Formerly Wasteful Bob asks, “Why are AWS tools good at flexibility OR cost-efficiency, but rarely both?”

AWS tools don't have to be complicated.Formerly Wasteful Bob learned recently of a new AWS pricing scheme called Scheduled Reserved Instances.

The word “scheduled” intrigued Bob, as his new favorite cloud management app, ParkMyCloud, lets him set up a calendar to turn instances on and off. He clicked on the official AWS blog post and saw that Scheduled Reserved Instances (SRIs) “allow you to reserve capacity on a recurring basis with a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule over the course of a one-year term.”

Now, in Bob’s experience, management tools tended to deliver either cost-efficiency or control, but not both. So as soon as he saw the words, “one-year term,” he immediately bucketed SRIs on the less flexible side of the cost vs. flexibility spectrum. Even if the savings with SRIs was unbelievably compelling, Bob knew there were very few times in his career when he knew what he was going to need in three months much less 12. Additionally, SRIs seemed somewhat complicated and time consuming to manage, especially compared to ParkMyCloud.

As always, Bob checked his initial assessment with a Google search. He felt extremely validated by these two articles in particular:

Bob found himself nodding his head particularly vigorously when he read this quote from one of his peers, a Director of Automation and DevOps for a managed hosting company, about the overall complexity of AWS pricing and management features:

“I love the flexibility, but the added complexity makes it hard for an AWS newcomer to really know how to optimize their spend without seeking outside help.”

“I guess it’s really hard to make stuff easy,” Bob pondered. At that moment, Bob’s ParkMyCloud dashboard notified him that seven QA instances woke up right on schedule. “Or maybe,” he thought, “you just need to be really motivated and clever to make stuff easy.”