It's easy to waste money in the cloud. In such a dynamic and flexible environment, keeping track of all the things that contribute to wastage is hard. 

The Stax Wastage Report makes that easier, giving you resource level visibility and recommendations of how to save wasted AWS spend. 

You might be overprovisioning instances, using expensive storage options unnecessarily, or just paying for infrastructure that’s not being used. Whichever the reasons, we’ve found that most organisations are wasting between 10-35% of their AWS spend, without even knowing it. 

With the Stax Wastage Report, you can:

  • See your wastage as a % of AWS spend;
  • Track your wastage over time; 
  • See which items contribute most to your wastage amount;
  • Understand how much is actually recoverable; 
  • Access a detailed report of individual resources that are contributing to wasted spend, so you can put a plan in place to recover it.

It's worth noting that you can view daily or monthly wastage as well as historical wastage. Looking at previous months spend and usage can give you a holistic picture of wastage over time. 

Interpreting your Wastage Report

Quick wins & no brainers

ELBs: Unattached

When terminating EC2 Instances, it's easy to forget that you need to also terminate the attached Elastic Load Balancers, otherwise the ELB will remain unattached and you'll continue to be charged for it. 

Interpreting the Wastage Report:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the Unused Infrastructure tab, if there are ELBs delete them to achieve the savings specified. Learn how to delete an ELB.

Elastic IPs: Unattached

Elastic IP addresses in AWS are free if the following conditions are met: 

  • The Elastic IP address is associated with an EC2 instance.
  • The instance associated with the Elastic IP address is running.
  • The instance has only one Elastic IP address attached to it.

If an Elastic IP address is no longer attached to anything - an instance, or a network interface, you will be charged for it. Releasing or disassociating the Elastic IP will stop those charges. Learn more about working with Elastic IPs

Interpreting the Wastage Report:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the Unused Infrastructure tab, if there are Elastic IP addresses with entries in the Wastage column, you should release them to achieve the savings specified. 

EBS: Unattached Volumes

Often, when EC2 instances have been stopped, the EBS volumes that were attached to the instance are forgotten. EBS volumes attached to instances continue to retain information and accrue charges, even when the instance is stopped. 

Learn more here about how EBS charges for stopped instances work in AWS.

Interpreting the Wastage Report:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the EBS Volumes tab, Volumes that have the state 'available' should be deleted. 

EBS: Old Snapshots

One of the biggest gotchas for organisations in AWS. Keeping backups is important, and using EBS Snapshots to do that is a good practise to implement. 

However, the cost of storing snapshots adds up. If you're taking snapshots regularly, the new ones will outdate the old. Generally, you don't need to keep every snapshot that you've taken forever - especially for non-production environments.
Stax recommends that you keep snapshots for a maximum of 30 days. The cost of storing any snapshots older than 30 days is deemed to be wasted spend. 

Interpreting the Wastage Report:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the EBS Snapshots tab, Stax recommends that all snapshots with a 'Created' date older than 30 days ago should be deleted. Learn more about deleting EBS snapshots.

Slightly more effort - these recommendations are a bit harder to implement, but can yield significant savings

Obsolete Instance Types

AWS often upgrades their instance families, bringing out new types that are cheaper and better. If you're still running 'Previous Generation' instances, there's money to be saved by re-provisioning your instances in the new type.
Stax looks at Previous Generation instances that you've got running, and calculates the wastage amount based on the difference between the cost of the new and improved instance type, and the old one. 

Interpreting the Wastage Report - EC2: Obsolete Instance Types:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the EC2 tab, Stax lists all EC2 Instances. If there are entries for Instances in the 'Modern Instance Type' column, Stax recommends that you change that instance to to the modern type, to achieve the savings outlined in the 'Estimated Modern Wastage' column.  

Interpreting the Wastage Report - RDS: Obsolete Instance Types:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the RDS tab, Stax lists all RDS Instances. If there are entries for Instances in the 'Newer Instance Type' column, Stax recommends that you change that instance to to the newer type, to achieve the savings outlined in the 'Obsolete Wastage' column. 

