6 Tips to Save Your Organization Money with AWS

Raymond Lacoste on AWS Cost Savings

AWS imageAmazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s largest, most robust cloud computing platform with over 70 offerings, a million of customers, $10 billion in annual revenue, and 40% of the cloud computing market share. AWS operates in 44 availability zones, 16 geographic regions, and serves customers like Reddit and Dropbox. While all the tech stats are exciting for IT, the cost savings that can come from using AWS correctly.

On average, using AWS cloud computing instead of on-premise solutions reduced the cost of computing by 30%, “storage by an average of 51%, and relational databases by an average of 28%.” AWS even has a TCO calculator to see your cost-savings versus an on-prem solution.

So you know that AWS can save you money versus the traditional physical solutions. But even better, Raymond Lacoste, ITIL and AWS instructor at StormWind, has 6 ways to SAVE MONEY on your AWS investment! He saved over 50% on AWS investments by following these tips and watching sale prices of different products.


Here are his 6 ways to SAVE MONEY on AWS (You’re gonna be your boss’s best friend)

1. Pick the Right Size EC2 Instance:

It’s a simple as this from the get-go. Do not purchase an Instance that has more CPU, memory, storage, or networking than you need. This involves analysis of your organization and outlining what it is that you need AWS to provide before purchasing. Stick to those figures and don’t pay for what you don’t need! If you have implemented AWS already, make sure to monitor how many resources that you are actually using. If you’re using an Instance that gives you more than you need, today’s the day to adapt!

If you end up needing more from your Instance in the future, you can adapt on an as-needed basis. Scale up or down as the needs of your business change. With that being said, don’t shortchange your systems to save some dollars. Follow these tips and best practices and use AWS to its fullest within the needs of your business.

2. Consider Reserved or Spot Pricing

While most people are familiar with on-demand pricing for AWS, you should consider looking into reserved and spot pricing. By knowing your needs from the previous exercise, you could end up saving up to 75% on the TCO of your investment with the right reserved pricing package. More details in Raymond’s video on reserved pricing.

Spot pricing is good for the gambling types, just kidding kind of. Spot pricing involves understanding your needs and setting a price ceiling for what you are willing to pay for an EC2 Instance. If the price is below that ceiling, Instances will launch and you will pay for what is used. If the price is above that, Instances will be terminated. By using spot pricing over on-demand pricing, you could have cost savings of up to 90%.

3. Terminate Instances that Are Not Being Used

If you are on on-demand pricing, understanding your usage is critical to getting full value from your investment and not break the bank. If you are not using Instances to their full potential or at all, you need to terminate them. Seems intuitive to not pay for something that you are not using, but if you don’t understand your needs this can be difficult. Especially when it comes to EBS Volumes that may not be connected to an EC2 Instance, terminate what you don’t need!

4. Use Trusted Advisor

If you are not using this feature already, we are about to rock your world. Raymond wants you to use this feature, AWS wants you to use this feature, and your boss wants you to be using this feature.

Trusted Advisor on AWS

Photo credit: AWS

Trusted Advisor will scan your account of any resources, services, and features that aren’t optimized for cost savings. It will notify you of ways to save money within your own account! It’s like your own little AWS expert on your shoulder that’s saving you monty.

This tool is critical when it comes to Elastic IPs. You will only pay for Elastic IPs that you are NOT currently using. If you have IPs that are unassociated with an Instance those cost you money for something that you’re not using.

Using the Trusted Advisor will notify you of problems like this and save you money on your account every step of the way. You and Trusted Advisor should be tight.

5. Use AutoScaling and CloudWatch

If you use AWS, you need to be using CloudWatch. CloudWatch monitors your usage and use the AutoScale feature to scale up and scale down based on your usage. Its an adapts immediately to your business needs. What’s not to love? Use these features and save money today!

6. Use AWS Cost Explorer to Keep Track of Cost Drivers and Usage Trends

By reviewing and monitoring AWS Cost Explorer feature, you will be able to track usage trends overtime and be alerted to changes immediately. We suggest setting up billing alerts to be able to catch drastic price changes immediately. For example, if your bill is typically $150 per month, you could set up an alert that triggers at $200. By using the AWS Cost Explorer you are able to understand what costs you the most and when the highest spending occurs.

Bonus: Get AWS training to gain maximum value from your AWS investment

Check out Raymond Lacoste’s live training courses on AWS Technical Essentials and AWS System Operations! He covers real-world problems delivered with production that rivals blockbuster movies. Training will allow you and your team to work with AWS with confidence. Avoid some of the biggest problems that users encounter with their AWS implementation.



Transcript from the video:

Greetings everyone. Raymond Lacoste here, with StormWind Studios. And I want to take this opportunity to save you money. Now, how am I going to save you money? Well, I am going to give you six tips to save more money with AWS. Why? Because I save 50% because it was on sale. How are you going to save money with AWS? Well first and foremost, and you want to pick the right size EC2 Instance. It’s as simple as this. Don’t use an Instance that is going to give you more than you need. More what? More CPU, more memory, more storage, more networking.

If you use an Instance that gives you more than what you need, then you are paying for resources that you don’t actually need. Don’t overprovision, and also don’t under provision. To make sure you don’t under or overprovision your resources, you want to adapt. If you realize you’ve overed or undered provision, scale up, scale down, scale in, scale out. That’s right, adapt as the needs of your business change.

