Blog | 10 Ways to Reduce your AWS Cloud Spend

10 Ways to Reduce your AWS Cloud Spend

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) is perhaps the most preferred cloud service provider available in the market today. And the credit goes to its bestseller, sheer size computing resources, hands-on customer support and the user-friendly pay-as-you-use pricing policy.

AWS customers often complain about receiving giant cloud bills and spending more than their estimation on the cloud. For the organizations moving workloads to the cloud for the first time, cloud bill emerges as a new factor consuming a sizable piece of their IT budgets. Users keep struggling to find the right balance between cloud performance and cost. The unending battle to control the heavy cloud spending can be annoying for those who have already identified mismanaged resources, switched to good discounted cloud deals, and right-sized the computing services but did not succeed in slashing the cloud cost.

Paying only for the resources you use can help businesses achieve higher benefits of the cloud with unlimited scalability at lower IT cost. But the truth is that you are charged for the resources you have ordered regardless of the fact that you use them or not. Other cost drivers are a lack of visibility over cloud accounts and activities resulting in unauthorized access and use of services. This leads to costs addition without notice and charges of un-used, unnecessary resources. A study by Craig Lowery and Brandon Medford on cloud spend waste reveals that “Near about 70% of the cloud costs are wasted”.

Attaining cloud cost optimization is the main concern for organizations eager to control their cloud expenses. Here are the ten best practices to reduce your cloud spend and save big on your next cloud bill.


10 steps closer to reduce your AWS cloud spend

A heat map is a visual tool that acts as your cost optimization assistant. You can check the highs and lows of your computing demands using this tool and decide which services to start or stop for a specific time without disrupting other services. For instance, identify if development servers could be safely shut down on weekends. Do it manually or automate the start or stop schedule of instances.
Avoid paying for unused services by identifying the least or most used resources and scheduling their start / stop operations to run them only when needed.
Employees accessing and using the organization’s cloud resources for personal or other use without proper approval come under Shadow IT. This adds considerably to your cloud bill. In addition to increasing cost, it also poses security threats due to unaccounted data access.
Having a medium to peek into your cloud activities, educating your staff about the risks of Shadow IT, and setting a proper audit system to block unofficial apps can help eliminate Shadow IT and cut down related charges.
The AWS auto-scaling facilitate adjusting server’s capacity automatically to meet demands as per traffics density and maintain a steady performance at the lowest cost. It is not uncommon for teams to take shortcuts to configure auto-scaling groups in order to expedite the process. This leads to increased capacity-to-demand ratios and, therefore, more addition to cloud costs.
It is important to review the EC2 auto-scaling groups for the scaling activity with necessary settings and analyze the result in a timely manner to stop incurring related pricing.
Charges start adding from the time an EBS (Elastic Block Store) volume is created.  A huge part of the cloud cost is charged for the unattached EBS volumes in AWS accounts, these volumes are not in use but are chargeable. When a volume is left unattached and has very low (write) activity for a specific period of time it is considered as unused and shall be discarded. To avoid getting charged for such volumes, set a mechanism that allows checking the unused volumes and automatically deletes them.
To reduce cost, the best practice for deleting an EBS volume is first to have an EBS snapshot of it and then delete the volume. EBS snapshot is used to create a copy of data to use in case of any disaster or data loss. Accumulating old EBS snapshots can again make your cloud bill heavy. Organizations can decide how many snapshots to retain over a specific period. Consider setting a policy that alerts users on reaching a specific number of snapshots after a certain time and automatically deletes the older snapshots can avoid unexpected charges.
It is a smart decision to analyze your cloud use for a long term and then invest in reserved instances. Reserved instances help you save significantly on cloud spending. But it is equally important to properly use and monitor these reserved instances from time to time in order to optimize their benefits; failing to do so can only add more charges to your cloud bill.
To ensure the optimization of your reserved instances purchase, you shall be able to track and evaluate their benefits, spot waste and take action on a regular basis.
AWS provides five elastic IPs for each region; you are charged if:
  1. Same instance is assigned with more than one elastic IP
  2. Instance with elastic IP is terminated /stopped
  3. Same IP is remapped more than 100 times
  4. IP is disassociated, unattached or unused
To not incur charges for any of the above reasons, ensure none of your elastic IP or carrier IP addresses is left disassociated. Either re-associate them to any instance or delete them to elude wasted cost.
AWS cloud services are meant to make your cloud journey easy and simple. But if not used or monitored properly, you can only end up paying for not using any of them. For instance, if you are using AWS OpsWorks to create AWS resources, then you must terminate those resources when not in use in OpsWorks only. Otherwise, the auto-healing feature restarts these resources automatically, and you keep getting priced for them. A similar case is with Amazon CloudWatch, which lets users monitor resources and track spending but drives up costs on scaling cloud usage.
You can manage AWS services on your own with proper training or look for managed services experts who can do it for you so that you can optimize the cloud services without paying unnecessary charges unknowingly.
AWS offers free trial period for its services and packages. Once the services are expired, charges begin at standard billing rates. Setting alerts to notify when the free trial is about to expire can help to avoid incurring costs.
Scan your AWS bill to check what’s driving up the cloud cost. You will notice that you are being charged for the resources you once bought but not using anymore. Lower your cloud spending by identifying and then destroying such overlooked unused resources.
IT departments shall track new instances and attached storage created. It is very common for them to remove new instances and not delete the storage attached to them, which keeps adding charges to the bills. Setting up a process to spot such resources and deleting them can cut down unexpected expenses.
Another factor where users get charged is data requests for accessing, transferring or recovering data. Frequent data access, transfer or recovery requests can raise the cloud bill.
To shift data between different cloud platforms or regions, you have to pay extra to the cloud service provider. Therefore it is best practice to first evaluate your cloud providers’ fees for the data requests, transfers, or recovery then define your budget, and as per that, limit the frequency of transfers or retrievals.

The bottom line

Cloud holds great potential and can unlock many financial opportunities for businesses if used effectively. Reducing cloud spend will not happen overnight; companies shall follow the cost optimization strategies efficiently with few reviews and modifications frequently. It is essential to understand that cloud cost optimization is not a one-time activity but an ongoing effort that needs the contribution of the whole organization. Everyone using cloud resources in an organization shall take the responsibility to use the cloud optimally and sensibly. Educating various teams on their cloud-saving role, pricing attributes, and best practices to cut down cloud expenses can help shun unexpected cloud cost waste and keep your next cloud bill in control.

It is always good, to begin with, a free consultation to initiate saving on your next cloud bill. Talk to our cloud experts to know where you stand on your cloud cost optimization journey and how we can help you cut down your cloud expenses by 50%.

Book 1-hour free consultation with pricing details

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