How You Can Optimize Your Costs In The Cloud Using AWS

While the need to migrate your company to the Cloud may be obvious, how to manage and optimize costs in the Cloud may not be. For many organizations, migrating to the Cloud comes in different phases:

  • Planning the move and making a strategy
  • Actually making the move and transferring all data
  • Utilizing cloud resources and taking advantage of everything your provider has to offer
  • Realizing you are way over budget

Once organizations hit this phase of cloud migration, finding solutions to reduce spending and optimize costs in the Cloud becomes vital. This is where optimizing cloud costs with AWS comes in.

Large public cloud providers, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), feature numerous advantages that you may not be able to get from other providers, such as various service options and pricing packages. These customized options help you effectively manage your costs while still providing the elasticity needed to evolve and grow as your business does. AWS even offers pay-as-you-go pricing which helps you choose the amount of service and performance your business actually needs.

We have put together some of the top ways your organization can reduce spending and optimize costs in the Cloud with AWS.  By following these simple tips, you can:

1) Find the right size of services for your needs

2) Leverage Reserve Instances to save money

3) Monitor all of your usage and changes

4) Continue using tools to optimize savings as you grow.

Find the Right Size

One of the best ways to optimize costs in the Cloud with AWS is to make sure that you have chosen the correct size. While it seems beneficial to pick a plan that offers more capacity and storage so you have room to grow, oftentimes this ends up just being a huge mistake. By staying on top of how much capacity you really need, you can adapt your services in real-time, without any extra fees or penalties.

AWS offers you the capability to change service options as your demands grow, giving you the ability to only pay for what you need, while at the same time, providing the reassurance that you can acquire more services if the need should ever arise.

Use Only What You Need, When You Need It

One of the smartest ways to optimize costs in the Cloud is to only use your DEV/QA workloads during the week and to shut them down on weekends and holidays. You can even prepare your services to shut down during non-working hours during the business week, as well. While this dos require some strategizing and planning on the backend, it can end up saving you 20% of your EC2 costs for those instances. There are a variety of software options available that assist with streamlining and automating this process if you aren’t sure how to start. 

Leverage Reserved Instances

Another great way to optimize costs in the Cloud is to utilize reserved capacity, as opposed to on-demand capacity. AWS offers three different payment options for Reserved Instances, including: All up-front (AURI), partial up-front (PURI), or no upfront payments (NURI). As with most investments, the more you contribute ahead of time, the bigger discount you will receive, so the best way to optimize your spending is to pay all upfront. By taking advantage of reserved capacity, you can better manage your budget while minimizing risks.

Clear Out the Clutter

During the migration to cloud process, most organizations utilize a variety of teams for developing, testing, deploying, and managing the applications. While all of these different hands are necessary and beneficial, they can leave behind a lot of unused resources in their wake, which in turn take up a lot of valuable space. Unissued resources include things like old snapshots, unused data in S3, elastic IPs, and idle load balancers. These things take up space and cost you money, so it is vital to completely clean house.

AWS tools like Botmetric and Trusted Advisor provide insights into all of your data and can assist you in removing unused resources. They also show you the usage of your resources so you can get rid of underutilized machines that are not being impactful.  

Elasticity

Going along with the tip that you should only pay for the amount of service that you are actually using is the fact that you should take advantage of elasticity. Amazon EC2 Spot Instances allows you to bid on spare computing capacity, which is typically priced far below on-demand pricing. By being strategic, you are able to not only grow your applications’ compute capacities, but also greatly reduce your costs, as well. 

Tracking and Monitoring Changes

As with any part of your organization, it is important and necessary to always track and monitor your service usage. By being aware of the capacity you use, you will better be able to make decisions about which services you need as well as if you need to adjust at any point. AWS offers a few different options to assist your organization with this process, including Amazon CloudWatch and Trusted Advisor.

Amazon CloudWatch helps you not only to collect and track metrics, but also to set alarms, monitor log files, and automatically react to changes in your resources. CloudWatch provides system-wide visibility for application performance and general infrastructure health. Trusted Advisor gives you the ability to provision your resources while following best practices, in turn helping you to improve system performance and increase security.

Overall, utilizing the AWS cloud for your organization can quickly make expenses add up, so it is vital that you plan and decide what options are the best for your company. By finding the correct size, turning off workloads when they aren’t being used, getting rid of all of your unused resources, leveraging Reserved Instances, and continually monitoring your systems, you are on your way to optimizing costs in the Cloud using AWS.


Written by: JT is the creator of nOps – AWS cloud security tool. He spent last 10 years helping companies migrate to cloud and build automated infrastructures. nOps is a next generation security and collaboration solution for the cloud. nOps applies change management practices to deliver integrated security and reduce cloud waste.

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