Cost optimization is an important part of any business's operations, becoming increasingly important in the cloud era. As organizations focus on using cloud services like AWS to reduce costs, understanding the tools available to optimize cost becomes ever more critical. With the right cost optimization strategies and tools, businesses can better use their resources and save millions in operational costs. In this article, we'll explore different cost optimization strategies and AWS-specific tools businesses can employ to reduce costs.
30 % of the 1056 Financial Operations Practitioners surveyed in 2022 found that the biggest problem they experienced was getting engineers to act on cost optimization initiatives throughout the organization. (Source finops.org).
Cost Savings initiatives do not need to be hard. Its all about discipline and in most cases can be achieved by creating a low-cost support structure around the Engineers. By nature, Cloud Engineers are very technical and often do not have the time, temperament, and stick-to-itiveness to research savings opportunities, organize meetings with application owners, convince them to terminate or resize resources, schedule the changes, report the savings achieved and ensuring the save is reflected within the accounting department.
It is important to think of cost optimization as an ongoing program and not a one-time project. In fast-growing and complex cloud implementations, it is not uncommon to continually reduce the bill by 10-20% year over year with a disciplined program in place.
Even with the many cost optimization tools and platforms on the market today (And we encourage you to explore them) it is important to maintain the discipline and follow through to continue to be successful.
Make it someone's job or responsibility to focus on this. It does not need to be led by Cloud Engineers; much can be achieved in as little as 20 hours per week of dedicated administration support.
The following are some tips you can employ to begin a cost optimization program utilizing native cloud provider tools (Although we discuss AWS in detail, other providers i.e., Azure provides the same insight with their tools)
This document outlines procedures and methods that can support achieving insights into cost savings optimizations and is focused on the use of AWS Trusted Advisor.
The methods discussed achieve actionable insights which require further research using your companies configuration management database CMDB or other related documentation to match resource id's and accounts to respective application support owners for technical discussions to determine and agree on either a termination of unneeded resources and/or right-sizing the service to a more cost-effective alternative (IE 2xlarge to a1.medium server).
You can access Trusted Advisor from the AWS Management Console. Use the Trusted Advisor console to review and check results for your AWS account and then follow the recommended steps to ﬁx any issues. For example, Trusted Advisor might recommend that you delete unused resources to reduce your monthly bill, such as an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance, or show you all databases that haven't been accessed in 14 days, possibly indicating that the resource is no longer needed. To create an .xls ﬁle that includes all check results, choose Download all checks.
Under Potential Monthly Savings, you can view how much you can save for your account and the cost optimization checks for recommendations.
The downloaded file will include details such as account, resource name, estimated monthly savings, and utilization over a 14-day period.
EC2 and RDS terminations and resizing are some common examples of resources that get provisioned and often forgotten about relative to cost-effective utilization and actual daily usage, as in the case of expense database resources running without any access or use by the firm.
Another common and often overlooked resource is unused AWS EBS volumes. These volumes still accrue costs even when their associated EC2 instances are no longer running. The AWS console can expose these unused or orphaned volumes so you can arrange the deletion of the resource. Simple CLI scripts can be created that will expose these resources, run a snapshot and automatically delete the unused resource. This is an example of how automation can continually discover and execute on cost take-out opportunities.
Amazon Simple Storage Service is another area where costs can significantly increase if not monitored closely. Many organizations use AWS S3 to house ALL server backups regardless of if they run in the cloud or within your own on-premise data center. This practice can result in very large s3 stores. Looking carefully at your organization's retention policies and reducing them to something more reasonable can achieve significant savings. Server backups with unlimited or excessively long retention schedules are very costly and often overlooked.
Using Amazon S3 storage Lens can help you gain actionable insights on how data is stored and accessed. Storage lens provides 29+ usage and activity metrics that can assist in gaining deeper insights.
As an example, metrics can be downloaded and stored and accessed in a database or even excel to uncover questions like – how many times in the last 90 days has an object been written (put) or retrieved (get). If there were 0 hits on this analysis, it is a safe bet that no current application is in need of this data and worthy of some further research with the data owners for potential significant cost take out opportunities.
Remember, Cost Savings initiatives do not need to be difficult. Success is about establishing discipline over what is a dynamic process with continuously changing pricing and service options. With our Cloud Cost Optimization as a Service, we can embed a proven service within your organization. Your Cloud Engineers focus on technical innovation; we can keep cost optimization in focus.