Save Money with Cloudyn – 10 STEPS

Cloudyn provides analysis and insights that enable you to lower your Cloud spend. This guide provides 10 steps to pinpoint areas to address and begin taking action. Many of the items discussed are included in our Optimizer dashboard that summarizes our optimization results.

Steps 1-2: Understand your spend
Steps 3-8: Unused Resources
Steps 9-10: Improve efficiency

1. Where to start?

It is important to gain a perspective of the services that are your main cost drivers. Customers sometimes focus on a particular service only to discover that it accounts for 3% of their total cost! While no cost should be ignored, it makes sense to focus your cost cutting efforts on the most expensive.

The next step is to assess if your spend factors are as expected based on knowledge of your business. For some companies, it’s perfectly normal for network or storage costs to be comparable to those of instances. For others, it would be the sign of a major problem.

To view cost by service, navigate to our Cost Controller dashboard. One of the items shown is Cost by Service. If you click on the report, you are taken to the source report where you can dive deeper by adding additional groupings and filters.

 

2. Understand your usage trends

Most cost saving analysis starts with trend analysis. Some deployments are very stable while others have peaks and valleys on regular intervals. It is critical that you know your consumption patterns and trends as this will enable you to spot anomalies and unplanned costs.

Navigate to the Actual Cost Over Time report (Cost > Cost Analysis > Actual Cost Over Time). This report shows your cost trends and by applying grouping and filtering to the results (group by Service, Account, or Resource Type) you can identify the account, service, or resource type that incurred the unusual expenses. Try running the report for the last 6 or 12 months with a weekly or monthly resolution. If one account experienced a large month-to-month growth, is it a healthy business related increase or a sign of trouble? Is your snapshot spend stable or increasing due to lack of clean up? You can then use our Asset reports to investigate the asset that led to the charge.

 

3. Severely underused instance’s

As running instances are the largest expense of most deployments, determining ones that are severely underused is a good place to start. Sometimes instances are left running by accident or with almost no workload. These can be found using the Instances – Lowest CPU report (Optimizer > Sizing Optimization > Instances – Lowest CPU). Select a date range of the Last Month. If you update the Lower Than filter to 5% and the Metric filter to Maximum, the results will show instance with a maximum CPU of 5%. Often these instances will be great candidates to terminate or downsize.

4. Unattached Disks

When instances are terminated, you will continue to pay for their EBS volumes until they are terminated as well. This can lead to waste of thousands of dollars each month. Our Unattached Disks report (Optimizer > Inefficiencies > Unattached Disks) lets you know of your storage that is not attached to active instances.

5. Unused RI’s

It is not uncommon to find that some of your purchased reserved instances are not being used. This is very unfortunate for a number of reasons:

  • Reservation purchases are a large investment and it is a waste when they go unused.
  • Often you will be paying on-demand rates for running instances that could be using the RI’s if you modified your reservations.
  • If your usage has changed and even modifying the RI would not lead to you using them, they can be sold.

Cloudyn’s Currently Unused Reservations report (Optimizer > Inefficiencies > EC2 Currently Unused Reservations) informs you of all of your RI’s that are currently unused. In addition, we analyze your on-demand instance use and provide modification recommendations when relevant.

6. Disks of stopped machines

Another potential area are the attached volumes of stopped instances. While you are not billed for the instance itself, you still pay for the attached EBS volumes. It is recommended to periodically review your stopped instances and if they are no longer needed, to terminate the instance and the volume.

This data can be found in the Instance Explorer (Assets > Compute > Instance Explorer). In the Show filter at the bottom left, select Currently Stopped Instances. Then use the Show/Hide Fields menu above the results to add the Last Running Time and disk related fields. The Last Running Time field shows you the date the instance was last active and the disk fields provide information of the EBS disks allocated to each instance. If you expand the tab of an instance, the attached volume ID’s are listed in the Disks section.

7. Old Snapshots

EBS costs are often significant contributors of an organizations AWS spend. To understand how much of your EBS spend is on volumes vs. snapshots, go to the Actual Cost Analysis report (Cost Allocation > Standard Cost Analysis > Actual Cost Analysis). Add the Service and Resource Type filters and select EBS for Service.

In addition, try checking our Cost Over Time report and if your Snapshot spend has been steadily increasing, it can be due to not properly managing your older snapshots. Go to our Active Snapshots report (Assets > Disks > Active Snapshots) to see a full list of your active snapshots. Sort the results by the Created On column to see your oldest snapshots that are often no longer needed.

8. S3

If not carefully monitored, S3 storage costs can balloon over time. Often some of the cost is driven by storage that is no longer used or needed. An easy way to investigate is the S3 Cost Over Time report (Assests > Storage (S3) > S3 Cost Over Time). This report shows your historical S3 spending trends per Bucket.

9. EC2 and RDS Sizing Recommendations

When spinning up instances, it is common to provision with more compute power than you actually need. Once workloads are running, it is a good idea to evaluate right sizing the instances and change to instance that fit your needs. The Cost Effective Sizing Recommendation report (Optimizer > Sizing Optimization > Cost Effective Sizing Recommendations) analyses performance metrics of your running EC2 instances and informs you of those that are candidates for downsizing. We even take into account instances that are using Reservations and only recommend sizing those that are on-demand.

 

For RDS instances, view our RDS Sizing Recommendations report (Optimizer > Sizing Optimization > Cost Effective Sizing Recommendations).

10. EC2 and RDS Buying Recommendations

EC2 and RDS costs can be significantly lowered by purchasing reserved instances. Cloudyn analyses the usage level of each instance type to create RI purchase recommendations and presents you with the savings that can be achieved through their purchase. Of course, you must take into account your deployment plans and not purchase RI’s if they will primarily by used by a project that is winding down in 3 months.

To view our recommendations, go to our EC2 and RDS RI Buying Recommendations reports (Optimizer > Pricing Optimization > EC2 & RDS RI Buying Recommendations). Once you have purchased RI’s, you can use our many tools to manage them and maximize their impact.

 

Additional tips

  • A great way to lower EBS volume costs is to consider switching from IO1 to GP2 volumes. They are cheaper and the provisioned IOPS are included in the price of the volume and not charged separately.
  • Always be on guard for a spike in cost or usage by using our Budgeting tools (Cost > Cost Management > Budget to create a budget and Cost > Projection and Budget > Cost vs. Budget Over Time to track spend and create alerts) and Alerts Management (My Tools > Alerts > Alerts Management) to set asserts based on threshold or percentage cost increases.
  • Create accountability within your organization by using our Cost Allocation 360 tool for showback or chargeback.