Billing

We charge a fraction of what it costs to do it in-house and deliver it in half the time or faster. Check out our calculator just to see how much it can cost to build your own cloud infrastructure. Make sure you review some of the risks of doing it yourself.

 We practice “agile” development. We charge a flat fee per sprint but allow for scope changes (which are billed separately) at customer request. A typical engagement consists of 8-10 sprints that are 2 weeks (80 hours) in duration.

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We believe in total transparency.

For this reason, you can expect no hidden fees from us.

IMPORTANT: Depending on the features you want to be implemented, certain third-party software subscriptions may be required (SaaS).

We do not include these costs in our contract because they are negotiated between your company and the vendor. Sometimes you may qualify for “startup” pricing.

Examples include:

  • AWS
  • Datadog
  • NewRelic
  • Sumologic
  • Splunk
  • Codefresh
  • Teleport
  • Kubecost
  • Mailgun
  • PagerDuty
  • Pingdom
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We'll sign a few contracts before we get started:

  1. Mutual NDA that describes how we'll govern sensitive information
  2. Master Services Agreement that describes the terms for all engagements we'll do down the road
  3. Statement of Work that describes at length exactly what you'll receive.

Our standard payment terms are Net 15.

Payment for each Sprint is due before work commences.

Our sprints are billed at a weekly rate. Basically we take our industry-standard hourly rate and multiply that times the number of man-hours in a week (40). If we exceed the allotted hours in a Sprint, we will bill and invoice for the overages. This will allow the Client to realize a final product that meets or exceeds its expectations, and prevents the Client from being held financially responsible for software that does not help it reach its objectives.

Upon execution of the agreement, we set up a project for each sprint in our Harvest Time Management System. This allows us to parallelize work while attributing it to a specific deliverable. Sprints represent a number of man-hours, but multiple individuals might be involved in the time & effort.

Upon commencement of a Sprint, we send an invoice for the stated amount. That's a retainer from which we draw against to deliver the integration of our solution. If there's an overage, we have the option of rolling the remaining work into the next Sprint or consuming time against the “General Support” retainer. In all cases, we'll prepare a detailed/itemized invoice (called a “True-Up”) against that sprint and bill for the excess hours in an entirely transparent manner. This is all handled automatically by our bookkeepers.

When you hire Cloud Posse, you're buying an outcome that few others can provide. What a company is really buying from Cloud Posse is an end-to-end solution that includes time for implementation and integration. This is a solution that has cost our customers millions of dollars to implement and we are selling for a tiny fraction of the cost to implement it in-house.

We are not a traditional “DevOps as a Service” company that only does the grunt work; we provide thought leadership combined with expert execution and implementation. We have chosen to use an “Open Source” licensing model to simplify the software distribution because we provide 10x the value in our implementation. 

During the course of our engagement, our customers have direct access to our team with tremendous experience in cloud architecture & implementation. Companies hire us to implement in a span of only 3-4 months would take even the most senior experienced team DevOps engineers years to develop, which makes our offering insanely affordable by comparison.  By partnering with Cloud Posse, you're sparing all the hard “lessons learned” to achieve a greater outcome in a shorter amount of time with less risk.

You will find the industry-standard rate for experienced independent contractors/freelancers is around $150-250/hr. Note, when you hire freelancers they don't bring to the table the unparalleled library of code and experience that you get when you partner with Cloud Posse. We put our best foot forward on GitHub so you see exactly what you’re getting. Plus, freelancers and employees cannot offer business continuity, which leaves your company with no one to turn to when/if they leave or go on vacation. While a company might shave off a little bit on the hourly rate by going with an independent contractor, it's several orders of magnitude more expensive to implement a custom solution that is remotely comparable to what we offer; that solution will have greater uncertainty and result in greater risk for your business. 

 

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Time & Materials (T&M) projects align our goals with yours. Our company will work with you until your needs are met irrespective of the actual deliverables, providing the greatest likelihood of a successful outcome—everyone's end goal. This will allow you to realize a final product that meets or exceeds your expectations and prevents you from being held financially responsible for software that does not help you reach your objectives. It rewards the company for working harder to satisfy those needs or saves you money if the needs are met with less effort. More importantly, it gives you the maximum agility to decide what you need as the project progresses and to pivot at any time. Is there some new feature you just thought of and want right away? We'll get right on that. Something you thought you were going to need but now realize can wait until next year? We're happy to skip that and move on to what you care about most, even if that is different from what it was last week.

