List of the unexpected charges you can avoid on your AWS bills

Unexpected charges on your AWS bill occur due to a lack of visibility into cloud resources and activity, which can result in costs accrued without warning, and charges related to resources that are no longer in use or required. We have listed down some ways to help you avoid unexpected charges on your AWS bill.

Monitoring free tier limits

Be sure that your planned configuration falls under the Free Tier offering. To avoid unnecessary charges while using the amazon free tier, you need to understand what services and resources are covered by the AWS free tier and monitor free tier usage with AWS Budgets as any usage above AWS’ free tier limits—or any usage after a free trial has expired—is charged at standard billing rates. You can monitor costs in the Billing and Cost Management console. To prevent these charges, make sure you’ve set up alerts to tell you when a free tier is about to expire or when you go over the free tier’s service limit before paying. You also need to clean up the test resources once you are done using them.

Unattached EBS volumes

You need to create a policy that automatically deletes unused EBS volumes as thousands of dollars in unattached Elastic Block Storage (EBS) volumes in AWS accounts—volumes that cost money but aren’t used for anything are causing high bills spikes. DevOps Engineers while allocating EBS volume sizes for their workloads on EC2 instances, usually overprovision them and then forget to downsize them, this results in heavy cost leakage on EBS Volumes.
Developers find reducing the cost of EBS volumes by downsizing while ensuring zero-downtime a painstaking, complex, and time-consuming process. Creating a new volume, copying data from the existing volume to a new volume, and then replacing the older volume with a newer one by doing changes at the operating system level is a tedious task to be done at scale.
OpsLyft provides a single solution to instantly downsize your EBS volumes without the pain of going through multiple steps of backup and restore, provides the right size recommendations for EBS volumes based on read-write IOps and disk utilization trends.

Aged EBS snapshots

Many organizations use EBS snapshots to create point-in-copy recovery points in the event of data loss or disaster, but if costs are not carefully managed, they can quickly spiral out of control. Set a company-wide standard for how many snapshots per instance should be retained, or consider implementing a policy that automatically sends a notification or deletes snapshots older than six months.

AWS OpsWorks

If you use AWS OpsWorks to create AWS resources, you must make sure that you also use OpsWorks to terminate those resources. If not, the OpsWorks auto-healing feature will restart them automatically, and you’ll continue to be charged. For example, if you use AWS OpsWorks to create an Amazon EC2 instance, but then terminate it by using the Amazon EC2 console, the AWS OpsWorks auto-healing feature categorizes the instance as failed and restarts it.

Amazon CloudWatch

As an organization’s team begins to scale cloud usage, it becomes very common to exceed limits for custom metrics, alarms, dashboards, and API calls, all of which can drive up costs rapidly and unexpectedly. Amazon CloudWatch is a tool for AWS users to monitor resources and track spending. Unfortunately, it lacks granular visibility over resources. OpsLyft provides a management and monitoring service that provides data and actionable insights for AWS on-premises applications and infrastructure resources.

Data requests, transfers, and retrievals

While infrequently accessed storage tiers can save you money on storage, retrieving and accessing data can quickly surge up costs. The cost of data requests, transfers, and retrievals is often overlooked. DevOps engineers while optimizing cloud spending on AWS, find it time-consuming and hard to reduce data transfer costs. This is due to the inadequate and distributed visibility of the source & destination of the resources or services that are exchanging data in the form of traffic within or outside the cloud environment.
DevOps engineers currently use cloud-native tools which at the max, provide information about the infrastructure API operations that are causing data transfer costs, but no information about the traffic between the resources or services that invoke those API operations. This results in constant surges in the overall cloud costs as DevOps engineers are unable to effectively root cause the issues and activities leading to high data transfer costs.

OpsLyft’s Platform

Provides DevOps Engineers visibility around the source & destination regions/resources/IP addresses of Data Transfer taking place.

Gives DevOps Engineers cost associated with the individual data transfers between resources/regions/IP addresses or even direct outbound/direct inbound traffic.

Provides cost-saving opportunities on the data transfer taking place and thus helps in improving the architecture

Expiring or underutilized Reserved Instances and Savings Plans

Reserved Instances and Savings Plans can lead to significant savings on your cloud account, but if you don’t use, monitor, or leverage them appropriately, you could end up with unexpected and unwelcome charges on your bill. To guarantee that you’re optimizing your Savings Plans or Reserved Instance purchases, make sure you can track and assess benefits, identify waste, and allocate savings.

Elastic IP and Carrier IP addresses

If you assign more than one Elastic IP to the same instance, if the instance is stopped or terminated, the IP address is disconnected from the network interface, or the IP address is re-mapped more than 100 times per month, you’ll start to incur charges. If you have any disassociated Elastic IPs or Carrier IPs in your AWS account, make sure to either reassociate them to an instance or delete them entirely to avoid overspending.

Inefficient auto-scaling groups

People make the mistake of believing that auto-scaling groups will take care of everything. In theory, AWS Auto Scaling enables you to maintain steady, predictable performance at the lowest possible cost. In reality, it’s rarely that simple. When setting auto-scaling groups, it’s usual for teams to take shortcuts that result in bigger capacity-to-demand ratios and, as a result, unnecessarily higher expenses. To effectively detect and optimize inefficient or wasteful configurations, it’s critical to have access to granular metrics concerning the initial configuration and ongoing usage of auto-scaling groups.

Shadow IT activity

When users, teams, or departments deploy resources or adopt new processes without formal authorization, this is known as shadow IT. Shadow IT charges are likely to contribute to your AWS bill unless you have complete visibility throughout your environment and have put in place procedures to prohibit the use of unapproved services.

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