How EBS Pricing Works

In this post, we will take a look at what you can do with Amazon EBS and how EBS pricing works.

What is EBS?

Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) is a block storage service that is designed for use with EC2 instances. You can choose from a broad range of workloads to deploy on Amazon EBS such as relational and non-relational databases, enterprise applications, containerized applications, big data analytics engines, file systems, and media workflows.

Amazon EBS provides four different volume types in order to assure you are fully optimizing price and performance for your workload. You can change volume types, tune performance, or increase volume size without disrupting your critical applications, so you have cost-effective storage when you need it.

How EBS Pricing Works

The great thing about AWS EBS pricing is that you only pay for what you use. In EBS, you have access to volumes, snapshots, fast snapshot restore and Amazon EBS direct APIs for Snapshots. It’s also important to note that AWS Free Tier includes 30GB of Storage, 2 million I/Os, and 1GB of snapshot storage with Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), so you have plenty of resources available to get started with EBS without having to make a big commitment. You can use this Amazon EBS Pricing Calculator to calculate the amount you would be spending on your EBS costs each month and help ensure you have AWS EBS optimized pricing. 

Volumes

These volume types are divided into two major categories: SSD-backed storage for transactional workloads, and HDD-backed storage for throughput intensive workloads. Within these categories, there are 4 different volume types available; General Purpose SSD (gp2), EBS Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1), Throughput Optimized HDD (st1), and Cold HDD (sc1). 

Volume storage for General Purpose SSD (gp2) volumes is charged by the amount you provision in GB per month until you release the storage. Provisioned storage for gp2 volumes are billed per-second, with a 60-second minimum. General Purpose SSD (gp2) Volumes cost $0.10 per GB-month of provisioned storage. 

Volume storage for EBS Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) volumes are charged by the amount you provision in GB per month until you release the storage. With these volumes, you are also charged by the amount you provision in input/output operations per second (IOPS), per month. These volumes will also be billed in per-second increments, with a 60-second minimum. Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) Volumes cost $0.125 per GB-month of provisioned storage and $0.065 per provisioned IOPS-month.

Volume storage for Throughput Optimized HDD (st1) volumes is charged by the amount you provision in GB per month until you release the storage. Provisioned storage for st1 volumes will be billed in per-second increments, with a 60-second minimum. Throughput Optimized HDD (st1) Volumes cost $0.045 per GB-month of provisioned storage. 

Volume storage for Cold HDD (sc1) volumes is charged by the amount you provision in GB per month until you release the storage. Provisioned storage for sc1 volumes will be billed in per-second increments, with a 60-second minimum. Cold HDD (sc1) volumes cost  $0.025 per GB-month of provisioned storage.

Snapshots

For the first snapshot of a volume, AWS EBS saves a full copy of your data to Amazon S3. For each incremental snapshot, only the changed part of your Amazon EBS volume is saved. Copying EBS snapshots is charged for the data transferred across regions. After the snapshot is copied, standard EBS snapshot charges apply for storage in the destination region.

  • EBS Snapshots cost $0.05 per GB-month of data stored.

Fast Snapshot Restore

FSR’s are charged in Data Services Unit-Hours (DSUs) for each Availability Zone in which it is enabled. DSUs are billed per minute with a 1 hour minimum. 

  • FSR costs $0.75 per 1 DSU hour in each Availability Zone in which it is enabled.

Amazon EBS direct APIs for Snapshots

EBS direct APIs for Snapshots provide access to directly read EBS snapshot data and identify differences between two snapshots.

ListChangedBlocks and ListSnapshotBlocks APIs are charged per request and are $0.0006 per thousand requests.

GetSnapShotBlock APIs are charged $0.0003 per thousand SnapshotAPIUnits.

Areas of Waste

When it comes to wasted cloud spend, there are a number of areas that contribute to this – more than you may think. In order to help you manage your EBS pricing, here are some of the areas to watch out for to keep your environment optimized. 

Orphaned Resources

Orphaned resources occur when a virtual machine is terminated, but resources attached to that machine continue running or existing, which incurs costs. Look for the following in your environment and terminate or reassign them.

  • Orphaned volumes
  • Orphaned Snapshots of decommissioned systems

Underutilized volumes

Whether it’s because you selected the largest size by default or because your needs have changed, you may be paying for resources in much larger sizes than you actually need. Look at your usage data to see if you have any eligible for rightsizing. 

Idle resources  

Wasted spend adds up in many accounts due to resources running when they’re not actually being used – whether it’s a development/testing environment that’s left running 24×7 when it’s only needed during working hours, or a resource no longer needed that developers have failed to terminate. Look for the following in your environment to stop, terminate, or put on an on/off schedule

  • Idle Instances in Amazon EC2
  • Idle Relational Databases such as Amazon RDS

How to Reduce EBS Costs

ParkMyCloud, a Turbonomic company, provides an easy-to-use platform that helps enterprises automatically identify and eliminate wasted cloud spend. ParkMyCloud’s SaaS offering allows enterprises to easily manage, govern, and optimize their spend across multiple public clouds. 

With ParkMyCloud, your EBS volumes and EC2 snapshot details are included on a single-page view of all volumes and snapshots associated with the specific EC2 instance – a view not available in the AWS console. 

Coming soon in ParkMyCloud, you will be able to:

  • Identify unattached EBS Volumes to delete or attach
  • Find old and/or excessive snapshots to delete

Additionally, ParkMyCloud helps you:

  • Schedule resources to turn off when not needed – such as dev/test/staging resources that can be powered down on nights and weekends, saving 65% of the cost
  • RightSize resources, so the provisioned capacity matches your actual needs. 

Give it a try with a 14-day free trial. It takes about 15 minutes to get set up, and you can start optimizing your cloud spend today. 

Snapshot and volume management coming soon. Interested in these features? Let us know.