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AWS Well-Architected Review: Amazon EC2 and CloudTrail

A Story of Owning Change

About F5

F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), headquartered in Seattle, makes apps faster, smarter and safer for the world’s largest businesses, service providers, governments and consumer brands. F5 delivers cloud and security solutions that enable organizations to embrace the application infrastructure they choose without sacrificing speed and control.

red and white f5 logo

1Strategy’s AWS Well-Architected Review provided an outstanding return on investment for F5 Networks … and ultimately enabled us to simplify, better secure and cost optimize our use of AWS.

—Michael K. Mitchell , Senior Director, Product Development, F5 Networks, Inc.

The Challenge

F5’s development team was looking to reduce their AWS account operating costs and chose 1Strategy to evaluate their AWS architecture to maximize the value of their AWS solutions and help ensure they were indeed well-architected. 1Strategy is one of approximately 10 AWS Partners globally who are qualified to conduct a Well-Architected Review—an evaluation of an architectural workload against AWS best practices—and provide guidance on addressing potential issues. The review uncovered several challenges for the F5 development team, including:

  • Identifying cost savings and cost-optimization strategies
  • Delivering auditing capabilities through AWS CloudTrail

Why Amazon Web Services

F5 offers a number of specialized solutions in the AWS Marketplace. They approached 1Strategy in 2017 with interest in identifying cost savings, cost-optimization strategies and auditing capabilities (through AWS CloudTrail) of their development team’s cloud environment and wanted best practices guidance from 1Strategy’s AWS experts.

The Benefits

1Strategy worked closely with the AWS account team in suggesting improvements and best practices that applied to F5’s particular requirements: cost savings and log tracking.

“1Strategy’s AWS Well-Architected Review provided an outstanding return on investment for F5 Networks,” said Michael K. Mitchell, senior director of product development at F5. “The individuals that we collaborated with during this engagement provided excellent service on top of their expert knowledge and ability to understand our business processes and workflows with AWS.”

Cost Savings and Optimization

1Strategy identified meaningful cost savings, including minimizing the usage cost of Amazon EC2 instances and maximizing their utilization and performance. Previously, F5’s development team was only using Amazon EC2 On-Demand instances for testing their applications. Consequently, AWS expenditures were not optimized; they were not taking advantage of spot pricing and were using over-provisioned instances. 1Strategy recommended that the company’s development team begin using Spot Instances and automating provisioning and stop using instances based on time limits. These things could significantly reduce the cost for F5 to run their applications. By using Spot instances, 1Strategy explained—and justified—that F5’s developers could satisfy the ability to test their applications in AWS while saving 60% or more compared with On-Demand pricing.

In addition to leveraging Spot Instances, 1Strategy worked with F5 to implement provisioning and stopping of instances as an additional safety net in ensuring instances are shut down when not in use. As a result, F5 applied this cost-savings recommendation, taking advantage of AWS’ pay-as-you-go model.

Auditing and AWS CloudTrail

Capturing logs is critical for investigating everything from user activity to security incidents. With the help of 1Strategy, F5’s development team established AWS CloudTrail best practices, including methods for enabling enhanced log monitoring, as well as analyzing and auditing activity in their AWS account. With AWS CloudTrail, an application program interface (API) call-recording and log-monitoring web service, the workload for F5’s development team now has continuous monitoring and provides the team with an audit trail of all activities on their AWS infrastructure.

1Strategy’s guidance in helping F5 find AWS solutions has led to additional meetings to provide better scale and performance for other areas of their AWS infrastructure.

In working with 1Strategy, Mitchell added, “1Strategy’s experts responded promptly and effectively to all our questions and requests and ultimately enabled us to simplify, better secure and cost optimize our use of AWS. We were thoroughly satisfied with the results delivered by 1Strategy and look forward to more engagements with them in the future.”

The work described in this engagement was originally completed by 1Strategy, a TEKsystems Global Services company acquired in 2019. As of June 2023, 1Strategy has fully integrated with TEKsystems Global Services to continue to deliver AWS expertise to customers. Learn more about our AWS solutions.

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