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(Part 1) 10 things you can do today to reduce AWS costs

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

Introduction


AWS’s breadth of services and pricing options offer the flexibility to effectively manage your costs, and still keep the performance and capacity per your business requirement. While the fundamental process of cost optimization on AWS remains the same – monitor your AWS costs and usage, analyze the data to find savings, take action to realize the savings; in this blog I will take a more tactical approach of reducing cost with changes in user demand.





Before you start


Before taking any actions to reduce cost, find out the costs of AWS services you are consuming. The AWS Free Tier provides customers the ability to explore and try out AWS services free of charge up to specified limits for each service. Use the steps in this video to check if you are exceeding the free tier limit.


Next, use AWS Cost Explorer to view and analyze your AWS costs and usage. This tool provides default reports that help you visualize cost and usage at a high level (e.g. AWS  accounts, AWS service),  or at the resource level (e.g. EC2 instance ID). Start by identifying the top accounts where your costs incur using the “Monthly costs by linked account report”. Next, identify the top services that contribute to the costs within those accounts. You can do this by using the “Monthly costs by service report”. Use the hourly and resource level granularity and tags to filter and identify the top resources incurring costs.




Cost Explorer resource level granularity


Now, you should have an understanding of your AWS costs and usage. Next, let’s walk through 10 tactical things you can do today using existing AWS tools and services to reduce your AWS costs.


#1 Identify Amazon EC2 instances with low-utilization and reduce cost by stopping or rightsizing


Use AWS Cost Explorer Resource Optimization to get a report of EC2 instances that are either idle or have low utilization. You can reduce costs by either stopping or downsizing these instances. Use AWS Instance Scheduler to automatically stop instances. Use AWS Operations Conductor to automatically resize the EC2 instances (based on the recommendations report from Cost Explorer).





Cost Explorer rightsizing recommendations


Use AWS Compute Optimizer to look at instance type recommendations beyond downsizing within an instance family. It gives downsizing recommendations within or across instance families, upsizing recommendations to remove performance bottlenecks, and recommendations for EC2 instances that are parts of an Auto Scaling group.


#2 Identify Amazon EBS volumes with low-utilization and reduce cost by snapshotting then deleting them


EBS volumes that have very low activity (less than 1 IOPS per day) over a period of 7 days indicate that they are probably not in use. Identify these volumes using the Trusted Advisor Underutilized Amazon EBS Volumes Check. To reduce costs, first snapshot the volume (in case you need it later), then delete these volumes. You can automate the creation of snapshots using the Amazon Data Lifecycle Manager. Follow the steps here to delete EBS volumes.


#3 Analyze Amazon S3 usage and reduce cost by leveraging lower cost storage tiers


Use S3 Analytics to analyze storage access patterns on the object data set for 30 days or longer. It makes recommendations on where you can leverage S3 Infrequently Accessed (S3 IA) to reduce costs. You can automate moving these objects into lower cost storage tier using Life Cycle Policies. Alternately, you can also use S3 Intelligent-Tiering, which automatically analyzes and moves your objects to the appropriate storage tier.


#4 Identify Amazon RDS, Amazon Redshift instances with low utilization and reduce cost by stopping (RDS) and pausing (Redshift)


Use the Trusted Advisor Amazon RDS Idle DB instances check, to identify DB instances which have not had any connection over the last 7 days. To reduce costs, stop these DB instances using the automation steps described in this blog post. For Redshift, use the Trusted Advisor Underutilized Redshift clusters check, to identify clusters which have had no connections for the last 7 days, and less than 5% cluster wide average CPU utilization for 99% of the last 7 days. To reduce costs, pause these clusters using the steps in this blog.




Pause underutilized Redshift clusters


#5 Analyze Amazon DynamoDB usage and reduce cost by leveraging Autoscaling or On-demand


Analyze your DynamoDB usage by monitoring 2 metrics, ConsumedReadCapacityUnits and ConsumedWriteCapacityUnits, in CloudWatch. To automatically scale (in and out) your DynamoDB table, use the AutoScaling feature. Using the steps here, you can enable AutoScaling on your existing tables. Alternately, you can also use the on-demand option. This option allows you to pay-per-request for read and write requests so that you only pay for what you use, making it easy to balance costs and performance.




DynamoDB read/write capacity mode

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