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Reducing Spend In AWS

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Utilizing Amazon Web Services (AWS) to unlock the power of the cloud has become hugely popular over the past several years and rightfully so. Moving to AWS offers several benefits including increased agility, faster response time, and improved operational efficiency. Many people who are new to the cloud assume that these advantages will automatically lead to cost savings and are unpleasantly surprised when their cloud costs go up. Knowing how to reduce spend in AWS was the topic discussed at the latest Boston Amazon Web Services MeetUp. By being in attendance, we gained further insight into best practices for cloud management that help reduce costs and lead to cloud environment optimization. Here are a few of our biggest takeaways from the event:  

Reduce Spend In AWS

Delete unattached EBS volumes and aged snapshots 

Elastic Block Storage volumes (worth thousands of dollars) take up a lot of space within an AWS environment when they are in use during live instances. However, if users don’t remember to customize their settings so the EBS volume is deleted after the instance is complete, they will be continuously charged even if the EBS volume is inactive. 

Aged snapshots are similar in the respect that their costs can spiral out of control when multiple snapshots are provisioned without being closely monitored. By remembering to delete EBS volumes and aged snapshots, you can achieve significant cost-savings and please your managerial team, who will be happy to see a lower monthly AWS bill without suffering any loss in capabilities or performance. 

Keep your AWS environment up-to-date 

Taking advantage of new AWS releases is a simple, yet effective method of cutting costs. With improved functionality and performance, upgrading from prior generation instances to the latest AWS offering is usually a no-brainer decision as a main method of modernizing your AWS environment. Staying up-to-date on new AWS capabilities and executing seamless upgrades/migrations will have a direct impact on lowering hourly/monthly costs.   

Terminate zombie assets 

For those who may not be familiar with the term, zombie assets are commonly defined as purposeless infrastructure components existing in a cloud environment. There are many different types of zombie assets, but they are all equally harmful in that AWS will charge for them if they’re operational/running. The best way of ensuring zombie assets don’t spike up your AWS bill is to identify, evaluate and terminate them if no value is being provided. Create back-ups of these assets in case there is a need for recovery, and then enjoy the extra storage space that will reduce your AWS costs. 

Move old data to lower-cost tiers 

Data that isn’t top-of-mind should never be taking up your most valuable storage space. AWS offers multiple tiers of storage with varying pricing/performance and while most AWS users prefer the S3 tier, you can save more than 75% of your AWS investment by migrating older data to lower tiers of storage. It is common to move data from one tier to the next depending on usage, but be sure to keep a close eye on where your data resides and if you can save money by downgrading its residence. 

AWS Service Status

Smart cloud management

Our final takeaway from the Boston AWS MeetUp was that reducing AWS costs all boils down to smart cloud management. Exercising techniques such as scheduled start-and-stop instances, DevOps implementation, and knowing when to demand or reserve can reduce compute spend by 40%. AWS users shouldn’t expect to implement these strategies and see costs drastically go down right away. But by starting these processes in small doses and closely monitoring each aspect of your AWS environment, each strategy will result in continuous optimization and save money that can be allocated toward your most critical business needs. 

Thanks to Cloud Technology Partners for hosting a great night of AWS learning. Be sure to follow Boston AWS on MeetUp to view upcoming events and if you are looking to automate your cloud monitoring, learn why Opsview is the right solution for you.