David Heinemeier Hansson

October 27, 2023

X celebrates 60% savings from cloud exit

Musk has taken a cleaver to the costs and complexity at X. It hasn't always been pretty, but it sure has been effective, and in the process, he's proven his detractors wrong time and again. Not only has the site stayed up, despite hysteric proclamations that it would crater soon after his personnel changes, but X has been able to increase the pace of experimentation and feature introductions at the same time. It's been impressive to watch, regardless of what you think of the politics involved.

Now I understand that for many it's indeed impossible to leave those politics aside. And however you're aligned, you'll find a chart to support your position that X is either thriving or has one foot in the grave. So let's not even get into that.

Instead, let's focus on the fact that X has made #CloudExit a key component of its cost saving program. Here's the engineering team celebrating their accomplishments from this last year:

"Optimized our usage of cloud service providers and began doing much more on-prem. This shift has reduced our monthly cloud costs by 60%. Among the changes we made was a shift of all media/blob artifacts out of the cloud, which reduced our overall cloud data storage size by 60%, and separately, we succeeded in reducing cloud data processing costs by 75%."

Read that again. Reduced the monthly cloud cost by 60%(!!) by moving work out of the cloud and onto their own servers. According to earlier reports, X was spending $100 million per year with AWS, so if we take that as a base, they're on track to save $60m/year from the cloud exit achievements so far. Wild!

What's even more impressive than the fact they've been able to cut their cloud bill so much, so quickly is that they've done it with a team a quarter the size of what it was. Twitter used to have some 8,000 employees, and X reportedly now have less than 2,000.

This is not going to go by unnoticed by CFOs and investors. If it's possible, and Musk is busy proving that it is, to run an operation like X with a quarter the staff, and STILL profit massively from exiting the cloud, you know there are gigantious savings waiting to be unlocked from leaving the cloud at most large corporations in many cases.

The #CloudExit might well be at the cusp of going mainstream. Have you run your numbers?

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.