AWS or Amazon Cloud Computing is generally perceived to be a financially cheaper infrastructure option. Yes, it is cheaper but definitely not free. Apart from the basic initial discount offers, more or less everything is chargeable. However, it is still much cheaper if TCO is considered or the cost of creating or maintaining a similar world class infrastructure is considered. So how do we manage it?
Here are few of my tips
Take only what is needed: Use only those types of servers or services that are needed. A higher instance type will be obviously more expensive. Entire Infrastructure need not be in AWS to avail AWS features. Like AWS S3 can be used to store backup files even for in-house infrastructure even if the servers are not on the cloud. The AWS simple price calculator is a great place to figure out the pricing.
Use the right type of service: Use the type of service that suits best. There is a pros and cons for each of the service. Alter the architecture so that the cost can be optimized, e.g. if the database generates a lot of back-ups and we want to store them for a long time, we can use an EBS to keep a set of most recent backups into the machine for easy recovery while use AWS S3 to store most of the remaining backups at a much lower cost. For those backups which are very old and are needed only rarely or might needs to be retained for contractual/regulatory compliance use AWS Glacier.
Review the architecture periodically: AWS keeps adding services and updates the existing feature every now and then. Review the architecture every six months or one year to see what are the pain points and if there is any new update in the service or a new service has been lunched that can help you with better service and probably better cost.
Buy reserved Instances: If we are confident that the servers that are being setup are going to run 24x7 (or the most part of it), consider buying reserved instances. This is like a prior contract which actually reduces the cost. It is close to 50% cost savings. We can even buy a 3-year reserve if usage of three years can be assured. The cheapest pricing works when the pricing is selected for 1 year partial upfront.
Shut down the servers when not needed: In case, the servers are not needed to run for 24x7 and is needed for certain days of the month or certain hours of day avoid buying reserved instance. Instead, start it and stop it as and when required. In On demand setup, AWS charges for the EC2 cost only when the machine is running. When not using it, keep it shut down and the cost will come down automatically.
Use correct region: As of today, there are 16 regions where AWS data centers are hosted. The basic logic is that to use the services which are nearest. This will help with better quality of service against latency. However, there is a catch. The cost of the different services is different for each region. In case, the infrastructure can handle latency or latency is not an issue select a region which is cheapest. As the usage grows, the cost will be a significant matter.
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