Amazon Web Services continues to dominate the market, and outperform expectations, with sales rising to $5.1 billion in the final quarter of 2017. However, research shows that businesses may be spending far more on AWS than they need to.
The data, from AWS monitoring service Stax.io, shows that businesses spending $50,000-100,000 on AWS per year have the potential to save, on average, 39% of that budget.
Overall, more than 70% of Stax clients had been able to save at least 20% of their budget in the last 12 months, with the savings rising to more than 30% for those who’d been monitoring AWS usage for more than 12 months. Average savings across all organisations studied were 35%.
It makes you wonder what the AWS sales figures would be if everyone had a better handle on their spending.
EC2 savings highest
Stax, a SaaS AWS monitoring tool based out of Melbourne, Australia, helps customers manage their cost, security, compliance and optimisation challenges associated with AWS.
And it seems the market needs it. A typical customer of the service wasted 28% of their budget in the first month of monitoring, but reduced that wastage by a full 60% in the first six months, on average.
The savings were gained across a range of AWS offerings. For the typical organisation, some 28% of total savings were achieved in EC2 — possibly the most popular of Amazon’s web services, according to recent research by 2nd Watch.
An additional 20% of the savings were gained in each of S3, RDS, and EBS. DynamoDB and ECS, along with all other services, contributed the least to the total savings profile of a typical business in the study.
A long way to go
“The data suggests that the industry still has a long way to go in terms of building their AWS capability and implementing best practices,” said Dave Slutzkin, General Manager of Stax, who oversaw the research. “We expect that’s why businesses are overspending on AWS, but of course this also has implications for the management of security risks, and the optimisation of AWS implementations on the whole.”
He points out that the scale, capability, and flexibility of AWS can make it difficult to manage by the very businesses for which it was designed. As customers continue to use AWS combined with Stax, these challenges are very quickly overcome.
“To get the most out of every dollar of their AWS spend — which includes optimising compliance and risk management — organisations first need to define their own best practices for AWS,” said Slutzkin.
Of course, that takes time and education, since the best practices recommended by AWS itself aren’t specific or specialised enough for many businesses. While quantitative best practices can be easy to set and relatively simple to monitor, qualitative best practices are often a different story.
But once a business has done its homework, it can nail down what, specifically, it needs to monitor to make sure those best practices are being met.
“And at that point, you’re in a position to realise some real cost savings,” Slutzkin said.
AWS education baked in
To help educate AWS customers, Stax provides optimisation advice and recommendations at a granular level, right in its monitoring interface. This helps users make immediate changes, safely, to reduce spending, as well as act on compliance rule violations, quality assessment checks, and so on.
The service also notifies clients of cost spikes automatically, and alerts them when budget thresholds have been met.
This gradual, contextual learning helps organisations to build the skills and confidence to optimise their unique AWS profiles over time, although the data suggests they’re getting a cost benefit from Day 1 (okay, Month 1) of monitoring.
According to Slutzkin, monitoring doesn’t just reduce AWS spend itself. “We’ve seen first-hand how good tracking saves staff countless hours finding and reporting on usage data, too,” he says.
Clearly, there are extra savings to be gained for those smarter businesses that take AWS monitoring seriously. But at the very least, it seems that setting up some sound cost rules and alerts could make a big difference to next month’s AWS bill. Learn more about how Stax helps reduce AWS wastage on the Stax blog.