Lowering Your AWS Cloud Bill

We are facing three new C’s: Covid, Cloud & Cost. Over the past few months, Covid-19 has altered the norms of everyday life dramatically. At one corner, we have industries such as aviation, hospitality, tourism, entertainment, restaurants, etc. which have been brought to their knees. In contrast, at another corner, this pandemic has forced a lot of digital, team, and cultural transformations to happen within organizations. A massive rise in cloud adoption has been seen and AWS has been a vast portion of this. We are all moving to the cloud, but are we tracking the cost and budget? Is it impacting our organization?

Many Clevel executives (CEO, CTO, CFO, CIO, CRO) and EVP/VP’s say that their AWS bill shocks them, but they can’t do anything about it.  In the end, it comes down to,The AWS bill is high. We can’t keep track of every resource that our developers/infrastructure’s/SRE/architects make. We need the cloud, and that costs more money.”

Well, during these tough economic times, all businesses need to learn how to reduce and optimize expenses, and this includes their AWS/Azure cloud bill. Without a deliberate approach to architecting in the cloud and best practices surrounding governance, organizations are finding themselves exposed and spending more than initially planned.

(Image source: snippet from AWS website)

Common Cloud Pitfalls

Several reports say that on an average 35% of cloud users express concerns about controlling cloud costs and on average, approximately 10%-25% of the estimated cloud range is not used.

  • Uncontrolled spend
  • No trackback
  • Difficulty understanding pricing models
  • Not the right size
  • Unknown security exposures
  • Lack of continued compliance
  • Shortcuts made in provisioning stages
  • Not meeting business availability goals and design doesn’t perform as expected 

AWS Migration

Migrating to AWS has many advantages, and it provides lots of features in terms of increased scalability, performance, security, and flexibility, but it comes at a higher price. The reality is that without a proper cost optimization strategy in place, your bills can quickly get out of hand. This can cause you to put the brakes on strategic cloud deployments to stay within budget. Not managing your cloud costs proactively not only costs you money—it costs you the opportunity to fully realize the benefits of the cloud to transform your business.

Our next article will cover more on ‘Best Practices for AWS Cloud Migration’.

AWS Costs, Usage, and Design Principles 

  1. Leverage ‘PAYG’ – Pay-As-You-Go
  2. Shutdown unused instances and resources 
  3. Select the right instance size for your workload
  4. Select the appropriate S3/Glacier storage class
  5. Use CloudWatch Alarms and Trusted Advisor to monitor costs
  6. Use Auto Scaling to align your resources with demand
  7. Consolidated Billing provides cost savings
  8. Take advantage of Reserved and Spot Instances
  9. Delete what’s not needed- eliminate waste

AWS Cost Optimization and Monitoring Flows

  1. Analyze the current state and identify potential quick saving wins (e.g., Unused EBS volumes or unused Reservations)
  2. Review other AWS financial cost (e.g., Saving Plans or Private Pricing) and implement costcutting measures
  3. Convert actions to policy statements to track utilization, measure progress based on goals and limit waste
  4. Monitor resources and refine as needed. Assess the environment for costeffective resources (e.g., cheaper storage class, rightsizing, managed services)
  5. Having multi-accounts, necessary access controls (IAM, roles, permissions) and managed policies to restrict the use of Full-Admin rights. These should be coupled with the billing alerts and scheduled bill reviews should curb the cloud spend

AWS Cost Saving Plans and Some Third-Party Tools

We recommend AWS Budget to keep track of your daily/monthly bill budget. We also suggest using AWS Cost and Usage Report, which contains the most comprehensive set of AWS cost and usage data available, including additional metadata about AWS services, pricing, and reservations (e.g., Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances (RIs)). 

AWS also offers a discount model called AWS Savings Plans for flexible pricing for EC2 Instances and AWS Fargate in exchange for a usage commitment (dollars/hour) over a set time period of 1 or 3 years. 

ThirdParty Software Tools such as CloudHealth by VMware, CloudChckr, and ParkMyCloud are also used to track and analyze your workloads, bills and resource inventory and utilization.

Time to Save Some Chunks!!

The cloud promised to save you money, but your cloud bills may have increased drastically. To leverage cloud fashion, you need to adopt a cloud-first attitude and mindset by using strategies and innovative ways to compute while preventing cloud sprawl. There are third-party vendor tools as well to optimize your costs (an “extra/additional overhead cost as well.”)    

To conquer your cloud economics, experts from Cyber Group can assist you and your company/firm/organization to make the right architectural, cost management, and technology decisions. 

Written by Jay Shah, Consultant

Jay Shah is a Cloud & DevOps Consultant at Cyber Group. He has track record of success helping enterprise customers gain operational efficiencies through the adoption of various open source tools by having cultural and digital transformation. He has been a speaker and a contributor to The Linux Foundation and his published research papers speak about the recent trends and changes in the IT, Cloud and DevOps world.

Reach out to Jay to learn more about DevOps implementation for your team!