Reduce Costs by Taking Advantage of Amazon’s gp3 EBS Volumes With Cloudability Rightsizing

There are a number of unique characteristics of Amazon’s EBS volumes that mean large actionable savings are typically available with the right insights. The launch of the gp3 volume type in late 2020 further increased the opportunity for cost savings, particularly for workloads requiring higher performance baselines. In fact, the gp3 volume type is now the most recommended option by Cloudability EBS rightsizing and is helping many of our customers improve their cost efficiency.

EBS volumes – significant cost saving opportunities with the right insights

Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes are incredibly popular cloud resources provided by AWS that are typically used to back EC2 instances. In fact, across our customer base, EBS volume charges comprise on average 11% of AWS bills. The good news is that there are some notable characteristics of EBS volumes which typically mean significant savings are achievable on this big section of cloud spend. Let’s quickly review some of these before diving into gp3

  • A really handy characteristic of EBS is that the performance settings and type of volume can be adjusted without taking it offline or impacting their connected EC2 instance, i.e. It can be done dynamically. This makes it easier to change volume types and take advantage of gp3 pricing.
  • When analyzing opportunities to optimize each volume there are only two resource utilization metrics, throughput, and IOPS, that need considering and both can always be sourced via AWS CloudWatch. This leads to higher confidence levels when compared to some other services where key metrics can be difficult to obtain.
  • Over time idle EBS volumes tend to accumulate – either because they become unattached or the EC2 instance they are attached to is stopped. Either way, these EBS volumes continue to rack up charges. Providing visibility into these unnecessary charges is a quick path to realizing savings.

Why the gp3 volume type?

In late 2020 AWS launched this new general-purpose volume type. Like the gp2 volume that preceded it, the gp3 is a solid-state drive (SSD) well suited to high transaction workloads. Advantageous pricing and new configuration options mean that two of the most recommended paths within EBS rightsizing now lead to the gp3 volume.

EBS gp2 vs gp3

Moving from gp2 to gp3 is easily the most common path we see for EBS rightsizing, incredibly accounting for 74 % of these recommendations. Aside from the sheer popularity of gp2, there are two key reasons for this. The first driver is that the storage rates themselves are usually 20% cheaper for gp3. For example, in US East (N. Virginia) storage costs are $0.10 per GB-month for gp2 but only $0.08 for gp3. The second driver relates to how you pay for throughput and IO performance. With gp2 to get a desired performance, you were required to size each disk accordingly, getting 3 IOPS for every provisioned GB of storage (a 2000 GB disk has a 6000 IOPS baseline performance). gp3 has a major advantage in being able to scale this performance independently of disk size – this being at least 6 times more cost effective when boosting performance.

Figure 1: rightsizing a gp2 EBS volume to realize 20% in cost savings with gp3

In the example above Cloudability rightsizing is recommending moving from gp2 to gp3 and setting the gp3 attributes, throughput and IOPS, to meet the needs of the underlying workload and save 20%. Further savings could possibly be realized by reducing the disk size itself although this would require visibility into unused capacity.

EBS io1 vs gp3

This is the most common path away from a Provisioned IOPS volume and it’s where we see some of the largest percentage savings. io1 is the original “Provisioned IOPS” volume type, allowing engineers to specify a required IOPS rate for IO intensive workloads. Part of the reason for the large savings percentage is the bigger delta in prices - looking again at the US East (N. Virginia) region storage is 36% cheaper with gp3 (and IOPS is many times cheaper). Another major reason for the large savings opportunity is that we often see io1 volumes severely overprovisioned from an IOPS perspective. Moving to gp3 and setting IOPs to a sensible level regularly results in savings above 90%.

“EBS volume usage makes up an oversized portion of our AWS bill at Apptio. We leverage Cloudability internally for insights into our hourly usage and getting clear options to optimize each volume’s type and configuration that will result in meaningful cost savings. A good example is the additional flexibility offered by the new gp3 volumes, providing new opportunities for us to reduce costs particularly on workloads requiring high performance baselines.” – Rhommel Lamas, Head of SRE, Apptio.

Cloudability is here to help you optimize your EBS usage

It’s exciting to see AWS innovate on its EBS offerings and we’ll continue to evolve our platform to bring relevant insights to our customers. As well as maximizing the benefits of the gp3 volume type there is full support for the next generation io2 volume within Cloudability rightsizing. Already an Apptio customer and looking to take EBS rightsizing to the next level? Why not create a rightsizing policy to automate the creation of tickets specifically for EBS?

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