One of the main reasons most companies move their IT services to the cloud is to save money. With AWS, it is common knowledge that EC2 Reserved Instances exist at a discount compared to the On-Demand rate. RDS is another well-known service which can be reserved, reservations which were analyzed in our previous post. However, not many know that additional services from Amazon can be reserved or discounted based on upfront commitment. Before reading this article, I strongly recommend learning more about the latest updates to AWS’ New Reserved Instances plan and how you can benefit. If you’re all set, take a look at five more AWS services that can be reserved:
1 – Redshift
As discussed in an earlier blog post (about S3 alternatives), Redshift is a fully managed data warehouse solution. In order to run this service, four different instances are available, two of which are optimized for compute power and two are optimized for storage. You can reserve all, partial, or no up front instances for either one or three years at a discounted rate of up to 40% and 70% off, respectively, just like EC2. See the Redshift pricing page for more info.
2 – Elasticache
This AWS service provides in-memory cache services to retrieve data faster from disk-based databases. It runs using one of two popular open-source in-memory caching engines: Memcached and Redis. Elasticache has three types of current-generation instances, two of which are general purpose (T2 and M3 based) and one is RAM-optimized (R3 based). To save on costs with this service, you can reserve these Elasticache instances based on heavy utilization reservation (equivalent to partial-upfront reservation). The discount is based on a one-time reservation fee that gives a discounted hourly rate for using Reserved Instances. Previous generation Elasticache instances can be reserved under the light and medium utilization tiers.
It is recommended to purchase heavy utilization reserved cache nodes because they offer the best discounted rate and are available 24/7 to cater to workloads that need to always be up and running. However, the light and medium utilization tiers may better suit your needs and should not be discredited. Compared to the On-Demand rates, you can save over 50% reserving heavy utilization nodes. See the Elasticache pricing page for more info.
3 – Elastic MapReduce
This service processes large sets of data using MapReduce workloads. The pricing for Elastic MapReduce is based on an hourly rate for the MapReduce service, on top of an hourly rate for underlying EC2 instances that are used. While the MapReduce rate is fixed, you can lower costs by buying EC2 reservations for the instances that would be used by Elastic MapReduce. See the EMR pricing page for more info.
4 – CloudFront
CloudFront is AWS’ popular CDN (Content Distribution Network) service. It brings content closer to users by distributing from multiple global edge locations. The pricing for this service mostly comes from data transfer services to and from edge locations and from HTTP requests made to edge locations. To receive a discount on CloudFront, you need to make a 12 month commitment and have a minimum monthly usage level that starts at 10TB per month from a single region. The higher the capacity requested, the larger the discount. However, pricing can only be found by contacting Amazon directly. See CloudFront’s pricing for more info.
5 – DynamoDB
DynamoDB is a NoSQL fast database-as-a-service that supports document and key-value store models. When you create or update your Amazon DynamoDB table, you specify how much capacity you wish to reserve for reads and writes. Amazon DynamoDB will reserve the necessary machine resources to meet your throughput needs with consistent, low-latency performance. You can commit to 100 read and/or write capacity units per month, on one year or three year terms. The price includes an upfront fee and an ongoing hourly rate. See DynamoDB’s pricing page for more info.
We’ve seen that costs can be cut in many services provided by Amazon with an upfront payment. In your cloud costs report, this payment shows up as a large spike and should be considered separate from usage costs. It is more of an investment for future discounts and return on investment. To reflect the true operational costs, you can alter the reports either by filtering out the upfront payments from usage costs or by amortizing the upfront payments over the time of the reservation. Cloudyn supports both of these methods, amortizing all one-time fees mentioned in this post, as well as others such as Amazon Partner Network (APN) annual subscription fees.
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