Case Study


About the Client

After working with us, Honeycomb was able to cut 10% off their entire operating budget without impacting their durability.

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Honeycomb is one of the most innovative companies in the observability space, having taken the lead in defining the space and setting the bar for what observability means in software. Their unique requirements for durability and resiliency led to some interesting challenges when it came to managing data transfer costs. Enter Charity Majors, CTO & Cofounder:

Our AWS bill was really high — weirdly high. I tried to lower it myself. (I’ve been running stuff with AWS for years and have managed the billing before.) A big percentage of the bill was driven by cross-AZ data transfer, which seemed really strange because we weren’t doing anything way out of the ordinary.

We figured we’d see if Duckbill could do something about it. They know more about how AWS billing works than anyone else in the world, including all of AWS. It’s a lot of experience that you can only have if you’re focusing on this one problem for a long time.

My hesitation was the fact that it was very expensive to hire Duckbill, but they said if they didn’t save us at least that much in three months, we wouldn’t be charged. That’s a pretty easy decision.

Mike and Corey were our expert guides, spiritual leaders, and life coaches for three months of intense soul searching. We walked through the architecture together and looking for alternate ways to structure it. We’ve been architecting our app with all of the best practices in mind for failovers and resiliency, but it’s a trade off between cost and reliability. We had gone all in on the reliability side and didn’t realize there were going to be so many hidden costs associated with that.

Working with Duckbill, we discovered a hidden edge-case pricing inflection for cross-AZ data transfers and how we could re-architect everything to strike a different balance. Not content with just finding the issue, they arranged meetings with AWS on our behalf to ensure our concerns reached the right level (which was disturbingly high!) as well as to deliver both short-term and long-term mitigations.

Duckbill saved us all the money they promised and more. In just a few weeks they helped us reclaim 10% of our entire operating budget. Best contracting money I have ever spent. Not only did they give us advice throughout the engagement, but they kept dropping us tidbits of useful information even after our contract was up. They were super responsive, super fun, and it was just a joy to work with them.

Charity Majors, CTO & Cofounder

Due to the high cost and complexity of AWS, everybody’s got stuff working in their systems they don’t realize they’re getting charged for. Nobody’s putting time into understanding this problem like Duckbill does. There is no downside to having them work on your AWS bill to look for ways to save you a lot of money. It’s really free, because they won’t charge more than they find. 

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