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Best Practices To Reduce Your AWS Cloud Costs

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According to Canalys, Amazon Web Services (AWS) holds around 32% of the cloud market share in 2021, making it a major player in the sector. While users get a wide range of choice with AWS, these choices can often be confusing if there is no in-house cloud expert available. This perplexity impacts the desired ROI for the organization. Irrespective of the budget, every organization opting for cloud services needs a cloud cost management plan. Here are a few pointers of how this article will help you cut down your AWS costs:

  • AWS Pricing Models
  • User Methods to Save Cloud Costs
    • Delete EBS Volumes
    • Eliminate Obsolete Snapshots
    • Opt for Lower S3 Tiers
  • How Centilytics Helps
    • Rightsize Resources
    • Opt for RIs/Savings Plans
    • Schedule Resources
    • Tracking Wastage

The first step in controlling cloud costs is understanding AWS’ pricing models offered by default. AWS offers three pricing options: Pay-As-You-Go, high volume discounts, and reserved instances. Let’s understand these options:

1. Pay-As-You-Go: AWS offers this option for more than 160 cloud services, giving customers a choice to pay for the individual services they opt for irrespective of the time, long-term commitments, or licensing issues. However, the model becomes very expensive in the long term and should be opted only for unexpected peaks.

2. Pay Less by Using More: Divided into tiers, the high-volume discounts provide customers with lower costs for higher utilizations. The single drawback of this model is the dreaded lock-in; by opting for more services, organizations are get limited to only AWS services for more significant discounts.

3. Save When You Reserve: AWS provides two variations in reserving instances, Reserved Instances (RI) and Savings Plans. Customers can opt for fixed tenures of either one year or three years depending on the services opted and receive heavy discounts on the costs. The problem with this model is that customers have to pay for the services they have opted for regardless of whether they utilize it or not.

These options provided by AWS are exercised by almost every organization working under its ecosystem, but often these models do not yield the expected results. Moreover, there are a lot of other solutions that can help customers achieve superior cost savings. In this article, we’ll discuss some solutions that the customers can opt for to take their cloud savings to the next level.

Apart from the consoles and services offered by AWS such as Billing and Cost Management Console, AWS Cost Explorer, AWS Budgets, AWS Trusted Advisor, Amazon CloudWatch, etc., users can also introduce some best practices on their own to ensure they remain the “masters” of their cloud bills. Let’s understand these steps in detail:

1. Delete EBS Volumes
Any organization opting for cloud services needs to be proficient with Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes. EBS functions as raw block-level local storage solutions that can be attached to separate EC2 instances. Amazon EBS are extremely flexible, and can modified dynamically based on the provisioned IOPS capacity. EBS is divided into two sub-categories: SSD-backed EBS and HDD-backed EBS, further divided into 3 categories each.

Although, when IT professionals terminate EC2 instances, the EBS volumes are not terminated by default, which means that they continue increasing the cloud bills. If an organization uses cloud services for an extended period of time and deploys multiple instances, these EBS volumes can significantly impact the bill.

2. Eliminate Obsolete Snapshots
Snapshots are point-in-time data copy of your infrastructure that can be used to restore all the organization’s data in the event of any business-critical threats. The difference between snapshots and backups is that snapshots use EBS volumes to contain only the modified data since the previous snapshot to avoid duplications. Hence, the latest snapshot will contain all the latest deployments in your infrastructure. Any snapshots older than a specific period of time (depending upon your need) can be eliminated, reducing your cloud bills.

3. Opt For Lower S3 Tiers
Unlike EC2, AWS offers six classes when it comes to S3 buckets depending on the users’ requirement. Any organization can opt for any of the six depending on their requirement and usage while cutting down on costs with the S3 Glacier Deep Archive as compared to S3 Standard. Opting for a mix of these buckets can deliver automatic cost savings by exchanging data between two tiers.

