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Reduce AWS Cost the Easy Way (Part 1)

 Hi, Anton here. I represent the AWS Cloud team of Stepinlogic Corp., a cloud consulting services company. We are serving small and mid-sized businesses with the best experience on the public cloud architecture, migration, integration, and support. Today I am pleased to announce the beginning of blog post series “How to Reduce AWS Cost the Easy Way”. As your business grows the cloud infrastructure might go out of control, making your monthly payments out of bound. Based on our work and experience we were able to find the most “bill-growing” elements and implement strategies on keeping your monthly cost at a minimum. Every part of this series will represent one technique to lower your bill with a detailed overview of the steps to implement the solution.  


 I will show you the first AWS cost reduction strategy by removing unused EBS volumes

EBS stands for Elastic Block Store that is designed to use with Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud). Often, administrators don’t realize they are paying for unused EBS storage volumes, the ones that not attached to any of the servers. Most don’t notice when deleting the instance, to manually check the options to terminate disk storage, the volume will be saved and marked as “available”. Within our practice, we saw engineers mistakenly thinking that unused volumes are free, which is incorrect.  

The good practice is to create snapshots of the volumes and store them, while in case you need the volume back you can easily restore it from the snapshot- that will significantly reduce your AWS bill.  

To keep the tutorial simple, we will use the management console to determine the “unused” volumes and terminate them. 

Using AWS Console to Find and Remove EBS Volumes 
  1. Login to AWS Management Console  
  1. Find EC2 on the dashboard 
  1. In the navigation panel, on the left side, find Elastic Block Store and select Volumes 
  1. State column should identify volume as “available”, meaning this volume is not being used. If the volume is “in-use”, that means that it’s currently attached to an instance and cannot be deleted.  
  1. (Optional) To keep the information, right click on the volume and select “Create Snapshot”. That option will store volume data as a snapshot in S3 bucket which is cheaper then keeping the volume. Later you can restore the volume at any time from the snapshot.  
  1. Right click on volume and delete for the ones you found “available” 

Above are simple steps to reduce AWS cost the easy way by finding allocated storage that is potentially overloading your monthly bill. Allocating and removing unused EBS volumes is one of the first steps to lower your AWS cost. We found that in 80% of cases administrators leaving volumes on their own after they terminate servers. Having a good habit to check the provisioned and not used resources on your AWS account will payout in the long term.  


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