5 Favorite AWS Tools to Optimize Cloud Costs

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AWS
“Alexa, optimize my costs on AWS…” If only it were that simple. The truth is, if not managed correctly, cloud costs can quickly get out of hand and leave you questioning if there was really any financial benefit from switching to a cloud infrastructure in the first place. For starters, check out our recent blog post titled, “5 Key Strategies to Lower Your Cloud Costs”. In this post we talk about simple tactics you can employ to lower your cloud bill each month in any cloud environment.  But if you are using AWS specifically, there is a lot you can do to ensure you are optimizing spend using tools you already have access to. Here are some of our favorite AWS cost optimization tools and techniques that should be on your “must” list:

1. Selecting Correct Services

EKS, ECS, RDS, oh my! The options seem to be endless. AWS offers a comprehensive set of services, but that can be overwhelming. We notice AWS users are often not taking advantage of all the services offered to them, or are utilizing the WRONG applications for their needs. It may seem like an obvious tip, but this can quickly become a costly oversight. Ensure you are staying up to date with all the latest AWS application updates and offerings and compare against your current systems. One way to do that is by following The Cloud Pod every week and reading our reviews of The Cloud Pod episodes on our blog! The cloud is ever-changing and it’s all too easy to become out-of-date in the blink of an eye.

2. Scale, Scale, Scale

There are various situations that may actually be increasing your cloud bill in regards to instances. Improve utilization of Amazon EC2 instances by frequently analyzing your data and scaling! There are tons of applications available to assist with autoscaling, saving you time and cold, hard cash. It is also imperative to consistently monitor your long-term data trends to minimize oversized instances and volumes. For example, if you are stopping instances but not terminating them, your EBS costs will still remain elevated due to volume. Terminating instances is the only way to stop the extra costs from piling on. If your data trends show some of your EBS volumes have super low activity, then you know they are inactive and it is time to snapshot and delete. The data can teach us so much about how to properly scale (and implement programs that autoscale) and it’s important to have eyes on the numbers… Which leads us to our next point.

3. AWS Cost Explorer

AWS Cost Explorer

Cost Explorer is a free, out-of-the-box program that allows you the convenience of total expenditure oversight all in one place. You have access to the dashboard within AWS’ Billing and Cost Management Console that will overhaul how you view your cloud spend. Cost and usage reports allow you easy visibility over your spending and it’s easy to track trends, see where your money is going and possibly revise your usage to cut costs.

4. AWS Budgets

AWS Cost Budget

Along those same lines, AWS Budgets is another tool to amplify spending visibility. With AWS Budgets, you can create and maintain budgets for various AWS services you utilize. With this service you can also set up auto alerts to receive emails or SNS notifications when actual, or forecasted, costs exceed your set budgets. There are even tools within AWS Budget Actions that let you create auto responses that set off actions to be executed if your cost or usage is predicted to exceed your set threshold.

5. AWS Trusted Advisor

AWS Trusted AdvisorBefore investing in any other services or tools to attempt to lower your costs, you should be consulting AWS Trusted Advisor. This tool is focused on total cloud optimization with an arm dedicated to cost optimization. Trusted Advisor will look at instances, load balancers, IP addresses and clusters to confirm your systems are running at maximum efficiency. Trusted Advisor even provides automated optimization recommendations tailored to you. We highly recommend using this service for all the optimization benefits.

If you are already utilizing the above and still feel your costs are out of control, we may want to work together and start with the basics:

  1. Get to know your business at its core to evaluate cloud infrastructure issues
  2. Ensure you are using the correct AWS pricing model (which can be complex) for your organization and 
  3. Implement Foghorn’s Fog360 Cost program to do a deep dive into your spending

The best way to guarantee you are maximizing your dollar and getting the most out of your cloud experience is to work with the professionals at Foghorn Consulting. We have many years of deep experience in AWS and would love to get to know you and your company better to be sure AWS is working for YOU. We want to see you using a sustainable and beneficial cloud model for your business so you can ditch the feeling of panic every time you see your cloud bill. Let’s chat! 

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