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AWS Savings Plans – A Critical Tool for a Well-Managed Cloud

stackArmor has been supporting customers since 2014 in assisting with their AWS cloud migration and management needs.  Once the migration is done, continued cloud management is critical to receiving the cloud dividend. stackArmor has developed the Well-Managed Cloud framework and the stackArmor ThreatAlert® security platform to help customers easily manage their cloud environments. The ThreatAlert platform provides four key areas of focus including security, operations, compliance, and governance.

AWS Savings Plans

Screenshot of ThreatAlert® Security Platform for managing and operating secure and optimal cloud environments on AWS

A key part of operating a cloud environment is to ensure the lowest possible operational costs. To help customers implement an easy to understand Cloud cost optimization is the process of reducing your overall cloud spend by identifying mismanaged resources, eliminating waste, reserving capacity for higher discounts, and right-sizing computing services to scale. There are a few common cloud cost optimization best practices, including, finding unused or unattached resources and removing them, identifying and consolidating idle resources, and right-sizing of computing services amongst others. The ThreatAlert dashboard provides data on areas for optimization. Once the resources are identified it is important to leverage AWS pricing plans to maximize cost optimization opportunities. One such tool is AWS Savings Plans. AWS launched the Savings Plans last year, let us have a look into what they mean and if they are a good fit for your organization.

AWS Savings Plans

Savings Plans is a flexible pricing model from AWS that provides savings of up to 72% on your AWS compute usage. This pricing model offers lower prices on Amazon EC2 instances usage, regardless of instance family, size, OS, tenancy, or AWS Region, and also applies to AWS Fargate and AWS Lambda usage.

Savings Plans offer significant savings over On-Demand, just like EC2 Reserved Instances, in exchange for a commitment to use a specific amount of compute power (measured in $/hour) for a one or three-year period. You can sign up for Savings Plans for a 1- or 3-year term and easily manage your plans by taking advantage of recommendations, performance reporting, and budget alerts in the AWS Cost Explorer.

Let’s take an example, if you commit to $25 of compute usage an hour, you will get Savings Plans prices on that usage up to $25, and any usage beyond that commitment will be charged at the usual On-Demand rates.

AWS offers two types of Savings Plans:

Compute Savings Plans

This plan provides the most flexibility and can get you a cost reduction of up to 66% and automatically apply to EC2 and Fargate usage. This is drastically simpler than the previous RI’s as the discount applies regardless of instance family, size, AZ, region, or tenancy. Now you don’t have to go through the time-consuming efforts to figure out the configurations before you commit.

EC2 Instance Savings Plans

This plan provides the lowest prices, and you can get savings up to 72% in exchange for a commitment to the usage of an instant family in a specific region (e.g., C5 usage in Northern Virginia). This automatically reduces your cost on the selected instance family and provides the ability to switch the OS, size, AZ, and tenancy (dedicated or default).

Customers can purchase, track, and interact with Savings Plans through Cost Explorer. Cost Explorer includes a recommendations engine that analyzes historical usage (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly) and suggests purchase options. These cover one- and three-year terms as well as payment options familiar to RI customers – no, partial, and all upfront.

As a cloud security and compliance services provider for compliance-focused customers in financial services, healthcare, public sector, and regulated industries, our expert team of AWS Certified Engineers and Architects are well versed with various new AWS tools and services, with Savings Plans to be one of them. We have managed to help our customers save a reasonable amount of cloud costs each month using the Savings Plans. Given that the Savings Plans are flexible, easy to use, and offer significant savings over time, it is definitely something we would recommend using if it seems like a good fit for your organization.

Interested in engaging with a stackArmor Cloud Management expert to help answer your cloud cost optimizations questions? Contact us by filling out this form.

Author: Saim Naiyer, AWS Cloud Engineer at stackArmor

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