Spring Cleaning Your AWS Costs

Clean up your AWS costs with these spring cleaning tips!

Steph Gooch
Amazon Employee
Published May 8, 2024
It's spring cleaning season! Time to declutter, organize, and tidy up - both at home and in your AWS environment. You can see the fill video on the Keys to AWS Optimization Channel.
In this blog post, we'll share actionable tips to help you "spring clean" your AWS accounts and reduce costs, based on a recent podcast episode from the AWS Key Optimizations team.The episode featured several AWS experts from the OPTICS team discussing their favorite ways to clean up and optimize AWS services like CloudWatch, S3, EBS, and RDS. Let's dive into their top recommendations to put some order into your AWS environment and avoid paying for resources you don't need.Tidy Up
CloudWatch Logs
First up, Rosa Corley shared some great tips on tidying up CloudWatch Logs:
  • Apply retention policies to log groups - This lets you automatically delete logs older than a set time period. Many log groups default to never expiring logs, so adding policies can quickly clean up unneeded data.
  • Use the new CloudWatch Infrequent Access storage tier - This cheaper tier is ideal for log data not frequently accessed. You can enable it on new log groups going forward.
  • Reduce metrics pulled with GetMetricData - If you don't need metrics at a high granularity anymore, reduce the polling frequency to pull less data.
Rosa also recommends using CloudWatch Insights queries against log group metadata to identify log groups that haven't been growing or accessed recently. These may be candidates to delete or reduce retention on.
Remove Zombie S3 Buckets
Connor Murphy shared tips on tidying up S3 buckets:
  • Find and remove "zombie" S3 buckets - These are buckets not accessed recently that are needlessly accumulating storage charges.
  • Implement S3 Intelligent Tiering - This can automatically move data between tiers based on access patterns, optimizing costs.
  • Delete incomplete multi-part uploads - When files are uploaded to S3 in parts, leftover incomplete uploads can take up space. Deleting them frees up storage.
To identify zombie S3 buckets, Connor suggests looking at your bucket list and storage metrics to find any surprises. Buckets that are very large or continuing to grow steadily may warrant a deeper look.
Clean Up Unused EBS Snapshots
Scottie Enriquez gave some great advice on cleaning up unused EBS snapshots:
  • Understand EBS snapshot billing - You only pay for unique blocks captured in a snapshot, not empty space.
  • Use APIs to gather metadata like snapshot age and description - This can help identify cleanup targets.
  • Ensure snapshots match intended retention policies - Delete ones out of compliance.
Since billing is based on unique blocks captured, snapshots of empty volumes incur no charges. Scotty recommends plotting your snapshot usage over time and looking for surprises to uncover cleanup targets. Scottie suggests looking at the ratio of EBS to snapshot billing, as high snapshot costs may indicate old, unused snapshots piling up.
Prioritize Your Cleanup
Finally, Adam Richter shared a great tip on prioritizing your AWS cleanup efforts:
Create a simple "high five" report with top idle resources. Highlight just the top 5 idle resources in key categories like EC2, RDS, and EBS.
  • Annualize the potential savings - Show the projected yearly savings from cleaning each item up.
  • Follow up to ensure remediation - Actually verify the resources were deleted or not billing anymore.
  • Shut down idle DB instances - Trusted Advisor can help identify instances not connected to recently.
  • Rightsize multi-AZ for non-production - Non-prod may not need redundant standby instances.
  • Migrate to Graviton processors - Arm-based Graviton chips can save substantially on DB instances.
This approach gives you a short, digestible list to act on, rather than an overwhelming full report. It focuses on idle resources that are strong candidates for easy, quick savings. Following up afterward ensures the cleanup stuck and those savings will be realized.
Spring into Action
The arrival of spring is the perfect catalyst to finally clean up your AWS environment. Follow the tips above to identify savings opportunities and take action. We'd love to hear about your experience and successes putting any of these AWS cost optimization recommendations into practice. Wishing you happy spring savings!

Any opinions in this post are those of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of AWS.