Five Valuable AWS Cost Tips

CloudHealth Tech Staff Cloud Tech Journalist
Published: January 21, 2020
5 Min Read

Some industry observers believe one of the main reasons businesses experience AWS cost issues is because the selection of cost monitoring tools provided by Amazon Web Services can be difficult to understand. If your business falls into this category, request a free trial of our user-friendly cloud management platform.

CloudHealth helps businesses better govern their single, multi, or hybrid cloud environments with confidence. As well as having the capabilities to control cloud costs, our user-friendly cloud management platform can be used to improve performance and enhance cloud security - without causing confusion. In the context of addressing AWS cost issues, here´s five valuable tips if your business experiences AWS cost issues and how CloudHealth can help.

1. Enforce a Consistent Tagging Strategy

Before taking action to address AWS cost issues, it is important to know where the costs are. Most cloud resources can be tagged to identify the owner of the resource, the business unit, environment type, and the application with which it is associated; but resources can often be deployed without tags attached to them, or with inconsistent abbreviations that make it difficult to account for where the AWS cost issues are occurring. For example, “environment” can be shortened to “env”, “envr”, or “envir”.

CloudHealth can be configured to block the launch of resources that have no tags attached, or a default tag can be temporarily assigned with the name of the resource owner (based on CloudTrail logs) if you don't want to block untagged resources. You can also create policies within CloudHealth to correct misspelled tags to prevent the scenario of having more cost allocation tags than necessary. Once you have identified where the AWS cost issues are occurring, then it is time to take action.

2. Schedule On/Off Times for Non-Production Resources

The quickest way to address AWS cost issues is to schedule on/off times for non-production resources because, once a consistent tagging strategy is applied, these will be easy to identify via their environment tag. However, rather than assign every non-production resource with the same 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. Monday to Friday schedule, it can pay to allow CloudHealth to recommend individual on/off schedules based on the actual utilization of each resource.

3. Rightsize EBS Volumes as Well as EC2 Instances

In the cloud, you pay for what you provision rather than what you use, so many AWS Cost issues are attributable to businesses paying for resources that have more capacity than they need. For example, if you provision a c4.2xlarge EC2 instance with eight vCPUs and fifteen GiB of memory, that's what you will pay for even if you use a fraction of the capacity. You may also have an SSD EBS volume provisioned for the instance, when an HDD EBS instance (which is half the price) will do the job equally as well.

AWS´ Trusted Advisor can be used to provide rightsizing recommendations for EC2 instances, but not EBS volumes. Furthermore, Trusted Advisor´s recommendations are based on two weeks utilization metrics, so they will be inappropriate for instances that experience spikes in demand monthly or seasonally. With CloudHealth, you can define the period for which you want to receive recommendations and apply policies to alert you when demand changes.

4. Make the Best Use of Convertible Reserved Instances

Convertible Reserved Instances were introduced by Amazon Web Services in September 2016, and the option to purchase one-year Convertible Reserved Instances was added in November 2017. Since then, the percentage of businesses purchasing Convertible Reserved Instances has overtaken the percentage of customers purchasing Standard Reserved Instances, but there can still be AWS cost issues associated with Convertible Reserved Instances if they are not managed properly.

Amazon´s Cost Explorer tool enables you to visualize Reserved Instance Utilization and Reserved Instance Coverage, and will make recommendations for further Reserved Instance purchases based on user-defined term, class, and payment option. By comparison, CloudHealth´s Convertible Reserved Instance Exchanger alerts you to every viable purchase option, and whether it would be better for your business to convert existing Reserved Instance purchases rather than purchase new ones.

5. Implement Storage Life Policy Rules

AWS currently offers nine different data storage services, with multiple classes of storage within each service. The most commonly used data storage service - the Simple Storage Service (S3) - has six classes of storage (Standard, Intelligent Tiering, Infrequent Access, One Zone Infrequent Access, Glacier, and Glacier Deep Archive) with a price difference of more than 20x between the most expensive class and the cheapest class (not including data retrieval fees).

To help address AWS cost issues associated with data storage, you can configure CloudHealth to calculate when it is financially beneficial to migrate infrequently accessed data to a cheaper class of storage. You can do this across your entire cloud environment or by tag to ensure large volumes of data required for disaster recovery are not migrated into Deep Archive (from where it can take up to twelve hours to retrieve). CloudHealth can also be configured to auto-expire object storage.

Bonus Tip: Leverage CloudHealth and AWS Savings Plans

Recently AWS announced a new offering, called Savings Plan, which provides more flexibility (applying across all Regions and Families), while offering the same cost savings (66-72% discounts) as Reservations. Not only does the CloudHealth platform help you make more informed decisions, but our customer success team is standing by to be your guide. CloudHealth supports AWS Savings Plans, with initial Platform support and via our newly formed Savings Strategy Desk. In addition, we continue to help customers manage Reservations with the RI Optimizer and Convertible RI Exchanger for EC2 and other services to ensure those investments are protected. 

Find Out More about Using CloudHealth to Address Your AWS Cost Issues

The above five tips are just examples of what CloudHealth is capable of; and, if you would like to learn about how our cloud management platform can help your business address AWS Cost issues, do not hesitate to get in touch. Our team will be happy to answer your questions, organize a demo of CloudHealth in action, and invite you to take advantage of a free trial of CloudHealth to evaluate its cost saving capabilities in your own environment. Contact us today to find out more.

CloudHealth Tech Staff, Cloud Tech Journalist

The CloudHealth Tech Staff team is made up of industry experts who report on trending cloud news, offer cloud management best practices, and compare products and services across the major cloud providers. As a part of CloudHealth, the CloudHealth Tech Staff come from all different backgrounds making them unique leaders in this industry.

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