Five ways to reduce EBS costs from AWS Monthly Bills

EBS and its Pricing Scheme:

Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) is a scalable, plug and play persistent storage service for Amazon EC2 instances by means of block level storage volumes. EBS Volumes can be used as your primary storage device for an EC2 instance or database, or for throughput-intensive systems requiring constant disk scans. An EBS volume can be attached as a root partition to an EBS-backed EC2 instance or as a detachable device to any AWS EC2 instance and retained even after the EC2 instance is deleted. Read on to find out how you can reduce EBS costs. 

Amazon EBS storage costs depend on how much EBS storage, in terms of gigabyte-per-month, is provisioned in a particular account. While EC2 instances only accrue charges while they’re running, the EBS volumes attached to instances continue to retain information and hence accrue charges, even when the instance is stopped.

5 Steps to reduce EBS Costs

Data Storage constitutes a significant portion of overall resource costs. We have to ensure that the usage of EBS is optimized if one has to manage the Overall AWS Budgets. Here are five of the most common ways to reduce EBS costs without affecting the application performance in any manner.

Selecting the right-mix of EBS types:

AWS provides various types of EBS volumes allowing you to tailor the right volume to meet your budget and application performance requirements. The EBS volume comes with three options – General Purpose (SSD), Provisioned IOPS (SSD) and Magnetic (the old standard), each with different performance and pricing levels. Application architects should ensure that EC2 instances are using General Purpose SSD (gp2) EBS volumes instead of Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) volumes unless the running application is mission-critical and needs more than 10000 IOPS or 160 MiB/s of throughput per volume.

Selecting the Right Sizes of EBS Volumes:

The EBS volumes should also be rightsized. To arrive at the right-size of an EBS volume, the critical factors to be considered are capacity, IOPS, and throughput of the application. As discussed earlier, removing unattached volumes is one way to reduce EBS costs. For all the EBS volumes provisioned, the read-write access volumes of the blocks should be monitored periodically. If the throughput is low, then the EBS blocks should be downgraded to reduce EBS costs.

Leverage EBS Snapshots:

An EBS snapshot is a point-in-time backup of an EBS volume. It is a “copy” of the data on in EBS volume. EBS snapshots are billed at a lower rate than active EBS volumes. If an EBS block has low access volume, the active volume of this EBS block can be deleted after the information stored in EBS is copied to an EBS Snapshot.

Delete Unattached EBS Volumes:

As noted earlier, EBS Volumes can exist without being attached to any EC2 Instances. Hence Every time an instance is launched through the AWS Console, there is a setting that needs to be checked to ensure the associated EBS volume is deleted upon the termination of the instance. However, when administrators are deleting unused EC2 Instances, they might forget to delete the EBS volumes attached to it. Such EBS Volumes which aren’t being used for anything would still be costing money because of EBS pricing policy.

Hence by constantly checking whether all the EBS volumes are being used and deleting unused EBS volumes can reduce a big amount from the monthly AWS bill.

Delete Old Snapshots:

Many organizations create EBS snapshots to use in case of data loss or disaster. Outdated Backups which are of no practical value might still be held in the EBS snapshots.  Even though there might be several EBS snapshots, the recovery procedures might only need the most recent snapshot. Such EBS snapshot costs can quickly increase if not properly monitored. Even though Individual snapshots are not costly, the cost can grow quickly when many are provisioned.

While administrators are configuring the settings to automatically create subsequent snapshots on a daily basis, they should also configure the settings to delete older snapshots periodically. Administrators must set a standard for how many snapshots should be retained per volume.

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