AWS, Cloud Computing

4 Mins Read

Steps to track AWS Data Transfer costs for cross-region Amazon EBS Snapshot Copy


Data gathered in the cloud is referred to as data ingress, and this process is usually free of cost. However, the true value of data is realized when it is utilized beyond storage. Data egress occurs when data exits the confines of the cloud provider’s network, utilizing the provider’s network capacity or bandwidth. AWS imposes charges on customers based on a percentage of their bandwidth usage, manifesting as data egress fees. Hence, AWS data transfer costs are commonly recognized as bandwidth pricing.


To secure their data from natural disasters and ransomware attacks, many AWS users create snapshots and replicate them across multiple AWS Regions.

To offer internal and external stakeholders accurate chargebacks, these users must monitor snapshots and associated data transfers for inter-regional costs. Users utilize Amazon Elastic Block Store Snapshots (EBS Snapshots) to create point-in-time backups of their data, which are then copied and stored in other AWS Regions.

To accurately track AWS data transfer costs for snapshot copy to remote AWS Regions, tag the AWS transfer cost associated with that snapshot during snapshot copy operations.

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Solution overview

Assigning tags to snapshots facilitates the precise allocation of storage expenses. When transferring Amazon EBS Snapshots to another AWS Region, you can append cost allocation tags to the duplicated snapshots. These tags, comprising key-value pairs, are automatically associated with the AWS Data Transfer costs generated by the snapshot copy process across regions. The AWS Data Transfer costs incurred for the snapshot copy operation can be monitored through the AWS Cost and Usage Report (AWS CUR) and AWS Cost Explorer. This streamlined approach simplifies the tracking of expenditures related to the movement of snapshots between AWS Regions.

To effectively monitor AWS Data Transfer costs for snapshot copies to remote AWS Regions, initiating a tagging strategy within your organization is advisable. This involves establishing naming conventions, specifying tag keys and values, and documenting tagging policies.

Implementation Steps

Step 1: Activate cost allocation for the tag associated with the pre-existing snapshot


Select the Tick box for Tag and select Activate.


Select Activate in the confirmation window.


Upon creating and applying user-defined tags to your resources, please note that it may require up to 24 hours for the tag keys to be visible on your cost allocation tags page for activation. Once activated, it may take 24 hours for all tags to be reflected in both the Billing and Cost Management console and the Cost and Usage Report (CUR).

Step 2: Apply tags during the copy snapshot process

Access the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) console. Navigate to the Snapshots section in the sidebar and pick the snapshot intended for copying in the remote Region. Click on “Actions,” and from the dropdown menu, choose “Copy Snapshot.”


Provide a concise description for the snapshot in the “Description” field. Choose the destination Region where you want to copy the snapshot. (Optional) Mark the “Encrypt this snapshot” option if encryption is desired. In the “Tags” section, input the key-value pair to assign tags to the snapshot in the destination region. This tag will be associated with the AWS Data Transfer cost linked to this snapshot copy operation. Click on “Copy snapshot” to proceed.


Step 3: Track snapshot data transfer cost in AWS Cost Explorer

Sign in to the Console and open the AWS Cost Management console.

Choose the desired period for the Date Range.

Select a preferred value for Granularity (in this example, Daily is chosen).

Opt for Usage Type as the Dimension.

Pick Amazon EC2 – Other as the Service.

Choose the specified groups for Usage Type Group.


  • Amazon EC2: EBS – Snapshots
  • Amazon EC2: Data Transfer – Region to Region (In)
  • Amazon EC2: Data Transfer – Region to Region (Out)

Choose the relevant tags associated with the snapshot.

The figure illustrates the cost of transferring snapshot data from us-east-1 to the us-west-2 Region.


Use Cases

Effectively monitoring and controlling AWS Data Transfer costs for cross-region Amazon EBS Snapshot Copy is crucial for cost management. Here are detailed use cases and strategies to achieve this:

AWS Budgets

  • Set up AWS Budgets to receive alerts upon reaching predefined spending thresholds.
  • Establish custom budgets specifically for cross-region Amazon EBS Snapshot Copy data transfer costs.
  • Leverage budget notifications for proactive expense management.

Amazon CloudWatch Metrics:

  • Monitor Amazon EBS metrics related to cross-region snapshot copy with Amazon CloudWatch.
  • Key metrics like “VolumeBytesCopied” and “VolumeCopies” offer insights into data transfer activity.
  • Implement alarms based on these metrics to receive notifications for irregular transfer patterns.

Lifecycle Manager and Automation

  • Use AWS Systems Manager Automation or AWS Lambda to automate Amazon EBS Snapshot Copy tasks.
  • Implement lifecycle policies to govern snapshot retention, reducing unnecessary cross-region transfers.


By employing tags for snapshot copy operations, these tags become visible for AWS Data Transfer costs related to snapshot copy. This empowers AWS users to make more informed decisions regarding their AWS Data Transfer costs associated with snapshot copy, enabling accurate chargebacks. Begin implementing this solution today to enhance your cost-management practices and maximize the efficiency of your AWS resources.

Drop a query if you have any questions regarding AWS Data Transfer and we will get back to you quickly.

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1. How can I track and manage costs associated with cross-region snapshot copy?

ANS: – AWS users can leverage tools like AWS Cost Explorer and AWS Budgets to monitor and manage their overall AWS costs, including cross-region Amazon EBS Snapshot Copy.

2. Do data transfer costs apply only during the snapshot copy process, or are they incurred during snapshot creation?

ANS: – Data transfer costs apply during the initial snapshot creation and the subsequent copy process when the snapshot is moved to another region.

3. Can AWS tags categorize and track costs specific to cross-region snapshot copy operations?

ANS: – Yes, utilizing AWS tags on resources involved in the cross-region snapshot copy process allows for better tracking and allocation of costs, enhancing visibility into expenses associated with specific snapshots.

WRITTEN BY Deepak Surendran



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