Powerful tips for AWS cost optimization

“If you’re moving to cloud primarily to save money, you would be terribly surprised with the result,” – that’s quite a popular phrase that’s been floating around in my team talks. While we always agree about cloud advantages such as ease of use, flexibility and so on, it requires some rethinking in terms of how you spend money there. Simple reuse of existing on-premises procedures could cost you a lot and possibly leave you disappointed about the whole cloud journey idea. To avoid that, and to not miss all the cloud benefits because of bad “copy-paste” strategy, please invest some time in learning platform nuances and built-in tools, especially when they’re tied to budget spending. In the following article, I’m going to share a few tips based on my experience with AWS cost optimization.

AWS cost optimization strategies

AWS Saving Plans

No doubt you’ve heard about the AWS pay-as-you-go pricing model. Cloud users often bless the move from CAPEX to OPEX, however, there can be challenges when trying to reduce cost. Let me explain. If you’re planning to host mission-critical service in AWS, run a company website for example, you would want nothing less than 24/7/365 availability, which equals keeping EC2 instances up and running constantly. There is nothing wrong with this type of commitment, but that’s where AWS Saving Plans come in handy. If you promise to consume cloud resources for such a long period of time and pay upfront, AWS could give you a discount to help with cost optimization.

AWS Spot Instances

Another interesting service to mention here is Spot Instances. The greatest benefit of the market is the balance between demand and supply. In moments of reduced demand for EC2 services, you have an opportunity to bid a desired price and get instances much cheaper than usual. At the end of the day, everyone wins!

AWS S3 lifecycle policies

Let’s look at storage for a moment. First of all, S3 itself is a great way to fight the ever-growing data challenge by simply utilizing the power of modern object storage technology. However, there are six different S3 layers with various pricing, performance metrics and SLAs. I believe the key here is to know data usage patterns and adjust its distribution among classes. Then again, enabling lifecycle policies depending on the access frequency is another good thing. By prioritizing data, you’re drawing a line to separate mission-critical (hot) data from those sets that would probably never be used again but have to be kept for compliance reasons and whatnot. Should I mention that applying this logic will further your AWS cost optimization benefits, too?

AWS Cost Explorer

I’ve been working with AWS for several years and I can tell you it’s a beast of some sorts. It taught me quite a few lessons over time — made me realize that I should always know exactly what I’m doing. Using a corporate billing account, I was trying to be more rational and optimize AWS-associated costs every time I could. Trust me, no one wants to jump on a call with their manager to get $5,000 personal spending approved at the end of the month.

Anyways, what surprised me the most is that AWS offers a lot of built-in cost optimization instruments like AWS Cost Explorer to keep spendings transparent. You just need to know where to look. Once learning that, develop a healthy morning routine to check them, ensure expectations are met and confirm cost is under control.

AWS cost optimization essentials

To sum up my experience, I volunteered to write a small four-page paper dedicated to AWS cost optimization. I decided on a particular order, starting from EC2, moving to storage-related offerings and then bringing up monitoring and management tools. Quickly enough, the document grew to 14 pages and is now available in the Veeam resource library. Please, have a look at 16 powerful tips to lower your AWS spending.

What’s your AWS cost-optimization strategy? Leave a comment below or ping me on Twitter.

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