One of the things that attract start ups and enterprise customers to cloud deployments is on-demand pricing: you only pay for what you use. This is certainly the cornerstone of AWS billing principles. In fact, some AWS services, like VPC, Elastic Beanstalk, CloudFormation, Opsworks, and IAM are available at no charge at all. You will only be billed for the compute resources you actually run.
Nevertheless, accurately anticipating your monthly costs can sometimes be tricky, so here are five quick tips for managing the Billing on your AWS account.
1. Pay Less when you reserve AWS instances
If you’re currently using an on-demand EC2 or RDS instance, take a few minutes to do a review. If it turns out that your usage is fairly steady over a long period, you may find that reserve pricing can cost you quite a lot less. One up-front payment covering a period of between one and three years can go for a significant discount over the hourly usage for the same instance.
2. Bid on the Spot market for unused AWS Resources
When you launch an instance, you’re given the option of bidding for unused EC2 capacity on the Spot market. When your bid price is equal to or higher than the current Spot price, you will automatically be given use of an EC2 instance of the specified type for as long as the price doesn’t rise above your bid. Spot bidding can save you up to 90% on the cost of Ec2 instances.
Spot instances are useful for heavy lift tasks such as complex analytics, Big Data processing, scientific computing, and media processing. You just have to be confident that your application can survive unexpected terminations should the Spot price rise above your bid. It may be necessary for you to review the Spot price history in your availability zone.
3. Set CloudWatch alerts to monitor your AWS usage
Use Amazon CloudWatch to have alert notifications sent to you when your monthly charges for using AWS product reach a pre-configured threshold. This frees you from having to log in AWS Billing Console to check for yourself. More importantly, it protects you from the surprises that you can face if you never get around to checking.
How does it work? Suppose your AWS account gets hacked and the intruders decide to spin up few d2.8xlarge instances. When your usage crosses the pre-set threshold, you will receive a message from CloudWatch advising you to take the necessary action.
To get started with CloudWatch, log into the AWS Billing Dashboard, go to Preferences, and select Receive Billing Alerts.
Update: We should also note the huge value of enabling “Receive Billing Reports” alongside “Receive Billing Alerts” – the comprehensive CSV-formatted reports can be a really useful source of valuable insight (hat tip).
4. Tag your resources
When you tag your AWS resources to identify their function or association (QA, Dev, Prod, etc) you’ll be able to quickly know which environments are incurring the highest costs and which business unit is exceeding their AWS cost allocations. This can be a particularly effective way to monitor – and control – costs.
5. Analyze AWS billing reports
AWS provides monthly billing reports that highlight the costs incurred by individual AWS services, and the number of hours used in a month. But some times this isn’t enough when, for instance, you also want to see a forecast of your future expenses or when you’d like to share figures with a customer.
To get this kind of clarity, you can export your billing reports in CSV format or even build a custom application with its own analytics. You could also enable programmatic access to your AWS account and specify an S3 bucket into which you want your billing data copied. AWS will then generate estimated monthly bills several times a day and save them to your bucket. You can also use the S3 bucket data as input for your application.
New Content: Platforms, Programming, and DevOps – Something for Everyone
This month our team of expert certification specialists released three new or updated learning paths, 16 courses, 13 hands-on labs, and four lab challenges! New content on Cloud Academy You can always visit our Content Roadmap to see what’s just released as well as what’s coming soon....
Mastering AWS Organizations Service Control Policies
Service Control Policies (SCPs) are IAM-like policies to manage permissions in AWS Organizations. SCPs restrict the actions allowed for accounts within the organization making each one of them compliant with your guidelines. SCPs are not meant to grant permissions; you should consider ...
New Content: Focus on DevOps and Programming Content this Month
This month our team of expert certification specialists released 12 new or updated learning paths, 15 courses, 25 hands-on labs, and four lab challenges! New content on Cloud Academy You can always visit our Content Roadmap to see what’s just released as well as what’s coming soon. Ja...
New Content: Get Ready for the CISM Cert Exam & Learn About Alibaba, Plus All the AWS, GCP, and Azure Courses You Know You Can Count On
This month our team of intrepid certification specialists released five learning paths, seven courses, 19 hands-on labs, and three lab challenges! One particularly interesting new learning path is Certified Information Security Manager (CISM) Foundations. After completing this learn...
Which Certifications Should I Get?
The old AWS slogan, “Cloud is the new normal” is indeed a reality today. Really, cloud has been the new normal for a while now and getting credentials has become an increasingly effective way to quickly showcase your abilities to recruiters and companies. With all that in mind, the s...
The 12 AWS Certifications: Which is Right for You and Your Team?
As companies increasingly shift workloads to the public cloud, cloud computing has moved from a nice-to-have to a core competency in the enterprise. This shift requires a new set of skills to design, deploy, and manage applications in cloud computing. As the market leader and most ma...
AWS Certified Solutions Architect Associate: A Study Guide
Want to take a really impactful step in your technical career? Explore the AWS Solutions Architect Associate certificate. Its new version (SAA-C02) was released on March 23, 2020. The AWS Solutions Architect - Associate Certification (or Sol Arch Associate for short) offers some ...
New Content: AWS Terraform, Java Programming Lab Challenges, Azure DP-900 & DP-300 Certification Exam Prep, Plus Plenty More Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Big Data Courses
This month our Content Team continues building the catalog of courses for everyone learning about AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure. In addition, this month’s updates include several Java programming lab challenges and a couple of courses on big data. In total, we released five new learning...
Where Should You Be Focusing Your AWS Security Efforts?
Another day, another re:Invent session! This time I listened to Stephen Schmidt’s session, “AWS Security: Where we've been, where we're going.” Amongst covering the highlights of AWS security during 2020, a number of newly added AWS features/services were discussed, including: AWS Audit...
AWS re:Invent: 2020 Keynote Top Highlights and More
We’ve gotten through the first five days of the special all-virtual 2020 edition of AWS re:Invent. It’s always a really exciting time for practitioners in the field to see what features and services AWS has cooked up for the year ahead. This year’s conference is a marathon and not a...
WARNING: Great Cloud Content Ahead
At Cloud Academy, content is at the heart of what we do. We work with the world’s leading cloud and operations teams to develop video courses and learning paths that accelerate teams and drive digital transformation. First and foremost, we listen to our customers’ needs and we stay ahea...
Excelling in AWS, Azure, and Beyond – How Danut Prisacaru Prepares for the Future
Meet Danut Prisacaru. Danut has been a Software Architect for the past 10 years and has been involved in Software Engineering for 30 years. He’s passionate about software and learning, and jokes that coding is basically the only thing he can do well (!). We think his enthusiasm shines t...