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Optimize Your AWS Costs Through Rigorous Rightsizing and Financial Tools



In the rapidly evolving world of cloud services, managing and optimizing these resources is of paramount importance. In this blog post, we dive deep into the practice of rightsizing on Amazon Web Services (AWS), covering those subtle specifics that often escape attention.

AWS offers a vast array of services, each providing a multitude of instance types and sizes, which can make it challenging to choose the most cost-effective and efficient option. In this detailed guide, we will walk you through the rightsizing process, demonstrating how to leverage metrics such as CPU utilization and memory usage to optimize your AWS resources. We’ll discuss rightsizing for specific AWS services like AWS ElasticCache and Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka (MSK). Lastly, we’ll introduce you to AWS financial tools like Savings Plans, Reserved Instances, and the Enterprise Discount Program (EDP), including how to fulfill EDP commitments by purchasing third-party services through the AWS Marketplace.

Rightsizing Based on CPU Utilization Metrics

CPU utilization metrics play an integral role in rightsizing. AWS CloudWatch offers a comprehensive suite of metrics, including CPUUtilization, allowing you to track the performance and utilization trends of your instance. By utilizing these metrics, you can assess the computational power your applications need, ensuring you don’t overprovision (and overpay for) resources.

Remember, the solution to high CPU utilization isn’t always scaling up. It’s essential to determine the root cause: Is it increased traffic or inefficient code? Identifying the cause facilitates taking appropriate measures, which could include optimizing the code, horizontally scaling, or indeed, increasing the size of your instances.

Rightsizing Based on Memory and RAM

Memory usage is another vital component in rightsizing. Though AWS doesn’t provide memory metrics directly, you can monitor them using custom CloudWatch metrics or third-party tools. This is especially crucial for memory-intensive applications, as running out of memory could result in application failure.

To optimize based on memory, you need to understand your workload’s memory requirements and choose an instance type that provides the appropriate amount of RAM. Over- or under-provisioning memory could lead to performance issues or unnecessary expenditure. Hence, a thorough analysis of your application’s memory usage over time is critical to selecting the right instance type and size.

Rightsizing AWS Services like AWS ElasticCache, MSK, etc.

The principle of rightsizing extends beyond EC2 instances, encompassing other AWS services such as AWS ElasticCache and Amazon MSK.

AWS ElasticCache, a web service that simplifies deployment and running of in-memory data stores in the cloud, can be optimized by monitoring the Cache Hit Ratio and Evictions metrics. A low Cache Hit Ratio or a high number of Evictions could indicate that a larger node type is needed.

Similarly, Amazon MSK, a fully managed service for Apache Kafka, can also be optimized. Monitoring the CPU and memory usage of your Kafka brokers, in conjunction with the network throughput, can help identify whether you’re over or under-provisioning.

Every AWS service has its unique set of metrics to monitor, each presenting its own opportunities for rightsizing.

Understanding and Using Savings Plan, Reserved Instances, and AWS EDP

Financial tools like AWS Savings Plans, Reserved Instances, and the Enterprise Discount Program (EDP) offer significant potential for cost savings in AWS.

AWS Savings Plans offer a flexible pricing model where you commit to a certain amount of usage (measured in $/hour) over 1 or 3 years. In return, AWS provides substantial discounts compared to On-Demand prices. Savings Plans are noted for their flexibility – they apply to any instance family, region, or OS.

Reserved Instances (RIs) give you a discount for committing to specific instance types in particular regions for a 1 or 3 year term. While less flexible than Savings Plans, RIs can offer deeper discounts, making them an ideal choice if your usage is steady and predictable.

AWS EDPs are long-term contracts offering significant discounts over and above savings plan and RIs for organizations ready to make substantial upfront commitments to AWS. But it’s important to remember that these commitments apply to your entire AWS usage and can be offset by purchasing through the AWS Marketplace. AWS Marketplace offers a variety of third-party software and services that you can purchase to fulfill your EDP commitments, making it an excellent tool to manage and fulfill your EDP agreement.


Rightsizing is a powerful strategy to optimize your AWS costs. However, it requires a thorough understanding of both your applications’ requirements and the AWS services and pricing models. By factoring in CPU and memory usage, rightsizing AWS services like ElasticCache and MSK, and utilizing financial tools like Savings Plans, Reserved Instances, and AWS EDP, you can make your AWS infrastructure efficient and cost-effective.

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