5 Cost Saving Tricks to Reduce AWS Cloud Hosting Bill

By Mark Runyon

Mingled among the multitude of reasons to move from on premise hosting to the cloud is often cost savings. Cloud economics are traditionally looked at through cost savings and efficiencies gained. A recent report by IDC found AWS customers saw:

  • 25 percent more productive application development teams
  • 51 percent lower 5-year cost of operations
  • 62 percent more efficient IT infrastructure staff
  • 90 percent less staff time deploying new storage
  • 6 months to payback

While the case to move to cloud is very clear for most companies, the newly found freedom can be a breeding ground for waste in IT departments when not monitored closely. EC2 instances can quickly be spun up and abandoned. S3 can start to resemble a black hole if resources are blindly relegated to it. Without proper governance and planning, the efficiencies of cloud can quickly be negated.

Here are five action items to slice that AWS cloud bill.

Actively Move Data Between S3 Storage Classes

S3 is a great place to easily store and retrieve data on the Internet. S3 can get pricey when companies throw all their data into general purpose storage and forget about it.

S3 comes in three flavors: Standard, Standard-Infrequent Access (IA) and Glacier. When looking at the raw storage cost of 50 TB of data in S3 Standard storage, the monthly bill would come to $1150 ($.023 per GB) whereas moving that data to Infrequent Access almost drops that number in half to $625 ($.0125 per GB). Not to be outdone, Glacier stores that same block of data for $200. When looking at just the storage cost alone, that’s an 83 percent savings which adds up quickly as data stores grow ever larger.

Not all objects are stored equally so it is necessary to determine how data will be used in order to identify where best to place it in S3. As expected, S3 Standard offers the highest performance, availability and durability of this trio of options. Mission critical, frequently accessed resources belong here. S3 Infrequent Access shares all the benefits of Standard, but you are billed a retrieval fee per GB accessed. Think disaster recovery and long-term storage as being the best fit for Infrequent Access. Glacier is reliable, but it may take minutes to hours to retrieve the stored data. This is the perfect storage option for organizations that are required to keep long-term archives like hospitals or government agencies.

Within the S3 portion of the AWS console, Object Lifecycle Management allows companies to establish rules for when data objects should transition to other storage classes. Let’s say a monthly projection file is accessed heavily during the month then access drops off drastically the following month. It would make sense to set a rule to migrate that file to Infrequent Access at the 30-day mark. Once that file hits moth ball status at the 90-day mark, kick it over to Glacier. In addition, expiration dates can also be defined where a file is deleted from S3. Lifecycle management works really well when there are well-defined rules around a set …read more

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