Madison Yeazel - February 07, 2018

Build a Battlestation Fit for a Reserved Instance Champion

Strategic RI planning and utilization can have a huge impact on your AWS costs. Learn how having a well-equipped RI Champion ensures that your RIs are being used effectively and that your cloud operates in a cost-efficient manner.

With the complexities of any cloud service provider, delivering the right data to the right stakeholders  is critical to operating successfully. Engineering leads need the right analytics to oversee performance and error logs. Operations needs the right cloud utilization data to know there are no hiccups in performance.

Newer to the mix are the Reserved Instance (RI) Champions – part-tech, part-finance experts that monitor how effectively the technology side of the business is utilizing the cloud and leveraging the different types of discounts that it can provide.

The RI Champion needs more than access to a cloud optimization platform. She needs a bespoke dashboard that allows her to easily understand how her technology teams are utilizing cloud efficiently and what reservations are being used, down to the second.

Primary KPIs: Monitor Reserved Instance Coverage and Waste

The first job of the RI Champion is to ensure that the technology teams are using as much of the cloud reservations possible. In the case of AWS Reserved Instances, we’ve seen RI Champions at Atlassian utilize as much as 90 percent or more of their reserved hours!

Even as cloud infrastructure shifts and grows, the RI Champion needs to know where coverage dips in order to make the right modifications to keep coverage high. Here’s an example dashboard that provides visibility into these types of KPIs. We’ll go over each widget to explain how each one can help your RI Champion.

How Well Are You Utilizing Reserved Hours?

We’ve discussed the effectiveness of this widget before as the go-to reference point for Reserved Instance coverage. This widget indicates how many of your usage hours are on-demand versus reserved, what overall portion of your infrastructure is covered by Reserved Instances and whether that coverage is trending up or down. This is the kind of trending that an RI Champion can use to begin investigating whether any RI modifications or cloud resource rightsizing needs to be made or not.

Break Down Reserved Coverage Rate by Instance Type

Use this widget to investigate which instance types have the highest and the lowest coverage, making it easy to identify coverage dips. Cross-referencing coverage dips with your recently-expired reservations can reveal if you need to buy new reservations, or modify existing ones that don’t fit the current infrastructure (it happens when your cloud is constantly shifting!).

Identify Instance Types with Low Coverage Rates

You can identify some of the biggest opportunities for increasing Reserved Instance coverage by reviewing instance types that have a reserved rate of less than 25%. An immediate fix is to review whether immediate modifications can help cover some of this on-demand spending. The next step is to plan some new Reserved Instance purchases to cover this usage with a reduced rate.

Know What RIs Are Going Unused

This bar chart is a great, high-level way to review whether your infrastructure is wasting reservations. Any unused reservations will sit idly by as a sunk cost. Drill into any spikes in Unused Reservation Costs to find out what type and family is being unused and take appropriate action to modify or convert (e.g. with certain AWS reservations) to better fit your infrastructure.

View Unused RI Hours That Are Recurring

If you want to drill down a bit, you can use this widget to review how many unused RI hours remain (and at what they are costing you/how frequently this cost is recurring).

View Recurring RI Costs by Their Instance Type

Using this widget alongside the previous two lets you review unused RI hours by instance family. When you see a spike in recurring RI costs, it’s a sign to investigate a bit further to determine why these costs are so high. Reviewing utilization of these resources can help assure that the reservation and its related service is being fully utilized.

See Your Reserved Instance Hours by Region

Equip Your RI Champions to Do Their Best

Strategic RI planning and utilization can have a huge impact on your AWS costs. A well-equipped RI Champion ensures that RIs are being used effectively and that your cloud operates in a cost-efficient manner.

These widgets and dashboard can be built quickly in this default setup, or they can be set up however  your RI Champion wants to slice and dice cloud reservations and utilization. Get in touch with our experts today to learn more. If you have a budding RI Champion in your midst and they want to try this kind of cloud cost management on their own, show them our Free Trial.

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