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5 Calculators to Help You Figure Out AWS Pricing

Recent research by Synergy Research Group shows that Amazon Web Services (AWS) still dominates the cloud infrastructure services market with a 33 percent share. Popular AWS services include:
  • Amazon S3—a PaaS offering that provides object storage through web services interfaces such as REST.
  • Amazon EC2—an IaaS service that provides scalable computing capacity in the form of virtual machines in the AWS cloud that users can rent and run their own workloads and applications on.
  • Amazon VPC—a hosted private cloud service that gives users access via a private network connection to their own logically isolated section of the AWS cloud.
AWS has made cloud computing more accessible for companies of all sizes, from startups right through to enterprises. However, confusion over AWS costs remains a significant challenge to overcome, particularly for startups, for whom venturing into the cloud represents a significant risk.
This post reviews five helpful calculators you can use to more precisely estimate your AWS storage and computing costs. But first, a word on why AWS pricing can be hard to estimate and keep track of.

AWS Pricing Challenges

Part of the difficulty of assessing AWS pricing comes from the different cost structures used for different services, and even within services. To get an idea of AWS pricing complexity, consider the following pricing options for a single VM instance:
  • On-demand usage pricing
  • Reserved instance pricing where you pay everything up front for one year of use or three years of use
  • Reserved instance pricing where you pay partially upfront for one year use or three years use
The below image helps you visualize how difficult it can be to figure out what you would pay just for this single instance alone. Compounded over multiple different AWS services, and factoring in hidden costs such as over-provisioning of resources, non-optimal choice of storage tiers, and data egress fees, and it’s easy to see why estimating and managing AWS pricing is such a challenge.
Furthermore, it is difficult to know how the estimated costs of AWS compare to running your apps and storing data on-premises, and how the costs compare with other cloud service vendors without some kind of calculator.


Image Source

5 Helpful Calculators

AWS Simple Monthly Calculator

Amazon provides its own AWS monthly calculator, which uses a range of inputs, including region, data transfers in and out, number of EC2 instances, storage volumes, chosen billing methods, and load balancing.
The calculator gives you an exportable CSV file with a breakdown of your estimated monthly bill. The monthly breakdown features expandable lines showing the cost breakdown for each subset of distinct AWS services. By switching tabs, you can alter between cost calculations for different AWS services, such as EC2, S3, and Redshift.

NetApp AWS Calculator

NetApp’s OnTap Cloud service integrates with AWS, and it claims to reduce your storage consumption on AWS services like Elastic Block Storage (EBS) and Elastic File Storage (EFS) with data deduplication, compression, and thin provisioning efficiency features.
NetApp’s AWS calculator compares the cost of OnTap cloud per month to AWS-native monthly costs, and it highlights possible savings against AWS EBS and AWS EFS, both of which are storage solutions.
In the calculator, you can specify AWS instance types, whether the configuration is for high availability, and whether you want to tier OnTap cloud your data for disaster recovery purposes to Amazon S3 for lower costs.
This calculator is helpful because it gives you an idea of the inefficiency of relying on native-AWS deployments for storage without any sort of optimization.

Unigma Public Cloud Cost Comparison

Sometimes what you need is not an AWS-specific calculator, but rather an estimate of monthly costs across different public cloud vendors, based on inputs specific to your required workloads.
Unigma’s calculator lets you specify the number of instances (virtual machines) you need, your OS of choice, number of CPU cores, whether you want shared or burstable CPUs, storage requirements, closest datacenter region, and how many hours you need the instances to run per week.
The final estimate compares costs between AWS, Google, and Azure clouds. You can customize the timeframe to view costs over specific periods, such as per day, week month, year, and three years.

CostStorage

This simple and intuitive calculator estimates the monthly cost of storing your data on S3, Azure, Google Cloud, and more, so you can choose a service that aligns with your budget.
You can input values such as storage amount, data transfer out, read requests, write requests, region, how often you need to access data, and which providers to include in the comparison.

AWS Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator

AWS provides its own total cost of ownership calculator that compares the cost of running your applications in an on-premises or colocation environment to AWS. You can choose between basic and advanced options to specify your existing or hypothetical on-premise/colocation configuration.
Basic input options for this calculator include region, currency, physical or virtual servers, workload type, and storage needs. Switching to advanced lets you include more technical information, such as server utilization percentages and data center bandwidth.
This calculator is excellent for clarifying the costs of running apps on-premise/in a colocation versus on the AWS cloud. For less technical use cases, such as simple data storage and archiving, the calculator is not so helpful.

Wrap Up

Using a calculator gives you excellent visibility over AWS costs and can help save you money. Additional best practices, including cleaning up unused storage, choosing the right region, and shutting down idle instances can also help with cloud cost management. Don’t add your company’s money to the $10 billion in wasted cloud spend across the main cloud providers.