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Quick guide to managing Amazon AWS costs

In a recent straw poll of ITAM Review readers it was found that only 27% of organisations have some form of portal or automated provisioning process for Amazon AWS.

  • 34% of organisations allowed engineers and developers direct access to the AWS console
  • 10% orchestrated AWS provisioning via a self service portal
  • 17% claimed they had automated provisioning
  • and 39% either had other methods or didn’t know how AWS was provisioned

It was just a straw poll and not an exhaustive study, and just because someone is accessing the AWS console directly doesn’t mean their governance is slack, but best practice leans towards some form of portal to automate the provisioning of AWS instances in the same way you might provision perpetual software or SaaS subscriptions via an App Store. AWS basics include switching off unused resources and rightsizing instances and plans.

Amazon Web Services

How to control Amazon AWS costs

Last Thursday Daniel Galecki of Flexera and I hosted a webinar on how to get a handle on Amazon Web Services costs.

The notes below are a quick summary of the main points, links and resources shared during the webinar.

View the recording here. (Registration required)


How to Control Amazon AWS Costs – The four principles of controlling and reducing AWS spend whilst maximizing IT productivity and agility

  • Introductions
  • Amazon in the market
  • Amazon Best Practice
  • Amazon utilities
  • Four principles of AWS cost control
  • Business case for IaaS optimisation and key price differentials
  • Q&A


The gist of the entire webinar was that ITAM doesn’t want to be a blockage to innovation on the AWS platform, but at the same time we need to wrap governance around usage of AWS to control and manage spend. The best way to do this, as argued in the webinar and also recommended by Amazon best practice was to construct some form of portal or self service mechanism for managing Amazon consumption.

Key talking points and links

Amazon is the Gorilla in IaaS. Microsoft close behind. Gartner predict 37% growth in 2017, volumes treble between 2016 and 2020 from $USD 25.4BN to $USD 72.4BN (Predicted)


Four Principles of AWS Cost Optimization

  1. Understand consumption – Bills, Departments (itemized billing)
  2. Understand Options (change providers and change plan – low hanging fruit) Plans, Providers
  3. Processes for Optimization – Capping, Reclaim, Rightsizing, Automation (thermostats, motion sensors, bulbs, automation BMS)
  4. Ongoing optimization- Benchmarking, improvement plans

Amazon Best Practice

Amazon AWS Cost Optimization Utilities

  1. Understanding Your Usage with Billing Reports
  2. TCO Calculators
  3. Simply Monthly Calculator
  4. Trusted Advisor – Cost Optimization Checks (Support Contract Required) Checks Amazon EC2 – last 14 days CPU utilization was 10% or less and network I/O was 5MB or less on 4 or more days
  5. Amazon Cloud Watch (alarms & metrics monitoring) e.g. $100,000 month

What’s coming?

Apps automatically provisioned on AWS (Amazon Ecommerce meets AWS elastic cloud) Time to get our arms around it before horse bolts!

Amazon Alternatives

“The three leading public cloud vendors, AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, take very different approaches to pricing and discounts for their services” Datamation

Thanks to Daniel and the Flexera team for supporting us on this webinar. If you have any questions around AWS optimisation please leave a comment below or visit our forum.

Cheers, Martin

View the recording here. (Registration required)

About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource for worldwide ITAM professionals. The ITAM Review is best known for its weekly newsletter of all the latest industry updates, LISA training platform, Excellence Awards and conferences in UK, USA and Australia.

Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

He is also the author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.

Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).

When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.

Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.

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