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In today’s business, public clouds have had a tremendous impact on the world of information technology. Their operating expense model allows small start-ups to go from zero to zero while offering the agility of large enterprises. Public cloud providers like AWS have completely changed the way we look at the critical infrastructure on top of which everything else runs to the extent that many IT professionals have forgotten about bare metal servers.
On the other hand, when working with public clouds, it sometimes seems like vast expertise is required to understand how the services are priced. As a result, some companies find themselves looking at hefty monthly bills.
Before going into detail, let’s see what AWS Billing is.
AWS Billing & Cost management
AWS Billing is a web service that provides features that help you to pay your bills and optimize your costs, security, and compliance requirements. The previous month’s AWS bill is finalized at the beginning of each new month.
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Why is AWS Billing needed?
As a technical person, you might be thinking ‘Why bother? Isn’t billing a bit boring? And why should I care?’
The simple answer to those questions is that someone must pay. You may be a private user or a small business – money coming out of your pocket – money that could be reinvested in the company for a bigger office or hiring someone to do a job.
Part of architecting solutions is being cost-effective – if you do any of the advanced AWS certificates or Solution Architect or DevOps at the Pro level you will find there are a lot of “choose the most cost-effective option” questions.
So, there are some top tips for lowering your AWS bill. I like to call them ‘smart practices’. They are here:
- Measure the baseline, Alert, and Monitor exceptions-
Baseline metrics – As a business typically does for performance metrics, do for costs. You should know what is normal then it is time to measure rates of change and exceptions.
It does not matter what the organization’s size is, but you should also set up billing alerts.
These billing alerts are only for the entire account, although you can also set budgets with alerts and set them per tag.
All of Gorilla Stack’s plans offer a range of options for setting up customizable periodic and threshold-based AWS alerts that push messages via Slack, HipChat, email, and SMS.
- Tag everything –
Tags are labeled key-value pairs that you can apply to most AWS resources – EC2 instance, RDS, EBS volume, S3 bucket, etc. Use tags everywhere. Within the AWS console, you can have up to ten tags, and don’t forget that tag cases are sensitive.
Tag support in the AWS console is much better – you can edit tags, find resources that haven’t been tagged correctly, and create groups of tagged resources. And of course, CLI fully supports tagging.
There are also third-party tools to manage tagging which as Graffiti Monkey, a tag inheritance tool for EBS volumes and snapshots, on GitHub.
Tags appear in the billing console and are also moved to your detailed billing file. You should also enable all billing reports in your billing console and choose which tags to show in the report. You don’t want them all. Your billing file is then created during the month (not in real-time, as there is a delay) as a CSV file in your named bucket.
- Establish a Responsibility Model –
Make sure the cost is known at every level, from start to finish, from the project owner to the engineer, and also make sure that the project owners/owners know that their costs are up and running.
Ideally have pair of people responsible for cost management
You are a good team leader and engineer for team leaders and engineers. How you do it on your own but want something in performance reviews, bonus reviews, and salary reviews helps keep costs in mind.
You can also give business owners access to AWS billing reports or third-party tools or internal AWS cost dashboards.
- Reduce Usage –
There are tools you can use to make your use more efficient, including:
Third-party tools like Gorilla Stack.
AWS tools – Autoscale scheduling. Gorilla Stack’s scheduled auto-scaling power scale is so powerful compared to out-of-the-box auto-scaling groups.
Open-source tools from Fairfax such as Cloud Cycler, and Flywheel.
Cost section of a trusted consultant (which requires a support plan).
Read your account and billing files carefully – unused ELBs, unrelated EIPs, old DynamoDB tables (perhaps from EMR use), and so on.
- Storage Optimization –
When it comes to AWS cost reduction, storage needs to be considered. AWS offers various storage options like Elastic Block Store (EBS), Simple Storage Service (S3), Elastic File System (EFS), and also Glacier, in which Elastic file system is the most expensive one and Glacier is the cheapest one.
Glacier seems a wise choice as it is an extremely low-cost AWS storage service that provides safe, durable, and flexible storage for data backup and archival. With Amazon S3 Glacier, you can reliably store data for $0.004 per gigabyte per month.
Ideal for glacier data that is stored for a long time and does not need to be continuously removed or retrieved. If you regularly recover files or delete them continuously from the server, it will cost you.
- Review, Restart and Set the ideal budget-
Unlike physical servers, it is much easier for AWS resources to accidentally hide at any given time. It’s not a one-time job it’s an ongoing process and commitment, and one where you get what you put in.
The AWS budget lets you create a perfect budget. When you’ve exceeded this budget, you can add a warning to notify you. AWS allows their customer to set monthly, quarterly and annual budgets. This type of flexibility helps the users to manage their budgets on their desired schedules.
- Resizing Images, audio, and videos –
For jobs like image resizing, video and audio file processing, etc., use Amazon Lambda, so you don’t need to run a server dedicated to these queueing purposes.
As soon as the images are uploaded to S3, the Lambda function will be triggered, and you only have to pay for the total time your code runs.
Some tips will help save your monthly bills. At the current time, the usage of services is increasing day by day so it is also necessary to reduce extra unwanted costs which may sometimes cause big losses so monitor your daily costs, optimize storage, install a VPC, take care of EC2 instances and look for unused infrastructure if you want to reduce AWS costs.
Third-party providers also help to manage costs so we can also look into it. The next time you feel AWS is proving to be a big pocket pinch for you, try this handful of tricks.
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Drop a query if you have any questions regarding AWS Billing and I will get back to you quickly.
1. Can a third-party app reduce the cost of AWS?
ANS: – Yes, AWS has certified partners to help you manage AWS costs. Within AWS, you can combine and integrate multiple factors to reduce costs. However, a third-party tool provides deeper visibility into cost centers. It puts everything under one dashboard for an easy experience.
2. Can I manage the AWS billing through billing notification?
ANS: – Yes, AWS sent the free notification for billing. Billing alarm also helpful in this scenario.
3. Can I manage AWS billing using custom reports?
ANS: – Yes, Custom reports let users create custom charts, tables, and data reports. You can compare “cost vs use” in visualization.
WRITTEN BY Mohd Monish
Monish is working as a Research Associate at CloudThat. He has a working knowledge of multiple different cloud platforms and is currently working on the AWS platform and working on WAR automation, and AWS Media Services. He is interested in research and publishing tech blogs and also exploring new technologies.