The “3 R’s” of Lowering AWS Costs

2 Min Read

The content in this blog is outdated and we cannot reliably say it is still accurate with the speed in which the cloud industry moves. But don’t worry—below are more recent, up-to-date blogs.

AWS Rightsizing For Cost Optimization

The 5 Best Ways To Reduce AWS Instance Cost

The Ultimate Guide To Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances


The original version of this post was written by Brett Gillett, owner of Curious Orbit Cloud Consulting Inc., an AWS Consulting Partner, and featured on the Curious Orbit blog.

There are key steps to cutting down on monthly EC2 expenses: reducing infrastructure, rightsizing, and purchasing Reserved Instances.

Step 1: Reduce

In many cases, AWS instances deployed for a one-off project are subsequently kept up and running. AWS customers continue to incur a monthly cost to maintain forgotten instances. Terminating these “zombie” instances is a quick and effective way to reduce your AWS bill substantially. This can be accomplished by checking for unused instances on your AWS account, taking a snapshot (as a backup, an AMI should be created), and eliminating the instance.

Step 2: Rightsize


Overprovisioning is another common misstep which can lead to unnecessarily high AWS expenditures, with some customers utilizing as little as 5% of CPU. Utilization should be regarded as a key performance indicator for assessing the efficiency of your cloud environment. Underutilized EC2 instances can be identified using native solutions from AWS such Trusted Advisor (for AWS Business or Enterprise Support customers), or CloudWatch (other AWS customers), or third-party Cloud Service Management platforms such as CloudHealth. The benefit of third-party solutions is that it can give you visibility into performance metrics beyond CPU, namely memory and disk utilization.


Step 3: Reserve

After removing those “zombie” instances and rightsizing your other EC2 instances, you may want to think about purchasing Reserved Instances to further reduce your monthly AWS spend. With Reserved Instances, you have the option of making either a 1-year or 3-year commitment. Moreover, you can either choose to make a partial upfront payment or pay no upfront cost. Making a long-term commitment and/or paying partially upfront leads to increased savings. Ideal candidates for Reserved Instances include those which are used to host web or application servers.

Final Thoughts: Selecting the Right Instance Type


Five instance types are available in AWS: General Purpose, Storage Optimized, Memory Optimized, Compute Optimized, and GPU. Selecting the ideal instance type greatly enhances your ability to rightsize and purchase Reserved Instances. As such, you should make sure that you understand the unique nature of a particular workload before making a purchase decision.

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