How to Lower Your Amazon AWS Bill

Cloud users generally start researching how to lower your Amazon AWS bill just before the third stage of a process known as “cloud awareness” – the first two stages being cloud adoption and cloud deployment. The third stage – cloud cost optimization – is when you realize in your eagerness to adopt the cloud, you have deployed more instances on Amazon´s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) than is good for the health of your budget, and left them running when they are not actually being used.

Without taking control of your AWS bill, it is impossible to plan ahead for future projects and capacity requirements. With a little creative thinking it is possible to come up with several ways to lower your Amazon AWS bill, but many of these have pitfalls or can cost you more than you would actually save.

Options to Lower Your Amazon AWS Bill

One of the first places you will likely look is Amazon´s pricing options. It may be possible you can change regions or instance types to benefit from lower AWS costs, or pay upfront for Reserved Instances to take advantage of a discount. These measures, however, are only temporary fixes and do not help you take control of your AWS expenditure. Furthermore, if Amazon continues to reduce its AWS EC2 prices over the next couple of years, the savings you make by paying upfront may be minimal.

A more permanent way to lower AWS costs is to turn off non-production AWS EC2 instances when they are not needed. Most development, testing and staging instances are not needed outside of working hours; so, by turning off unnecessary AWS EC2 instances between 8.00 p.m. and 8.00 a.m. and at weekends, you could lower AWS costs for non-production AWS EC2 instances by almost 65%. There are three ways this can be achieved:

  • Tell your developers to turn off their development, staging and testing instances when they are not needed. The pitfall in this scenario is that developers may forget to turn them off, in which case you will still be paying for the compute resources reserved for the instances.
  • The “forgetfulness scenario” can be resolved by reassigning your developers to write scheduling scripts in order to automate the turning off process. This is only a good solution to lower your Amazon AWS bill until you factor in the developers´ hourly rates, the cost of maintaining the scripts and the delayed delivery of the core projects they are working on.
  • The third option to lower your Amazon AWS bill is off-the-shelf scheduling software. Provided you don´t go overboard, and implement a suite of cloud computing management software full of features you will never use, the payback time for off-the-shelf scheduling software is usually a couple of months. Furthermore, the software will help you gain control over your AWS costs.

How to Lower AWS Costs with Scheduling Software

Off-the-shelf scheduling software is not only the most reliable and cost-effective way to lower AWS costs, it is also easy to use. System administrators sign into the company´s Amazon AWS account via a SaaS app and create roles for each of the development teams. Each development team is then assigned their own AWS EC2 instances.

When the development and testing teams sign into the SaaS app, they see only their assigned AWS EC2 instances and recommendations about which non-production AWS EC2 instances are suitable for scheduling (or “parking” as we call it). The teams select which of the recommended instances they want to park (if not all), and either choose a pre-configured parking schedule or create a parking schedule of their own.

Not all the non-production AWS EC2 instances have to be assigned the same parking schedule. Instances can be parked according to individual schedules or parked according to policies created by the system administrator via the scheduling software. The software also makes it possible to “snooze” parking schedules, rather than create a new schedule if out-of-hours access is required, and has safeguards in place to return instances to their dormant state if developers forget to park them again.

How to Lower Your Amazon AWS Bill to the Minimum

It was mentioned above you could lower AWS costs for non-production AWS EC2 instances by almost 65% by shutting down the instances out of working hours. This figure represents how much you could lower AWS costs in total if all your AWS EC2 instances are used for development, staging and testing, and your working week is 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Most companies deploy a mixture of production and non-production instances on Amazon´s Elastic Compute Cloud, so the total savings would not be this much. To take the speculation out of how much you might lower AWS costs by, the scheduling software shows you projected savings over the next thirty days once the parking schedules are set, and actual savings once they are operational.

In order to lower your Amazon AWS bill to minimum, what you could do is schedule all your non-production AWS EC2 instances to be permanently parked and tell your development teams to “snooze” the schedules whenever they want access to the instances. A permanently parked schedule will lower your Amazon AWS bill to the minimum, especially during vacation times.

Better AWS Management and Increased Accountability

It was also mentioned above that, in order to lower AWS costs meaningfully, you have to take control of your AWS expenditure. Scheduling software helps you do this by enabling better AWS management and increased accountability. You will also make indirect cost savings while instances are parked, as they will not need to be monitored by network security teams.

The better AWS management comes from the scheduling software´s single dashboard view of your Amazon accounts. Using the single dashboard view, administrators can easily identify unused or underused instances and reassign them, place them into a cheaper region, place them in a different pricing plan, or retire them altogether.

Administrators have access to reports that show how much AWS costs are being reduced by team, user or credential. This information increases the accountability of development teams and can provide valuable data for accurate project and capacity planning. The reporting function is also a useful tool for keeping an eye on the health of your budgets.

Free Cloud Cost Optimization from ParkMyCloud

ParkMyCloud is a versatile and lightweight scheduling app that conducts a discovery of resources in your Amazon account and finds non-production AWS EC2 instances suitable for parking. Not only a reliable and cost-efficient way for to lower your Amazon AWS bill, ParkMyCloud allows administrators to create policies, better manage your Amazon accounts, and increase governance over development teams.

ParkMyCloud has a competitive pricing structure that, for a standard tier customer, will pay for itself within two months. However, before committing to anything, we invite you to try ParkMyCloud free of charge for fourteen days in order to evaluate our scheduling software in your own environment and see by how much you could lower AWS costs by parking your non-production AWS EC2 instances.

To take advantage of this opportunity, simply click the “Try it Now“ button on this page. If you have any questions before starting your free trial, feel free to contact us. Our team will be happy to answer your questions and explain in further detail how to lower your Amazon AWS bill by using ParkMyCloud to schedule on/off times for non-production AWS EC2 instances.

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