Underutilised Instances

A common issue in AWS - where capacity in either EC2 or RDS is overprovisioned. Often you may think you need a larger instance size, but when the instance is actually running, it doesn't properly utilise it's available capacity. Downgrading, or 'rightsizing' to smaller instance sizes can save a significant amount of AWS spend. 

Rightsizing is a bit of art and science, and before you start changing instance sizes, you'll need to be sure that the new instance type / size is right for the needs of the instance. 

EC2: Underutilised Instances

For EC2, Stax analyses utilisation of compute capacity, and memory if available from CloudWatch. It uses the p95 based on maximum utilisation, and recommends that you rightsize to a smaller instance size, when the overall utilisation of an instance is lower than 30%. 

Interpreting the Wastage Report:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the EC2 tab, Stax lists all EC2 instances. If there are entries in the column labelled 'Smaller  Instance Type', Stax has recommended that you change to the instance type specified. 

RDS: Underutilised Instances

For RDS, Stax analyses utilisation of compute, memory, IOPs and disk. It uses the p95 based on maximum utilisation, and recommends that you rightsize to a smaller instance size, when the overall utilisation of an instance is lower than 30%. 

Interpreting the Wastage Report:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the RDS tab, Stax lists all RDS instances. If there are entries in the column labelled 'Smaller Type' for an instance, Stax has recommended that you change to the instance type specified.

RDS: Unnecessary Multi-AZ

Using Multiple Availability Zones is recommended to provide additional redundancy. However, it is costly as your cost increases 100% for each availability zone that's used. In non-production enviornments, where redundancy is less of a concern, the extra cost is not always justified. 

Stax does a rudimentary check of the Instance name and Account name to determine if the instance is for non-production purposes, and deems the use of additional AZs to be wastage.  

Interpreting the Wastage Report:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the RDS tab, Stax lists all RDS instances. For instances with entries on the 'Multi-AZ Wastage' column, Stax recommends moving those instances to a Single AZ. 

RDS: Using Non-Standard Storage

For RDS instances that are in non-production accounts, paying for high availability storage isn't always necessary, and there are cheaper options. Stax does a rudimentary check of the Instance name and Account name to determine if the instance is for non-production purposes. 

Interpreting the Wastage Report:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the RDS tab, Stax lists all RDS instances. If there are entries in the 'Non Standard Storage' column, Stax recommends that you move those instances to use Magnetic storage. Learn more about RDS storage

RDS: Overprovisioned Storage

Sometimes RDS instances are provisioned with large amounts of storage that doesn't end up getting used.  Stax analyses the storage utilisation of each RDS instance, to determine if the amount of storage can be safely reduced to save cost. 

Interpreting the Wastage Report:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the RDS tab, if there are entries for instances in the Smaller Storage Columns (columns AK-AM), Stax has recommended that you change to the storage size in the 'Smaller Storage' column to achieve the savings outlined in the 'Storage Wastage' column.  

RDS: Overprovisioned IOPS

Similarly, RDS instances can have too much IOPS capacity provisioned. Stax analyses the utilisation of IOPs to determine if the amount of IOPs capacity can be safely reduced to save cost.

Interpreting the Wastage Report:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the RDS tab,  if there are entries in the "IOPs Wastage" column, Stax recommends that you halve the amount of IOPs capacity provisioned for those instances.


S3: Using Standard Storage

S3 has two classes of storage for buckets / objects that need to be accessed.  If objects in S3 are not being accessed frequently, moving them from Amazon S3 Standard to Infrequent Access can reduce the cost of S3 storage. 

Stax analyses how often objects stored in S3 are being accessed, and recommends moving objects to Infrequent access, based on the volume being stored in the bucket, and how often the objects are being accessed. 

Interpreting the Wastage Report:
In the detailed Wastage Report, on the S3 tab, Stax lists all S3 buckets. If there are entries in the IA, Savings and Wastage columns (Columns N-S) for a bucket, Stax has recommended that you move that bucket to Infrequent Access to achieve the cost savings outlined.  

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