.”

Additional benefits of the platform include:

  • A cost history report that shows consolidated costs across the entire infrastructure and lines of business. “We use it to drive accountability – tracking monthly progress and also pinpointing anomalies.”
  • Automation of operational tasks to better optimize their environment. “We’ve set up automated workflows to delete unused EBS volumes. That alone saves us around 400 dollars a month. We had no way of doing that previously, and no way to track elastic IPs, either.”
  • Rightsizing analysis for EC2 and EBS, which alerts them if instances haves less than 5% utilization, so they can investigate terminating them. Charmaine estimates they find at least one “zombie” per month.
  • Integrations with CloudTrail, New Relic, and Datadog. “This gives us extra performance metrics for a more well-rounded view, and offers additional insight that isn’t available without an agent,” says Scott Nesmith, the Director of Technology at IGN.
  • Business Perspectives allow for precision reporting, so different groups of key stakeholders see only the information they care about.
  • Tag enforcement. With the ability to identify untagged or mistagged assets, Ziff Davis can be more proactive on governance.