I want you to take a look at reserved or spot pricing. A lot of people are only familiar with on-demand pricing because they haven’t taken the time to learn about what is reserved pricing, or what is spot pricing when it comes to AWS. Well, reserved pricing is essentially a contract between you, and AWS that states, “For the next year, or three years, you can do an all, partial, or no upfront payments, and for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year for that one or three-year timeframe, you will pay this amount of money on an hourly basis for that Instance.”

You might be saying, “Wow, geeze, that’s a lot of money.” Well, wait. If you compare that same timeframe to on-demand pricing, you could save up to 75% if you use reserved instances over on-demand pricing, over that period of time. So plan again. Spot pricing, oh, this is an interesting one. It’s like playing the stock market. What I’m going to do is I’m going to set a certain price limit that I want to pay, for using an EC2 Instance. If the price is below that value, then the Instances are going to be launched, and I will be able to use those Instances for what I want to use them for.

However, if the price goes above that value, so let’s say I pick 10 cents, and the price goes above 10 cents per hour, then those Instances are going to be terminated, or no Instances are going to be launched. Why? Because it’s above my price, so I bid on spare EC2 computing capacity that’s not being used at that moment in time, and I could save up to 90% over on-demand pricing. That’s right, up to 90%. That’s a huge cost savings.

In your organization, if you plan properly, you’re going to have a mixture of on-demand pricing, reserved pricing, and spot pricing, so that way there you can save as much money as possible running those EC2 Instances.

Now, do not pay for something you are not using. How many times have you told somebody in your household, “Shut off the light when you’re exiting the room,” right? Your child leaves their bedroom, they leave the light on. Eventually, you realize the light’s on, and you remind them again. I don’t want to pay for something I’m not using. Meaning, I don’t want to pay for that electricity if nobody’s in that room. Same thing here. Terminate Instances that are not being used. Now, if you’re using reserved pricing, you’re going to pay for it no matter what. Whether it’s running or not, that’s the idea behind reserved pricing. But you’re going to save a lot of money.

I’m talking about on-demand Instances here. If there are on-demand Instances running, and you’re not using them to their potential, or using them at all, terminate them. Get rid of them, ’cause you don’t want to pay for something you are not actually using at that moment in time.

Now, EBS Volumes are going to be used with our EC2 Instances. If you have EBS Volumes that are no longer attached to an EC2 Instance, or you have snapshots of EBS Volumes that are no longer needed, then you’re paying for storage that is not needed anymore. If you come across any EBS Volumes or snapshots in your account that you’re no longer utilizing, or no longer need, make sure you delete them so you don’t pay for that storage anymore.

I really like being advised on things that I, well, need to be advised about. We have this tool that’s given to us by AWS that’s called the “Trusted Advisor.” I want you to use Trusted Advisor. AWS wants you to use Trusted Advisor. Why is that? Because Trusted Advisor is going to scour your account and locate resources, and services, and features that you can save money on. What? Did Raymond just say that properly? I did. Trusted Advisor will go through your account, and find areas that you can save money on. As well as other things, but I really like the saving money aspect of it. AWS created a tool that will allow me to pay them less money. Huh, that is great. I love this tool. Take advantage of Trusted Advisor.

One of the things that people forget about, that’s what I’m trying to say, forget about, is Elastic IP Addresses. Here’s an example. Elastic IP Address is simply a public IP address that’s given to you by AWS, and I might need one, two, three, four, five, whatever. Then I associate those Public IP Addresses with EC2 Instances. If I am using those Public IP Addresses on EC2 Instances, I don’t pay for them. That’s right, I don’t pay for them if I’m using them. I only pay for them if they’re associated with my account, and I’m not using them. AWS does this so you’re not hoarding Public IPV4 Addresses. They’ll start charging you for them if you’re not actually using them. Trusted Advisor will look to see if you have any unused Elastic IP Addresses, and warn you about them, so that way you can give them back so you no longer have to pay for them. There’s a great advantage of using Trusted Advisor.

Auto Scale, use CloudWatch. What does that mean? Well, CloudWatch is going to allow me to monitor my resources. Let’s say we have Instances running, and they’re in a group, and the CPU utilization gets to 80%. Well then we can use auto-scaling to scale up, so that way there as a group, we add more service to the group, and then CPU Utilization goes down. But we can also use this in reverse, meaning that if we have a whole bunch of servers that are part of an auto scaling group, and Resource Utilization drops, let’s say down to 20% amongst the group, then we take a server away. Every time as a group, if those services combine equal 20%, take a server away, take a server away, take a server away, so that way there we don’t have to pay for servers and resources that we don’t really need to pay for. So we can grow and shrink the number of Instances to meet the needs of our organization automatically, and save us money.

Lastly here, Cost Explorer. With Cost Explorer, you’re going to have the ability to keep track of costs, you’ll be able to keep track of usage trends, you’ll even be able to keep an eye on your billing. Setup billing alerts, so that way there you’ll be notified if your bill’s get out of control. Meaning that you get a bill that’s going to be coming in, that’s way more than you anticipated. You might say, “Well on average, we only spend $200 …” Or, not even on average. “Maximum we’ve ever spent over the last year has only ever been 150 bucks.” I am going to set a billing alert at $200, so if we ever go over $200, I’m going to be notified right away, so that way there we can take action and adjust resource usage as needed.

Folks, I really hope you take advantage of my tips for saving money with AWS. Until next time folks, everyone here at Stormwind Studios wishes you the utmost, fantastic journey with AWS. Take care everyone and bye for now.