Cost Analysis

AWS EBS - A cost analysis

Public Clouds have transformed the way businesses deploy and manage their applications. Public Cloud vendors such as AWS, Microsoft and Google have done a phenomenal job in facilitating and accelerating cloud adoption. Increasing number of business are moving their on-demand workloads and line of business applications to Public Clouds, resulting in cost savings, better ROI and even security.

With the new pay as you use model, cost management has become a challenge for customers. Despite the potential cost savings achievable by moving to public clouds, it is a typical customer experience that an incorrectly managed public cloud deployment costs more than on premise or COLO deployment. It is said that typical data center asset allocation is 10% to 20% of available capacity, a trend that customers continue to adopt in public clouds! Unmanaged public cloud deployments could result in significant waste in IT costs. This paper analyzes the costs associated with AWS EBS resources and typical cost savings that can be achieved using right software solutions.

As you might know AWS charges for EBS based on provisioned capacity, and rightfully so, because AWS needs to ensure that provisioned capacity or performance is guaranteed. This is true for both capacity provisioned (Magnetic, GP2, Cold HDD – SC1) and performance provisioned (Provisioned IOPS (IO1), Throughput optimized (ST1)) storage volumes. For e.g. one might provision and attach 1TB storage to an instance, and store only 100GB of data on it, and still pay for 1TB capacity. One might provision a 10,000 IOPS PIOPS volume and use only 1000 IOPS and will still pay for 10,000 IOPS.

Following table from AWS shows various EBS options, performance capabilities and costs.

Solid State Drive (SSD) Hard Disk Drive (HDD)
Volume Type Provisioned IOPS SSD (io1) General Purpose SSD (gp2) Throughput Optimized HDD (st1) Cold HDD (sc1)
Use Cases I/O intensive NoSQL and relational databases. Boot volumes, low-latency interactive applications, dev, test. Big data, data warehouses, log processing. Colder data requiring fewer scans per day.
Volume Size 4 GB – 16 TB 1 GB – 16 TB 500 GB – 16 TB 500 GB – 16 TB
Max IOPS/Volume 20,000
(16 KB I/O size)
(16 KB I/O size)
(1 MB I/O size)
(1 MB I/O size)
Max IOPS/Instance(using multiple volumes) 48,000 48,000 48,000 48,000
Max Throughput/Volume 320 MB/s 160 MB/s 500 MB/s 250 MB/s
Max Throughput/Instance 800 MB/s 800 MB/s 800 MB/s 800 MB/s
Price $0.125/GB-month + $.065/provisioned IOPS/month $0.100/GB-month $.045/GB-month $.025/GB-month
Dominant Performance Attribute IOPS IOPS MB/s MB/s

Cost per PB/Year for GP2 (General Purpose SSD), ST1 (Throughput Optimized HDD) and SC1 (Cold HDD) storage are below.


Provisioned IOPS is more expensive ($0.125 GB-month + 0.065 IOPS-month) as can be seen in the chart below. A 50TB provisioned IOPS volume with 10,000 IOPS capability would cost $466,800 yearly!

Potential Cost Savings

As mentioned earlier, most customers over-provision their storage capacity by a huge factor. It is very common to see unused capacity in the order of 50% or more. The chart below shows possible cost savings using FittedCloud software for a PB of GP2, ST1 and SC1 per year for 50% utilization and 60% utilization.


Following graph shows potential cost savings per year for Provisioned IOPS SSD volumes of 5000, 10000, 20000 and 3000 IOPS capabilities (50TB).

As one can see significant cost savings can be achieved if application utilization is matched with provisioning. FittedCloud EBS Optimizer is designed to do just that! Completely transparent and automatic EBS Management, to potentially slash your AWS bills significantly.

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