On the blog, we’ve talked about AWS instance savings methods through various purchasing options — like Reserved Instances — as well as through AWS-external options like scripting. Between the various options, how do you compare to balance savings and risk?

We’ve created this chart to illustrate the tradeoffs and benefits for five popular options.

aws instance savings comparison

Here’s the rundown:

  • Reserved instances provide decent savings compared to on-demand, although it’s perhaps lower than you might expect for a variety of reasons, including the lack of protection against price cuts during your contract. These instances are best for production environments.
  • Spot instances have use cases in both production and non-production environments, and due to the bidding system can provide huge savings of 70-90% over on-demand. However, this comes at the cost of a risk of termination at any time that you are outbid (i.e., the actual price is greater than your bid price) or whenever AWS runs out of spare capacity. Hence, this approach requires complex mitigation methods.
  • Autoscaling can be used with any of the mentioned purchasing options, which makes the savings difficult to define categorically (as well as the risk).
  • Scripting on/off times for instances bears mentioning, as some companies are utilizing this option today, and it can save similar amounts of money to ParkMyCloud’s scheduler. However, the cost to actually achieve these savings is significantly higher than the cost of ParkMyCloud due to administration time and opportunity cost.
  • ParkMyCloud’s scheduling, on the other hand, starts at just $29/month with just a few minutes of setup time, and can save 50-73% on your AWS EC2 spend. We won’t claim to be perfect, though, even on our own blog. The downsides are that ParkMyCloud will only save you money on your non-production environments, and that you can’t park autoscaling groups (yet). Even given these limitations, the low administration cost and rapid savings make ParkMyCloud an attractive balance of high savings and low risk.

For a closer look at these ways to reduce your AWS spend, check out this new whitepaper, 5 Ways to Slash Your AWS Spending.

About Dale Wickizer

Dale brings over 30 years of technology and engineering experience to his role as co-founder and Chief Technology Office (CTO) at ParkMyCloud. After experiencing the problem of growing cloud spend first-hand, and discovering that there was no simple way to solve it, Dale teamed up with co-founder Jay Chapel to create ParkMyCloud to solve the problem of cloud waste. Before founding ParkMyCloud, Dale was the CTO of the U.S. Public Sector at NetApp, Inc. where he set the future technology and product direction and managed key customer relationships. Prior to NetApp, Dale was an Associate Partner and IT Infrastructure Architect at Accenture, where he helped large enterprises plan and execute IT transformations, data center consolidations, and application deployments. Dale holds both a Bachelor's and a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He and his wife, Barbara, reside in Springfield, VA.