Reducing NAT Gateway Costs

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Reducing NAT Gateway Costs

Lowering NAT Gateway costs is a common consideration among admins who watch their virtual private networking (VPC) budgets closely. AWS NAT Gateways are part of Amazon Virtual Cloud, and provide public and private connections for VPCs with an added layer of anonymity from inbound connections. This blog provides some insight into the workings of AWS NAT Gateway, so you can decide if a few changes will lead to lower transfer fees.

What is AWS NAT Gateway?

The acronym NAT is short for ‘network address translation’, which in this case refers to the process of altering IP addresses so that data packets can be routed to the Internet and AWS services. Beyond facilitating connections for various resources, the AWS NAT gateway also prevents external sources from connecting with the sender’s IP address. 

This allows instances in a private subnet to maintain high availability, which is especially useful if these instances depend on external resources to function. AWS NAT Gateway users can specify either a public or private connection during setup, which will decide the means by which the gateway connects. Public subnets use the Internet via public gateways, where private subnets go through transit or virtual private gateways.

About NAT Gateway Pricing

AWS NAT Gateway pricing is straightforward, in terms of how they measure volume and frequency of use. According to Amazon: “When you provision a NAT gateway, you are charged for each hour that your NAT gateway is available and each Gigabyte of data that it processes.” 

The current rate is $0.045 US per hour for each AWS NAT Gateway, which is a fixed rate no matter how much data is transferred. In addition, the same rate of $0.045 applies for each 1 GB worth of transfers through the gateway. That means the first rate will always be the same, but the latter contributes to most of your NAT Gateway expenses.

AWS networking rates are fair, and have some perks for instances that deal with high traffic rates. These can still add up if you’re not paying attention to regional costs or missing out on free opportunities, so the following suggestions should help with those margins.

Tips For Reducing NAT Gateway Costs

Consider these tips to help cut AWS Gateway costs:

Align your availability zones

The information you’ve gathered about your instances will contain details about Availability Zones (AZ). Like any cloud provider, AWS charges fees for sending data across different regions, even for VPCs.  To alleviate these cross-zone charges, make sure the NAT gateway’s region matches your highest traffic area. You can simply create a new NAT gateway in a more favorable AZ, assuming you haven’t used up all 255 possible gateways for your VPC.

Use Endpoints When Available

Gateway endpoints are a free and reliable way to avoid NAT gateway charges for those that use Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) or DynamoDB. Refer back to the report you generated earlier to determine how much of your traffic fees are from these two sources. 

You can avoid some of the inherent transfer costs from AWS NAT gateways by using their public service endpoints through the Internet, called Gateway Endpoints. There are also interface VPC endpoints, which let you use interface endpoints to privately and securely access services like AWS services, internal application services or SaaS services that are running outside your VPC.

These measures don’t apply to private instances, of course, but it can still save a lot on traffic fees for high-traffic resources that use their standard storage platforms since the NAT Gateway isn’t necessary.

Seek Professional Expertise

Seeking dependable cloud networking expertise is a good idea for companies without an IT setup to handle these tasks who want to lower AWS NAT Gateway costs. A dependable service provider or consultancy can help with any technical or logistical aspects of reducing AWS Networking cost, but it should also extend to optimizing these costs within the AWS ecosystem.

AWS Virtual Private Cloud In A Box is our answer to the challenge of setting up public and private AWS NAT Gateways. These are flexible VPC setups that we have been testing and improving since the introduction of the technology, which have now been modernized to scale globally.

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