Weathering an Economic Downturn: How Cycle Can Help Your Business Survive
In the last month, we’ve seen one of the most dramatic movements in economic activity ever recorded. Many business owners are clutched in the grips of mandatory closures and uncertainty of the future, for their business and for their employees.
The tech world has been hit less hard — at least for now. Remote work is second nature to many of us and offering our products in the digital space means we are open for business. As the economic ripples of this downturn start to take effect on the consumer, undoubtedly spending will slow and digital companies will have to start considering longevity tactics.
As the CTO of a company whose clients are seeing both ends of this spectrum, I’d like to share my thoughts on how, in this time of turmoil, you can use Cycle to navigate your application and infrastructure management in a world where your team may fluctuate in size and role in the coming years.
During economic downturns — each team member will need to do the work of what used to be several. With this shift in focus, every bottleneck in your current system will exacerbate employees’ ability to get work done.
So what can Cycle do to ensure that your technical team is able to handle a fluctuating level of responsibilities as your business is forced to adjust to economic tides?
- Eliminate Complexity
- Refocus Team Building
- Reduce Risk
From the early days of developing the platform, Cycle has been built with an emphasis on simplicity and standardization. Instead of supporting hundreds of features, we focus on the features that 90% or more of our users will utilize.
As Cycle continues to grow, our team goes to great lengths to ensure a proper balance exists between keeping things simple while still allowing customization. Regardless of the underlying infrastructure provider, or whether the server is a virtual machine or a physical box, all container deployments are created and managed the exact same way. Many areas of the platform also have a sort of duopoly — basic features are quickly and easily accessible, while the more advanced user may wish to dive into some more complicated configurations that are tucked behind “advanced” menus.
By building this foundation, Cycle enables our customers to standardize their applications and deployments as well. Instead of producing unique scripts and deployment processes for differing clouds, developers can simply upload their container images, attach a config, and let the platform take care of the rest.
Automation Out of the Box
With our aim to provide a stable and simplified user experience, the platform is designed to automate a number of repetitive tasks “out of the box” or without major configuration changes.
Some of these repetitive tasks include:
- Creating public and private networks between containers, servers, and providers
- Configuring services such as load balancers, discovery, or VPNs
- Orchestrating containers across servers based on resource density, high availability, or first available.
- Managing DNS records
- Generating and configuring TLS certificates
All of the above is fully abstracted. Other than pressing a few buttons or changing a selection from a dropdown menu, your team won’t have to worry about these tedious operational tasks — turning what used to take hours and a specialist into a job any developer can quickly complete in minutes.
Optimizing server utilization can be complex and time-intensive, but is a necessary step towards cost reduction during an economic downturn. While removing infrastructure can lower spend, sometimes, due to compliance or redundancy requirements, you’re unable to shutdown infrastructure. In these cases, opportunities shift more towards optimizing the resources you do have. By pairing containers with Cycle’s deployment strategies, organizations can greatly increase the utilization of their underlying infrastructure. Instead of running dozens, or hundreds, of servers that might be utilizing 40% of their resources, Cycle makes it easy to consolidate, without adding complexity, therefore lowering costs.
Once you’ve deployed, you’ll have up to the minute observability through Cycle’s infrastructure dashboard and server telemetry pages. This will give you quick insights on your optimizations and allow your team to keep a close eye on usage metrics and allocations.
Refocus Team Building
During economic downturns, most businesses will be forced to reevaluate their spending. While many organizations can survive by simply reducing extra expenditures, others may, unfortunately, need to lay off staff. Laying off talented team members is a terrible feeling for anyone. In my time as CTO, it’s something I’ve personally dealt with and it’s not pleasant.
Managing applications on Cycle enables these organizations to approach hiring with more focus. For many of our current clients that means more hiring directly in their niche.
Consider the hiring priority of an AI company, who may want to bring on an additional AI engineer but feels like they are weak in DevOps. With Cycle, they are free to hire that specialized engineer, while without the platform they may feel compelled to bring on someone that is more of a generalist.
Cycle removes your dependence on the person “that does everything” when it comes to operations. While it’s incredibly useful to have senior-level operations engineers, it can be crippling to depend on a single person as the guardian of your applications’ uptime and deployment . With Cycle, you’ll no longer have this dependence.
This point was proven last year when, while in the process of onboarding a client, their lead (and only) DevOps engineer quit. Luckily they had already moved all services to Cycle and, thus, were able to train another engineer on the platform in about 2 days — this quick transition meant zero downtime for their applications.
Times of uncertainty are always difficult for businesses. Although there are always measures organizations can take to become more efficient and kickstart growth, it’s important to also mitigate risk.
As already mentioned in the sections above, Cycle can reduce risk by removing complexity, adding standardization, and minimizing talent or knowledge gaps within your team. While all of these things are incredibly important, it’s also critical to ensure that your organization doesn’t lose stability in the process of making those changes — whether that’s stability with personal or with your applications themselves.
Utilizing Cycle can aid in mitigating downtime risk through automated container monitoring, and its suite of deployment and debugging tools. For example, should a container process crash without being told to stop, Cycle will automatically restart it within a second while also logging a restart notification. Additionally, the platform’s integrated load balancers will automatically remove any failed container instances from your available pool ensuring your visitors are always hitting available resources.
Check out this snippet from a featured customer story, talking about Cycle’s aptitude for the prevention and correction of revenue loss.
Good Luck Out There, We’re Here to Help
I hope that in reading this I have helped you in some way. If you think that the Cycle platform would help your organization, reach out to us through our slack channel. Our community is growing, and our team hangs out there daily. Feel free to drop a message any time with your questions and we’ll be sure to respond!
Of course, for a more in-depth look at how to use Cycle, check out our main documentation.