Fixed-fee (or Fixed-bid) projects are based on the outdated “waterfall” model where you define everything you are going to need to finish the project before work on the deliverables even starts. On top of locking you into a rigid set of deliverables before you are even sure that is what you want, they require significant extra time and effort (as much as 50% of the total project time) to define “acceptance criteria”, which is a mutually agreed set of tests that, when passed, define the project as finished. In addition, fixed-price bids transfer completion risk to the company, so a company is wise to double the estimated T&M and add 20% (the extra 20% is for all the time spent negotiating the acceptance criteria.) 🙂 Fixed-price bids incentivize the company to ignore your actual needs and focus on delivering the bare minimum to satisfy the acceptance criteria. Was there something important to you that you forgot to capture in the acceptance criteria? Sorry, that is “out of scope”; we will get to it on the next project. This is how the big consulting companies got so big. They know your “waterfall” project will fail, leading to a follow-on waterfall project to fix it, except that, too, will fail for the same reasons, leading to a never-ending stream of work for the consultants. They fatten their profits by charging for all the extra work which fixed-bid contracts require, and keep you on the hook by taking advantage of the “sunk cost fallacy.”

Time and Materials Not To Exceed (T&M NTE) has a couple of ways of working. At its worst, it has all the problems of a Fixed-fee project but it takes away any incentive for the company to give you a good rate. It caps the company’s profits but not their losses. No company can agree to this model and stay in business.

There is a second form of T&M NTE, that larger companies with more complex governance, budget, and financial control systems might prefer. It’s mostly the same, except with built-in circuit breakers ensuring that budget and finance departments will retain oversight so that if a project balloons in scope, appropriate people will be called in to review and triage features before the project becomes an unexpected drain on resources. It is important for all concerned to understand that there is no commitment to “finishing” a T&M NTE project because such a project does not have a defined, agreed-upon endpoint. Still, the company is incentivized to meet expectations with the given budget and to help identify cost savings where appropriate, in the hope of securing additional work on the ongoing project. Larger companies with more bureaucratic management and more sophisticated budgetary and financial controls may prefer this, while smaller, more nimble companies know that a standard T&M contract is tacitly a Not To Exceed in that it can be canceled at any time, for exceeding the budget or any other reason.

We prefer T&M projects because it eliminates the need for either side to argue about ambiguities in the project definitions. Nobody needs to be convinced that the deliverables are acceptable or unacceptable. Instead, we deliver to the best of our ability what we understood our customers wanted. If the customer wants something else, whether it is because their needs changed in the interim or they asked for the wrong thing in the first place, we can just accept that they want something different and get right to work delivering that. Your acceptance criteria can be whatever you want, from fully-automated tests to feedback surveys, and anything you want to be done differently, we are happy to do it. When working with T&M, we are truly on your side.

We use Harvest to track all our time by client, project, sprint, and developer. We then import these hours into Quickbooks for invoicing. We accept payments via ACH, Bill.com, and Check. Customers always have access to real-time reports of hours accrued.

A typical “Statement of Work” includes a set number of Sprints. We try to keep a narrow scope for each Sprint so that we can tightly control how hours get spent to avoid overruns. We typically avoid adding tasks to a running Sprint so that the scope does not grow. That's also why we have an allocation for “General Support”, which is work that falls outside of the current Sprint. This is for special requests, meetings, pair programming sessions, extra documentation, etc.

All of our engagements are on a Time & Materials basis. We charge a 20% upfront deposit which is billed as a retainer for “General Support” and invoiced in advance of services (Due on Receipt) in order to commence an engagement. Sprints are billed as 80-hour retainers and invoiced in advance of services, typically on Net-30 terms. All unused prepaid balances are refundable or can be applied to outstanding invoices. As soon as we exhaust the 80-hours in a Sprint, we move all outstanding work to the next Sprint. Every time we finish a Sprint, we prepare a “True-Up” invoice – it's where we pull all hours worked from the Sprint into an invoice, then apply a credit for the amount already paid towards that particular invoice. The remaining balance is what is owed.

If at any time you have questions about an invoice you've received, please do not hesitate to reach out to our account department.

Unfortunately, we're not able to take on small engagements. You can, however, join us every single week for 100% free “Office Hours”—where we seek to answer your questions. Just register for an invitation.

