Cloud, Cost Containment

7 tips to help get your AWS costs under control

Do you feel like your AWS monthly costs are getting out of control? Costs will continue to trend up as your needs grow. With that in mind, here are a few tips to help IT and Finance reign in spending. AmazonWebservices_Logo.svg

  1. Develop a simple metric to track your monthly AWS costs—Cost per X.  Your X can be customers, accounts, transactions—whatever makes sense for your business.  If your Cost per X ever rises substantially, it’s probably worth a deeper discussion.
  2. Tag all instances. Finance and IT should work together to define tags that help with tracking and financial reporting. If applicable, include tags for Customer, Application, and Environment (e.g. development, test, or production.) Tags will help you understand if utilization on development and test instances is too high.
  3. Implement a “Tag or Kill” policy to help enforce tagging. Pick one day a week to kill any instances that aren’t tagged.
  4. “Turn off the lights.”  Shut down development and test instances when they aren’t being used. In theory, only production instances should be left on 24/7/365.
  5. Buy EC2 Reserved Instances.  The beauty of AWS is that EC2 instances can be turned on or off as needed. This flexibility comes at a premium.  If you know you’ll need a certain EC2 instance size 100% of the time, it’s definitely worth buying a reserved instance. Reserved instances require an upfront financial commitment, but save significant money in the long run.
  6. Auto Scale your EC2 Instances! AWS Auto Scaling allows you to ramp your EC2 instances up or down based on predefined criteria. Additional instances can be turned on or off as needed. You may be wasting money if your EC2 instances are running at sizes based on peak demand.EC2 Trend - Peak Demand
  7. Talk about it.  Finance and IT should meet regularly to discuss ongoing costs, big swings in the Cost per X,  and to modify the strategy as needed.