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Guide - How to Save Money on your AWS Cloud

Guide - How to Save Money on your AWS Cloud

AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a leading cloud services platform – holding more than 30% of the cloud computing market. This is greater than all its other competitors: Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and IBM. 

AWS’ computing products and services offering packs a punch and includes servers, networking, storage, remote computing, mobile development, email, and security. 

AWS Cloud Cost Management Challenges

While there is no argument that AWS’ cloud service model is a go-to solution for many businesses, there is also no denying that managing cloud costs is a challenge that you have to accept with it.

And the most challenging of those, in terms of cost management? That has to be AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

The EC2 Service Offering

EC2 is a cloud platform that offers secure and resizable compute capacity. Instances are the building blocks of computing capabilities. Amazon EC2 provides 5 instance types to suit various use cases:

  • General-purpose instance – this instance balances memory, computing, and networking resources. It's suitable for gaming servers, application servers, and back-end servers for companies.
  • Compute-optimized instances – this instance is excellent for applications requiring high computing power. Examples of use cases are scientific modeling, dedicated gaming servers, and machine learning.
  • Memory-optimized instances – this instance is great for delivery of large dataset workloads fast. It is excellent when enormous amounts of data need to be preloaded before running an app.
  • Accelerated computing instances – this instance uses hardware accelerators that boost data processing. It's best for graphics applications and streaming.
  • Storage optimized instances – this instance is suitable when there are large datasets on local storage, for example, at data warehouses and online transaction systems.

The real challenge with EC2 is when you use the elastic, i.e., scalable, aspect of the service. Budgets are relatively simple if you sign up for a dedicated instance. However, as soon as you add scale to your application, you need to keep a tighter reign on your budgets.

The following AWS services tend to be far easier to predict costs of and assign usage to budgets:

  • Amazon Relational Database Service

Amazon RDS is the service that enables straightforward setup, operation, and scaling of databases in the cloud. It supports the following instance classes: general-purpose, memory-optimized, and burstable performance. Instance types include varying combinations of memory, CPU, storage, and networking capacity – which provides you with the flexibility to select the suitable mix of resources for your database.

  • Amazon Glacier

This is a secure, flexible, and affordable cloud storage service for data caching and prolonged backup. Users can store their data for as low as $1 per terabyte monthly.

  • Amazon S3

The S3 bucket provides a secure storage system. To ensure redundancy, data is stored in three different physical zones. On this platform, businesses can store and protect large chunks of data, for example, for websites, applications, and backup.

So, What are those Money Saving Strategies in AWS?

AWS offers a plethora of services to assist customers with their Cloud cost management, i.e., the structural planning that lets a company manage the costs of cloud technology. However, many users struggle to control their expenditure. This article will highlight 10 tips you can use to reduce AWS costs for your company.

  • Terminate unused EC2 instances

Using AWS Cost Explorer Resource Optimization, you can get a report of idle or low-utilization instances. Once you identify these instances, you can stop or downsize them. Once you stop an instance, you must also terminate it. This is because if you stop an instance, your EBS costs will still be incurred. By terminating EC2 instances, you will also stop EBS and EC2 expenses.

  1. Cut oversized instances and volumes

Before deciding which instances and volumes need to be reduced, an in-depth analysis of all available data is required. Do not rely on data from a short period of time. The time frame for a data set should be at least one month, and make sure to check for seasonal peaks. Remember that you will not be able to reduce EBS volumes. So, once you know the appropriate size you require, create a new volume, and copy the data from the old volume.

  1. Use private IPs

Whenever you communicate in the Amazon EC2 network using public IPs or Elastic load balancer, you will always pay Intra-Region Data Transfer rates. Use private IPs to avoid paying this extra fee.

  1. Delete low-usage Amazon EBS volumes

Track Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes for at least 1 week and identify those that have low activity (at least 1 input/output per second per day). Take a snapshot of these volumes (in case you will need them at a future date) and then delete them.

  1. Use AWS Savings Plan

AWS Savings plan is a flexible pricing model running for one to three years. In this model, you pay a lower price on EC2 and Fargate usage for a promise of a steady amount of usage during the specified period. The agreed usage amount is usually discounted by more than 30%. AWS Savings Plan is ideal for stable businesses that know their resource requirements.

  1. Utilize Reserved Instances

By reserving an instance, you may save up to 70%. But, if you don't use the reserved instance as much as you expected, you may end up overpaying. This is because you will pay 24/7 utilization for the entire reserved period regardless of whether you used the resource or not.

  1. Buy reserved instances on the AWS marketplace

The AWS Marketplace is like a stock market. You can sometimes buy Standard Reserved Instances at extremely affordable prices in comparison to buying directly from AWS. In this way, you can end up saving almost 75%.

  1. Utilize Amazon EC2 Spot Instances

Spot instances can reduce costs by almost 90%. Spot instances are great for workloads that are fault-tolerant, for example, big data, web servers, containerized workloads, and high-performance computing (HPC). Auto-scaling automatically requests spot instances to meet target capacity during interruptions. 

  1. Configure autoscaling

Autoscaling allows your EC2 fleet to increase or shrink based on demand. By configuring autoscaling, you can start and stop instances that don’t get used frequently. You can review your scaling activity using the CLI command. Review the results to see whether instances can be added less aggressively or to see if the minimum can be reduced to serve requests with smaller fleet sizes.

  1. Choose availability zones and regions

The cost of AWS varies by region. Data transfers between different availability zones are charged an extra fee. It is therefore important to centralize operations and use single availability zones.

You Can Make a Difference

There is no magic button to reduce AWS cloud spending. AWS cost optimization is a tough process that can only be achieved through persistence and the application of expertise, not least because some of those options are incompatible. To realize AWS cost savings, regular monitoring and periodic checkups are mandatory.

You don’t have to go it alone: there are intuitive tools that support your budget management strategies. Finout’s customers enjoy a FinOps platform providing a robust AWS cost monitoring solution. With this toolkit, Finout empowers any cloud-native teams to retain full visibility over their cloud costs to ensure effective FinOps. Want to have a try? Get early access to Finout today.

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"Whether you’re a part of a team with an established FinOps practice, or are building up the discipline, everyone can relate to the challenges of mapping cloud utilization cost to their drivers one-to-one." – FinOps Foundation