We hold our “Office Hours” every Wednesday at 11:30 am PT via Zoom. We're typically 30+ people on the call and all skill levels are welcome.

Checkout our past recordings on YouTube or subscribe to our Podcast.

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We accept all major forms of payment, including:

  • ACH (preferred)
  • Bill.com (preferred)
  • US Check
  • Credit Card (Visa, AMEX, MasterCard) – additional service charges may

Community

SweetOps is a community that is run by Cloud Posse. It exists as a place for our users to collaborate and ask questions related to our large collection of open source projects on GitHub, but also to talk shop and get feedback on anything DevOps related.

Cloud Posse is not affiliated with the github.com/terraform-aws-modules repository, but many users of this organization participate in our SweetOps slack team in the #terraform-aws-modules channel.

Our community of over 6000+ people is open to everyone. You do not need to be a customer to benefit from our community. We have a VERY active and helpful public slack community that is welcoming of all skill levels and backgrounds.

  1. Go to slack.cloudposse.com to register.
  2. Sign up for our weekly “office hours”

p.s. if you're interested in a career at Cloud Posse, this is a great first step.

We recommend you first sign up for our slack team. Then join the #office-hours slack channel and ask your question there. We'll make sure to address it on our next call. Of course, you can always just join us this week and ask us there.

You're other option is to register for our FREE weekly office hours. We host these calls every Wednesday at 11:30am PT.

No, it's absolutely FREE for anyone to attend.

Cloud Posse holds public “Office Hours” every Wednesday at 11:30 am PT to answer questions on all things related to DevOps, Terraform, Kubernetes, CI/CD. Basically, it's like an interactive “Lunch & Learn” session where we get together for about an hour and talk shop with our community. These are totally free and just an opportunity to ask us (or our community of experts) any questions you may have.

You can register here: https://cloudposse.com/office-hours

Join the conversation in our SweetOps slack #office-hours channel: https://slack.cloudposse.com/

What to expect…

  • Live Q&A. Ask questions and get answers. We're usually about 30+ people on the call.
  • News & Announcements. We'll share cool things we're working on at Cloud Posse along with any cool announcements or projects we come across.
  • Live Demos. Watch live demos of some of the things we're building here at Cloud Posse. Also, tune in if you want to share any open source projects you're working on.
  • Special Guest Speakers. From time to time we'll bring on special guests who will talk at length on something relevant for our community.

Cloud Posse operates an inclusive, welcoming community of 6000+ people (as of 2022). These are our true fans and valuable contributors making what we do possible.

Early on we recognized the value of community, so we started SweetOps.

You can join us by going signing up on our Slack invitation page.

Engagements

  1. Take our quiz to find out if we are a good fit!
  2. Book a discovery call to go over your exact challenges.
  3. If we can help, we'll execute a Mutual NDA (ours or yours), then collaborate with you on our Engagement Workbook using Google Docs.
  4. Once we agree on the general scope, we'll prepare a comprehensive Statement of Work (SOW) detailing the entire project.
  5. Master Services Agreement (MSA) and SOW are executed, we'll send an invoice for the deposit and first Sprint.
  6. Work will commence shortly thereafter.

We work with companies anywhere in the world.

While most of our customers are based in the United States, we've worked with companies in the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Argentina, etc. Our team is distributed across the US and Eastern Europe.

We can start as soon as you sign our Statement of Work. Typically we see this process take 2-3 weeks from the first introductory call to the start of our engagement

Here's our checklist we'll need to complete before we can start.

  • Execute Mutual NDA (ours or yours)
  • Collaborate on Engagement Workbook via Google Docs
  • Execute Statement of Work, and Master Services Agreement
  • Deposit Payment
  • Kick-off!

We can kick off the initial introductory call immediately, so please make sure that you schedule it today

After talking with you and assessing if we're a proper fit, we'll execute a Mutual NDA and then send over an Engagement Workbook so we can gather all the requirements for your project and estimate the cost.

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We can add easily additional sprints to a Scope of Work. We just need to agree on what goes into a Sprint which will determine the number of Sprints required.

Our typical engagement model begins with a complete platform rollout. This includes roughly 6-8 sprints, each one 1-2 weeks in duration. During this time we set up all AWS Accounts with IAM federation, Cloud Trail audit logs, a comprehensive release engineering process, total observability with our Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) sprint, Remote Access Management (Teleport and KeyCloak), GitOps Operations by Pull Request.

