Use proven cost optimization strategies to reduce the cost of cloud migration to AWS. Get your business on the cloud with a budget that works for you!

Most businesses start considering cloud migration when their in-house systems start posing more challenges than delivering benefits. These challenges can be exacerbated by serious investments in hardware and software upgrades, as well as the need to mitigate disaster risk or protect against potential breaches. The AWS Cost Optimization model is the best solution for businesses.

The benefits of cloud computing in regards to those hurdles are well-established:

  • Infrastructure: Reduced TOC
  • Lower downtime/higher SLA levels
  • Instant scalability and capacity for upgrading/downgrading
  • Business continuity and faster disaster recovery
  • Enhanced security

Even more important, even smaller businesses can get the same high-quality cloud solutions as industry giants. This allows them to be more agile and compete with larger companies in terms of service and time-to-market.

It is up to you to choose which cloud platform provider. While several entrants are getting into the business of cloud services, the three main contenders are Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS is the most powerful among the three.

AWS Cost Optimization Model:

There are over 100 offerings. The many benefits include:

  • Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) – Scalable computing on demand
  • Flexibility in choosing the source
  • Scalability – The ability to quickly change resources and then use them only when necessary
  • C3: Only pay for the storage you use
  • Redshift is a backup solution that doesn’t require downtime
  • Latest security measures, including protection from natural disasters
  • Automated backups can be set up quickly and easily.
  • Support IT for companies 24/7
  • Serverless solutions (Lambda), a way to pay only when an app works
  • Codebuild enables IT developers to automate server build processes. AWS allows you to run unit tests during your build process.

There are many benefits, but AWS is the best cloud platform, particularly if you don’t mind the TOC.

How to optimize AWS costs

Responsible use of AWS services is key to making AWS cost-effective. This will be costly. If you don’t have a way to reduce the number of instances during low usage periods, you are paying extra for services that you don’t use.

AWS is the best place to begin, in terms of cost-effective AWS use. The company has developed, and continually updates, a document called AWS Well-Architected Framework – a compilation of best cloud computing best practices that include hundreds of tips and strategies for cost savings.

Below you will find three comprehensive cost optimization strategies based on those best practices, plus our extensive experience as a managed AWS support partner.

Turning Off What is Not in Use

This is the biggest cause of unavoidable costs. It is easy to create many infrastructures quickly and for developers, it is easy to forget everything they have created. The cost keeps rising.

It is important to locate and eliminate all unused items and prevent any buildup. AWS offers many tools that can help you do this. These are the ones that will make the biggest impact on your cost.

  • The bill is broken down based on user-defined tags. Every project must have a “project ID=1234” tag. This tag should be attached to every resource in a project. Graffiti Monkey and Janitor Monkey allow for automated tagging, deletion, and renaming of resources not correctly tagged. Using the IAM service, staff can then view invoices and receive alerts when bills exceed the threshold.
  • S3 lifecycle: The HTML3 is a dump site for files. The system continues to grow, which allows for almost unlimited file additions. Using AWS Lifecycle Policies, you can manage your “bucket” of files to save costs. Logs may be saved to a bucket you use for a limited time. You should delete them after that. Other files might be accessed frequently for a time but not so often. They should be archived for a specified period, then deleted. Some files may be archived from the beginning (e.g. To meet regulatory compliance, you might want to archive some files from the beginning (e.g. database backups). AWS can tell AWS where to store files, how to archive them or delete them completely. The way to do all of this is explained in the AWS Setting Lifecycle configuration on a Bucket. You’ll end up paying for junk that you don’t need if you don’t follow this guide.
  • Auto Scaling: A handful of AWS services, such as DynamoDB and EC2, allow you to set up auto-scaling. The development team determines when capacity should grow or shrink based upon predefined metrics. This allows costs to be calculated based on the scaling, without user intervention.
  • Optimize Big Data Redshift provides a massive data warehouse for big data that can be operationalized, analyzed, and back up. Once the data’s usefulness has been proven, it is not necessary to store it. Transfer it to cold storage for a lower rate. To protect your cloud data, make sure you have the appropriate public cloud configurations in place.

Make sure you use AWS tools correctly

AWS offers a lot of tools that can seem overwhelming. Often, the easiest solution (e.g. EC2 is not always the best. It is worth looking at other options. Here are some examples:

  • Load Balancing: Before AWS, there were many open-source load balancing programs like Apache. It is important for IT teams to realize that these tools can still be used by them, simply by installing them on EC2. Think about this: Even if your load is moderate, you may still need 20 instances per month. This can lead to a large bill. AWS ELB is much cheaper and offers automatic features such as scaling, patches and monitoring/alerts. It is cheaper to build a managed solution in EC2 than it is to create it.
  • EC2 and Lambda are two different AWS tools. Lambda is more popular than EC2 because it costs less. Lambda is a good option for developers who need to run custom code on AWS. In reality, EC2 is being used less and is now used primarily to install standalone applications such as WordPress.
  • Use “Reservations”. Most AWS cloud computing solutions let customers pay by “reservations”. Reservations are a great way to reserve usage at extremely discounted rates by paying in advance. If you know you will need X amount of a particular type of software over the next few years, you can buy them now to save a lot.
  • Bandwidth Prices: Bandwidth costs are not necessarily lower through AWS than what would be paid in-house. It is important to do your research to keep the cost as low as possible. Prices will vary depending on which AWS service you use. ELB offers the most affordable bandwidth while Redshift has a high bandwidth cost. AWS has tools that can help lower costs, such as Direct Connect, CloudFrontgeofencing, and Snowball.

Plan realistically

Planning can be a “bane” of an organization’s existence, but this is not true when you use AWS cloud services.

AWS is heavily focused upon self-service. Organizations must create and implement standards and plans. This is especially important for large enterprises. Cost controls must be in place and costs must be visible. These are some “must-do” items.

  • Create a company-wide tagging system. These are simple metadata that can be associated with any resource. Tagging allows you to identify costs and determine where they may be higher than necessary. Then you can start the analysis to determine how you can cut costs.
  • Plans for Deployment. AWS offers many different options for doing the same thing. This is one of the best aspects. If you want to know the cost and thresholds, everyone needs to be on the same page. For deployment, you can use tools like Jenkins, Puppet or Ansible for maintenance.
  • Data Recovery: Any plan must include backups and recovery simulations to allow for testing. This was done on-site and must be done with AWS. AWS infrastructure changes are frequent so it is important to review your recovery plans regularly. It may save you money to change your backup and recovery options.

What can we do to help?

As you can see, optimizing AWS costs is a difficult task. It requires a consistent review of services, new options, and a comparison of costs within AWS professional services and tools. This task could be done by a small group.

AWS consulting partners will conduct a thorough audit of your cloud infrastructure to help you identify areas where cost savings could be made. We provide custom solutions based on your needs and budget. Contact us today to learn how we can help reduce your AWS bills!

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