TL; DR: Concurrency Labs helps companies launch and grow applications hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The company’s time-tested consultancy process helps businesses manage the platform in five key areas: availability, cost, performance, security, and operations. With products under development designed to complement its consulting services, Concurrency Labs is poised to help clients make the most of AWS for years to come.
Since its initial launch in 2006, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has become one of the most popular and powerful cloud hosting services worldwide.
But it’s not necessarily the easiest to navigate. The web is full of horror stories from victims of unexpectedly high bills — some costing more than a mortgage.
Without a solid process and years of AWS expertise, many businesses end up with unnecessarily high hosting bills, applications that can’t handle traffic spikes, and security vulnerabilities. Fortunately, consultancy companies like Concurrency Labs specialize in helping clients successfully launch and grow their businesses on AWS.
“I’ve seen a lot of opportunities to help clients in the cost management area,” said Ernesto Marquez, Owner and Project Director at Concurrency Labs. “AWS gives you a lot of flexibility. You pay for what you use, but sometimes, you end up using a lot.”
In addition to reaping the benefits of comprehensive one-on-one consultancy and cloud optimization, Ernesto designed a bot to help AWS users keep track of hosting costs. The free solution, MiserBot, proactively inspects and analyzes AWS cost and usage data with each update. Minutes later, it sends out a message to teams via slack to help businesses identify and correct anomalies.
“You’re not going to get that information that easily in AWS,” Ernesto said.
But Concurrency Labs services don’t end with cost management. The company also helps businesses make the most of AWS in terms of availability, performance, security, and operations — all of which impact the bottom line.
From Development at Amazon to AWS Consultancy
Ernesto has considerable experience in the consulting industry, beginning with more than a decade of service at Accenture.
“I specialized in the telecommunications industry, working with the large systems that support that industry,” he said. “That exposed me to mission-critical, high volume systems that needed to work 100% of the time.”
After soaking up all the knowledge that he could, Ernesto began working as a software development manager for AWS at Amazon Vancouver.
“I had exposure to cloud technologies before that time, but working at Amazon gave me that hands-on experience in terms of how things are built,” he said. “I appreciated the opportunity that Amazon gave me, and I was thrilled to be developing services there, but I also intended to become independent. It was just a matter of time.”
An entrepreneur at heart, Ernesto took the knowledge he had gained in both consulting and cloud services and started his own firm. Today, as a Certified AWS Solutions Architect, he helps SMBs reliably generate revenue through a methodology that optimizes AWS to support growth. Concurrency Labs now serves clients across the globe, though the majority are based in North America.
Ernesto said he typically guides customers through one of three scenarios.
“Some are building something new from scratch that will eventually need to be deployed in AWS,” he said. “Others are running already-mature applications outside of the cloud and need help with migration so they can realize the benefits of moving into the cloud.”
The third and perhaps most common scenario involves customers who already use AWS and are running into several challenges intrinsic to the platform — particularly around cost, availability, performance, security, and operations.
Considering the Context of Unique Business Needs
Ernesto said that the end goal of his consultancy work isn’t just to optimize AWS — it’s to optimize the business, starting with identifying business flows and growth goals.
“One of the main things I emphasize within my practice is that, before I engage in anything, I want to really understand the business content,” he said. “An application has no reason to exist if it’s not supporting a business.”
Each client’s business goals tie directly into the five variables Ernesto outlined (cost, availability, performance, security, and operations). Leaders must consider potential factors — like traffic spikes, internal or external failures, operational emergencies — and how they could impact the business.
“Some businesses have zero tolerance for any type of downtime, and if that’s the case, it’s worth paying more,” he said. “Other applications don’t require the strictest redundancy and availability. It depends on the use case.”
Ernesto tailors AWS optimizations around such requirements. But he told us there is one variable that stands independent of the others as an absolute must-have: security. Cutting costs around the steps development teams take to ensure safety and compliance is never a good idea.
“All businesses need a baseline when it comes to security,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how big, how small your business is — that foundation is non-negotiable.”
A Focus on Automation and Repeatable Methodology
Concurrency Labs designed its Ready for Prime Time methodology to help businesses grow applications hosted on AWS, whether they’re building, migrating, or already operating applications on the platform. It takes about four to six weeks to complete the steps with both application owners and development teams.
“One of my differentiators is that I go through a process I’ve refined over time,” Ernesto said. “The idea is to offer additional value through repeatable processes, valuable templates, and documented steps that clients can use in the future.”
Developing and publishing the detailed, four-stage methodology required an upfront investment on the part of the company. But it has paid off by helping clients consistently balance performance, price, and availability.
In addition to carefully designed processes, Concurrency Labs considers automation a key priority.
“If something can be automated, it gets automated,” Ernesto said. “We’ve developed internal tooling around all of the different processes involved in our deliveries. We have internal tooling for cost management, load testing, resource provisioning, and performance tests, among other tasks.”
The company’s AWS Near Real-time Price Calculator, for example, leverages the power of automation to estimate AWS costs based on live CloudWatch metrics. The Lambda function empowers users to take early action to mitigate billing nightmares.
“We developed all of these frameworks over time to create a strong foundation for our clients,” Ernesto told us. “If you are in the AWS console, doing things manually and clicking buttons, you’re doing something wrong.”
Upcoming Product Releases and Training
Concurrency Labs is currently investing in the productization of various service areas. The initial goal is to expand MiserBot into a comprehensive Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform.
“I’ve been developing tooling underneath for cost optimizations,” Ernesto said. “It’s good to know that something’s wrong, but the next step is knowing what you can do to fix it. We’ve been making some good progress on that.”
Future products could also include online training packages.
“I lead a consulting services company, but products are also an essential part of the equation,” he said. “Some business owners see those two areas as incompatible. The way I see it, they feed each other. The services aspect gives you the knowledge to develop the right products, and the products themselves help you deliver better services. There’s a good interdependency.”