7 Best Practices for Cost-Efficient Workloads on AWS

Discover key strategies for cost-efficient AWS workloads with StratusGrid. Learn best practices to optimize performance and reduce expenses.

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Moving key IT functions to the cloud has immediate benefits—no further need for your own physical servers or server space being chief among them. But the cloud also offers ongoing ways to save in the form of cloud cost optimization.

In short, cloud cost optimization is the ability to run your systems to deliver the most business value at the lowest price.

For its customers, Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers seven best practices to reduce cloud costs.

What is AWS Cost Optimization?

AWS cost optimization means that you run your business applications and infrastructure in the cloud in the most efficient way, to keep costs as low as possible.

Discover how much you could save in the cloud with our exclusive calculator.

The Impact of Well-Architected Workloads on Cost Efficiency

We’re going to get into our practical advice on what you can do to cut AWS costs. Just before we do that, it’s important to emphasize that well-architected workloads are important for cost efficiency.

When you migrate to the cloud, it’s important to design your new environment to be cost efficient. If you think of it like a house, if your windows and doors aren’t isolated, your energy costs are going to rise. AWS infrastructure is the same, when it’s not well-designed, your spending increases.

StratusGrid has over a decade of experience in modernizing and stabilizing AWS cloud environments so they become more cost-effective, faster, and more efficient.

What Can I Do to Reduce AWS Costs? - 7 Best Practices

Let’s dive into our 7 best practices to cut your cloud costs.


1. Right-Size Your AWS Resources

Right sizing is the most effective way to control cloud costs. Think of it as only paying for what you’re using. Match instance types and size to your workload performance and capacity to achieve the lowest possible costs. Since resource needs always change, right sizing needs to be ongoing. Here are three ways to help:

  • Establish a right-sizing schedule for each team
  • Enforce tagging for all instances
  • Take full advantage of resource monitoring and analysis tools

AWS Cost Explorer generates right-sizing recommendations showing you optimization opportunities, estimated monthly savings, and estimated savings as a percentage.

2. Master AWS Pricing Models

AWS offers several pricing models depending on the product you choose. Choosing the plan that best fits your usage patterns helps optimize costs. Pricing options include:

  • On-demand instances: Ideal for users who prefer paying for compute or database capacity per hour or by the second, without any long-term commitments or upfront payments. It's important to note that while EC2 instances have a minimum billing increment of 60 seconds, MySQL and Postgres RDS database servers have a 10-minute minimum charge.
  • Savings plans: This flexible pricing model offers low prices in exchange for a commitment to a consistent amount of usage (measured in $/hour) for a one- or three-year term.
  • Spot instance: A pricing mechanism that lets you request spare computing capacity with no upfront commitment and at discounted hourly rate (up to 90 percent off the on-demand price).
  • Reservations: Get the ability to receive a greater discount (up to 75 percent) by paying for capacity ahead of time.

3. Eliminate Waste by Identifying and Removing Unused Resources

By using Cloud Watch and other AWS resources, you can identify unused resources and take the appropriate steps to reduce costs. After all, there’s no need to pay for what you’re not using.

Stratusphere™ also helps you to understand what resources aren’t being used efficiently to control your costs better with:

  • Pre-built dashboards with the data and context you need
  • Instantly see what actions you should focus on and prioritize your to-do list for more potential savings. 
  • Configure your benchmark targets and instantly gain valuable insights into AWS cloud usage

Start your free 30-day trial to control your costs more efficiently.

4. Optimize Storage

The beauty of cloud storage is that you can adjust on the fly and use what storage you need now and adjust for needed storage later. Doing so lets you reduce costs by eliminating over-provisioning and provides unlimited scale. AWS has several storage classes to choose from, including:

  • General-purpose storage of frequently accessed data
  • Intelligent tiering to automatically optimize costs for data with unknown or changing patterns
  • Infrequent access
  • One zone-infrequent access for long-lived but less frequently accessed data
  • Instant retrieval for archive data that needs immediate access
  • Flexible retrieval for archive data that does not require immediate access but needs flexibility to retrieve larges sets of data at no cost
  • Deep archive for long-term archive and digital preservation at the lowest costs in the cloud

5. Automate Cost Savings

Use tools like AWS Compute Optimizer. You will receive recommendations to optimize your Amazon EC2 instances, helping you identify suitable instance types, reduce underutilized resources, and enhance performance. All to help you realize cost savings and improve resource efficiency.


When managing multiple accounts, a more robust solution like Stratusphere™ can offer significant advantages. Stratusphere™ is designed to provide a comprehensive view across all your AWS accounts, delivering deeper insights and more actionable recommendations.

6. Build a Culture of Cost Awareness

With their movement to the cloud, many companies are forming FinOps (short for Financial Operations) teams to oversee cloud financial management. It’s the coming together of engineering, finance, product, and executive levels to design cost efficient cloud operations. All to reduce budget overruns and unnecessary cloud spending.

Similarly, AWS recommends forming a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) team to take responsibility for cost optimization. Key guiding principles for creating the team are:

  • The CCoE structure will evolve and change as the organization changes.
  • Treat the cloud as your product and application team leaders as the customers you are enabling.
  • Build company culture into everything you do.
  • