Today, we reach the fifth and final post in our series of ways to save money on AWS. Way #5 to save is… ParkMyCloud! Read on, or watch the video version of this post:
ParkMyCloud is purpose-built to do one thing well, and that’s to schedule on/off times for EC2 instances in non-production environments, without scripting. We call that “parking.” You can think of “parked” as a new instance state between running and stopped.
Depending on the schedule you use, ParkMyCloud can achieve savings of up to 50-73%, making it better than Reserved Instances for non-production, without the annual commitment, without concerns about price cuts, and without having to pay upfront. It provides the same savings as Spot Instances without the risk of abrupt termination.
ParkMyCloud vs. Reserved Instances
So let’s look at the comparison with Reserved Instances a little more closely. I’ll show you why I think ParkMyCloud is better than Reserved Instances for non-production.
Here’s the graph we looked at in the post on Reserved Instances:
You’ll notice that I’ve added ParkMyCloud this time. The first blue ParkMyCloud column shows the costs when you use a typical schedule of running 12 hours a day, parked 12 hours a day, and parked on weekends. That savings is around 64%. To match that with Reserved Instances, you would actually have to pay the three-year upfront cost for Reserved Instances. Most people, because of the concern over price cuts, don’t use the three-year contracts, they stick to the one-year term.
The concern over price cuts does not apply to ParkMyCloud. If you have the 30% cut that you see in the “On-Demand w/ Price Cut” column, with ParkMyCloud, you would still get that 64% savings, but it’s against that new price point — see the “PMC w/ Price Cut” column.
How to Use ParkMyCloud
Unlike managing Reserved Instances, ParkMyCloud is very simple to use. Essentially, all you do is create a schedule, name it and save it (and that’s if you don’t want to use one of the schedules we provide):
Then you go to the dashboard and attach that schedule to one or more of your non-production instances.
Once you’ve attached those, we will predict what your 30-day savings will be. If you leave the schedules on for a period of time, once they start parking, you’ll see what savings you’ve achieved to date.
We do all this for about a dollar an instance a month, which is more cost-effective than scripting
The 5 Ways to Save
So let’s summarize the 5 ways to save on AWS EC2 we discussed.
Reserved Instances will save you about 31-43%, but the downside is, you’re locked in for 1-3 years. Additionally, there’s no protection against future AWS price cuts, and it’s definitely a use-it-or-lose-it situation. Although they can be used in both production and non-production, production is probably the best place for them.
We also talked about Spot Instances, which can routinely save 70-90%. However, because of long delays in request fulfillment and termination of instances on short notice, and the need for complex mitigation strategies, these are much higher risk, but there are definite use cases for both production and non-production as we saw.
We looked at Auto Scaling, which takes advantage of all these instance purchasing options. It makes it hard to pin down the savings and the risk, which depends on the purchasing options, and the rules you have.
We talked about scripting, but honestly I don’t think scripting is particularly cost-effective. It would give similar savings to what ParkMyCloud would, but take a greater cost to get there.
Lastly, today we talked about ParkMyCloud, where you can get 50-73% savings pretty simply, without the risks of Spot or Reserved Instances. One limitation is that we don’t recommend that you use ParkMyCloud in production instances. You can’t park Spot Instances, because you can’t stop them – they just terminate. And we don’t currently park Auto Scaling groups, although we are looking into doing this. But those limitations are small compared to the amount and simplicity of savings.
If this is of interest to you, I encourage you to sign up for a 30-day free trial. You can create an account and pocket the savings for the next 30 days while you try it out.