It’s been a few weeks since AWS announced AWS Savings Plans, their newest discount program aimed at helping customers reduce their spending on compute, and the buzz (and inevitable confusion) surrounding the new service is still strong.
If you haven’t found the time to learn about Savings Plans (we know how busy this time of year can be), check out our blog to learn everything you need to know about the new program, including how Savings Plans discounts compare to their (less flexible) older sibling, Reserved Instances.
As you can imagine, the interest surrounding AWS Savings Plans has been especially strong amongst our customer community, and in order to support our customers throughout their cloud journey, we’ve been working closely with AWS to provide support for Savings Plans in the CloudHealth Platform.
The feedback we’ve been hearing from customers surrounding Savings Plans has included everything from excitement at the new cost-saving opportunities to confusion (and a little bit of fear) around how this new discount program will affect their current RI management strategy. After compiling and responding to all of our customer feedback, we thought it would be worthwhile to share some of these sentiments with the broader AWS community in hopes that our solutions will resonate with AWS customers struggling with Savings Plans.
To be really good at managing savings plans, you need all of the same skills and tools that you needed with Reserved Instances
- Jeff Julander, Instructure
Even though Savings Plans are more flexible than other discount programs, they still require significant upfront planning and ongoing management in order to ensure you get the maximum benefit. In order to do this, it’s necessary for customers to have visibility into and understand current RI inventory, utilization, and burn rate, and then layer Savings Plans onto RIs incrementally. Additionally, processes such as Rightsizing don’t go away with Savings Plans, in fact, it’s actually more critical than ever to accurately rightsize infrastructure ahead of making purchases.
Cloud Management Platforms such as CloudHealth can help with both planning and ongoing management of Savings Plans, and that often starts with RI management. And where does a successful RI management strategy start? Optimized infrastructure.
If a Savings Plan is applied to an overprovisioned EC2 instance, the discount is being wasted on services that aren’t being used. Savings Plans can help minimize AWS Cloud costs, but you still have to take responsibility for infrastructure optimization. This is where CloudHealth can help:
EC2 Rightsizing. In a large cloud environment, it’s time-consuming to track down which resources are running, in which families, and who owns them. It might take days or even weeks to analyze your inventory and utilization to determine what instances can be downgraded. CloudHealth’s Rightsizing Report makes it easy to quickly identify underutilized infrastructure and get recommendations for downgrading or terminating assets.
CloudHealth’s Convertible Reservation Exchanger. Given that AWS will apply to Convertible RIs to your EC2 usage before applying Savings Plans, you want to make sure your CRIs are fully optimized and exchanged before making additional commitments via Savings Plans. Otherwise your spending money on discounts that are covering wasted resources.
This sounds great, but how am I going to charge this back to my lines of business?
While Savings Plans may be a discount program intended to save customers money on compute, purchasing discounts won’t guarantee lower AWS bills. Whichever type of Savings Plan best suits your requirements, a minimum monetary commitment exists—and if you don’t meet the minimum monetary commitment in any given hour, that Saving Plan benefit is forfeited.
Many AWS customers (you might be one of them), have AWS services decentralized and distributed across their entire organization, meaning many different departments and teams are constantly spinning up workloads, developing applications, and yes, even purchasing discounts, without a whole lot of oversight. This lack of central cloud management, which is often a result of poor visibility into one’s cloud environment, leads to overspending and poor financial accountability across an organization—a finance team’s worst nightmare.
Gaining granular visibility into your cloud environment, starting with where your spending money, is important to making informed financial decisions. Being able to reallocate spend to specific teams and projects is necessary for cleaning up your AWS bill—and this includes tying spend on Savings Plans back to business groupings via chargeback.
CloudHealth’s Savings Plan Granular Allocation. This functionality allows customers to slice their data based on perspectives, enabling teams to look at which business unit, team, or project received the benefit of a Savings Plan. Customers can then use this cost allocation report to chargeback Savings Plans costs appropriately within their organization.
CloudHealth’s Savings Plan Opportunity Modeling (coming soon!). Okay, so you have a (better) understanding of Savings Plan discounts and how they compare to Reserved Instances, but now you want to compare the potential cost (and savings) of each discount before you make any purchasing decisions. With CloudHealth’s Savings Plan Opportunity Modeling functionality, CloudHealth customers will be able to model Savings Plan quotes and compare saving rates to other AWS discount opportunities and see what scenario is the best for their unique environment.
With CloudHealth, you’ll be able to take the stress out of buying Savings Plans discount before a single purchase is made. But what if you don’t have the bandwidth to compare discount scenarios? CloudHealth has you covered there too!
CloudHealth’s Savings Plan Recommendations (coming soon!). Receive recommendations tailored for you based on your environment’s unique usage patterns and forecasts. CloudHealth customers using Savings Plan will be able to receive actionable recommendations from the CloudHealth Platform.
CloudHealth Savings Desk. Given the shift in the economic model and related challenges associated with it, we saw the need for a set of expert advisors to be on-hand to help customers make the best decisions when it comes to Savings Plans. Since we have a team here at CloudHealth working closely with AWS, it was a no brainer to form the Strategic Savings Desk. The charter of this team is to advise customers on 1) how cloud provider discount offerings work, 2) how customers can get the best discount, and 3) best practices to plan for and manage discounts. This is a complimentary service for CloudHealth customers.
If you’re thinking about taking advantage of AWS Savings Plans, listen to our panel of AWS experts walk through how you can build a successful strategy within your own organization.