Blog   |   Cost Management   |   November 23, 2015

Unused and Idle Resources in AWS

Last time we talked about purchasing new Reserved Instances, so today we will talk about the resources you already have.
When you purchase resources like EC2, DynamoDB, RDS, ElastiCache and Redshift from Amazon Web Services you are renting a tiny bit of their gigantic system. Your CPU and network usage may only be a tablespoon of water in their ocean, but to you every droplet counts.



Insight into your usage will empower you to identify where you can reduce leakage, save those droplets, and improve your bottom line.

CloudCheckr helps by giving you visibility into your environment and identifying savings opportunities. In the Best Practices section of the app, the Cost tab is your go to resource for analyzing your deployment. If you are like over 90% of AWS users, you have at least a few resources that can be described as underutilized or idle.


Underutilized resources

AWS allows users to purchase resources in multiple sizes. Users often default to large sizes because the correct size is not always obvious and/or they fall prey to the old datacenter habit of purchasing the largest server the budget allows. This results in many users having excess capacity – and remember, AWS charges you for the capacity whether you use it or not. In simplest terms, if you purchase a certain chunk of the cloud, you are going to want to know if you’re only using 5-10% of your purchase because if you are, you could downsize and cut your bill!


Idle resources

Idle resources are even worse than underutilized ones. These are the resources that a user created, stopped using after a while, and then forgot to turn off. AWS continues to charge you for these. After all, you did provision them and AWS can’t tell when you might start using them. Think of having idle resource as like leaving your car running in your driveway the entire night – and then wondering why you are spending so much money on gas!

The Best Practices report color and symbol codes makes it painless for you quickly identify both idle and underutilized resources. Clicking on each item drills down into further detail so that you instantly have all the information at your fingertips. In addition, a 30-day trend graph is provided to show how long a resource has been idle or underutilized.

CloudCheckr EC2 Cost Utilization and EC2 Cost Warnings reports provide further detail on how effectively you are using your allotted AWS server space. The Cost Utilization report, which can be customized by date range, lists peaks and valleys in CPU utilization and network that has occurred over user-defined time periods as well as amount of money wasted per resource for that time span. This utilization report is one of the simplest shortcuts to identifying over-sized instances and spending money more efficiently. The Cost Warnings report does the same for idle resources. It reports everything that is orphaned: unattached EBS volumes, unused AMI, idle ELB, etc. You can use this as a weekly clean-up list and probably reduce your AWS bills by 10% right away!


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