Name 

Purpose 

Price per GB (First 50 TB) 

Durability 

Minimum Duration Charge 

First Byte Latency 

S3 Standard 

General Purpose Data Storage  

$0.023 

11 9’s 

N/A 

milliseconds 

S3 Intelligent-Tiering 

Data with Changing Access Patterns 

$0.023 

11 9’s 

30 days 

Milliseconds 

S3 Standard-Infrequent Access (S3 Standard-IA) 

Long time but rarely accessed 

$0.0125 

11 9’s 

30 days 

Milliseconds 

S3 One Zone-Infrequent Access (S3 One Zone-IA) 

Long time but rarely accessed 

$0.01 

11 9’s 

30 days 

Milliseconds 

S3 Glacier 

Long-term, Digital Preservation 

$0.004 

11 9’s 

90 days 

Select minutes or hours 

S3 Glacier Deep Archive 

Long-term, Digital Preservation 

$0.00099 

11 9’s 

180 days 

Select hours 

Centilytics Solutions To Save More

1. Rightsizing Resources

Considered the most effective method to reduce cloud costs, rightsizing resources is often ignored by organizations using cloud services. Rightsizing resources allows users to match the instance sizes to their respective workloads at the lowest cost. Users can also look at instances deployed in the cloud and identify instances that can be eliminated without impacting the infrastructure. However, rightsizing is easier said than done. Centilytics helps you rightsize resources automatically through actionable insights, here’s how:

Step 1: Go to the Cost Optimizer in the Centilytics console and then click on Rightsizing.

Step 2: Get granular information such as CPU configuration, amortized price, and many more even before you opt for the recommendation.

Centilytics offers capabilities to right size your EC2 consumption and rightsize your RDS, DynamoDB, Redshift, ElastiCache, and Elasticsearch from an interactive dashboard.

2. Opting For RIs/Savings Plans
As stated earlier in the blog, opting for Reserved Instances (RIs) and Savings Plans is a cost reduction option provided by AWS to ensure its users can control their costs without impacting their infrastructure. Under this model, users can commit certain resources in advance according to their requirements. The model can be divided into two tenures: 1 year and 3 years. Any organization with the right set of tools and expert recommendations can save up to 40% under the single year tenure and up to 65% under the latter. However, the only downside of reserving instance is in the case of under-utilization, the organization will have to shell out more than their consumption.

Step 1: Opt for Reserved Instances through actionable insights right from the console.

Step 2: Click on any recommendation to receive further detailed insights based on the tenure plan and pricing models

Step 3 (Savings Plans): Leverage superior savings through Savings Plans recommendations to help you understand your savings even before you opt for them.

Step 4: Click on any recommendation to get granular details about the potential savings under various plans.

Centilytics provides actionable insights based on your requirements to ensure the plans opted are practical and economical. Instead of the standard RI/Savings Plans packages, Centilytics offers tailor-made recommendations based on multiple factors and variables based on the infrastructure’s historical data.

3. Scheduling Resources
Another reason for incurring abnormally high cloud bills is that instances are left running even during the non-productive hours. AWS offers a Resource Scheduling service to allow users to optimize their operational costs through the creation of auto on/off schedules for the instances deployed in the cloud. For instance, an organization can turn their non-productive workloads outside business hours and potentially realize savings of up to 70%. The AWS Instance Scheduler uses resource tags and lambda to automate the termination of instance deployed in the workloads across multiple regions and accounts.

Step 1: Go to Scheduling Recommendations from the console to receive scheduling recommendations.

Step 2: Check usage pattern overview, instance usage visibility before committing schedule for any instance.

Centilytics provides its users with a more aggressive approach towards their savings by analyzing their usage patterns to shutdown non-productive workloads to reduce cloud bills. Leverage recommendations based on metrics such as Account Ids, Regions, Resource Ids, Idle Hours, and potential savings to know your savings even before scheduling your resources.

4. Tracking Wastage
Every resource that gets terminated or hibernated leaves behind numerous services, deployments such as EBS often called zombie resources. These unused resources keep running in the background with zero dependencies and high cloud bills. There are two reasons for such orphaned resources: either the deletion of instances or when an instance fails to launch. Such orphaned or zombie resources are extremely difficult to locate and terminated. Legacy tools offered by AWS are not up to mark, and organizations need to either look for some third-party tools or hire expertise to handle the same.

Step 1: Check severity of resources and see potential savings before getting rid of unused resources.

Step 2: Get rid of zombie or orphaned resources from not only EC2 but a plethora of services.

Centilytics helps you identify and eliminate cost leaks due to such orphaned resources and under-utilized resources in your cloud infrastructure. Our intelligent console ensures consistently low utilization through actionable insights to remediate resources.

Optimizing cloud costs is a continuous process that calls on organizations to ensure best practices to reduce and maintain their cloud costs. Centilytics offers an all-in-one solution for everything related to cloud savings. With proven experience and numbers to back us up, Centilytics offers top-of-the-line complete cost optimization for its users right from an interactive graphical dashboard.

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