The first engagement takes roughly 3-4 months to complete. These engagements have extremely well-defined project plans. Ask us and we can show you what that looks like. 

Customers most often decide to keep us on after the initial engagement for follow up work.

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Absolutely not. You can cancel anytime.

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We provide entirely optional ongoing support for customers who've gone through our DevOps Accelerator.

By in large, most of our customers take over the day to day management of their infrastructure.

We're here though to help out anywhere you need it.

We do not provide 24×7 “on-call” (aka PagerDuty) support.

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We offer all of our customers’ ongoing support for as long as they need it. Choose what's right for you.

  • We provide free weekly support via our “Office Hours” webinars every Wednesday at 11:30 am PST. These calls last one hour and we'll answer as many of your questions as we can.
  • We also provide optional support retainers which include a fixed block of hours that go towards maintenance and support. You'll have direct access to our team via a shared Slack channel in addition to the ability to schedule one-on-one calls via Zoom.
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Can you help me understand where the boundaries of CloudPosse's responsibilities end, and where ours would start? 

Cloud Posse's mission is to help companies own their infrastructure. We accelerate this journey by architecting your 4 layers with you and by taking the lead on the implementation. Since we have an opinionated framework, customers will need to learn how to leverage everything for their use cases. This will sometimes mean altering how you build and deploy your services.

Getting Started With Us

We always prefer to start with a green-field approach, where we build your infrastructure from the ground up together with your team. As part of our process, we'll walk you through all of the required design decisions, ensuring you have sufficient context to make informed decisions. This is why we expect our customers to have someone on their engineering team invested in the outcome. This part is absolutely critical, as it ensures what we deliver suits your business needs. Everything we do is delivered by pull request for your review and we will happily provide documentation on anything you want. Along the way, we'll assign homework exercises and provide ample documentation. This approach provides the best opportunity to gain a deep hands-on understanding of our solution.

We encourage you to ask as many questions as you want and challenge our assumptions. You also can volunteer for any task you want to take on as “homework” and we'll help you out as needed.

When You Own It

Once our job is done, this is where you take the driver's seat. We'll help you get everything set up for a smooth transition from your heritage environment to your shiny new infrastructure. Rest assured that we'll stick around until your team is confident and has the know-how to operate these platforms in production. We don't expect teams to pick this up overnight, that's why we'll stay engaged for as long as you need. We're happy to answer questions and jump on Zoom for pair programming sessions.

Day-2 Operations

After our engagement, you will have a solid foundation powering your apps, and all the tools you need for infrastructure operations. This means your team is responsible for the ongoing maintenance, including upgrades (e.g. EKS clusters, and all open-source software), patching systems, incident response, triaging, SRE (e.g. adding monitors and alerts), as well as security operations (responding to incidents, staying on top of vulnerabilities/ CVEs). Cloud Posse is continuously updating its Open Source module ecosystem, but it's your responsibility to regularly update your infrastructure. Staying on top of these things is critical for a successful long-term outcome, with minimal technical debt.

For companies that want to focus more on their business and less on maintenance, we provide ongoing support engagements exclusively for customers that have completed our accelerator.

Check out our approach to learn more!

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Can you walk through the typical lifecycle of a small change that you might help us with, specifically with how it relates to coordinating changes between your team and ours?

Every change in your environment starts with submitting a pull request as our solution is built with a fully GitOps driven approach. Depending on the CODEOWNERS configuration for the repository, branch protections will require all pull requests to have approvals by specific stakeholders, in addition to requiring all checks to pass. We also try to automate as much of the review process as possible. For example, when the pull request is opened, it automatically kicks off a job to validate the change against your environment so you can see the impact of any change.

The coordination needed is simply about figuring out who will be responsible for each part of the release process. The tooling handles the rest and we have a policy-driven approach (Open Policy Agent) to enforce it.

This includes:

  • Who will submit the pull request, which is entirely dependent on your comfort level with the change, or if you prefer us to take the lead.
  • Reviewing the pull request and applying changes to it as needed.
  • Approving and merging the pull request.
  • Validating and confirming the changes.

The toolchain in your CI/CD process provides Slack notifications and full audit history of everything that happens to give you optimal visibility and traceability.

Lastly, where applicable we implement blue/green rollout strategies for releases, but there are edge cases where a change could be disruptive to active development or live services. In such cases, these would be carefully coordinated to be released at an approved time.

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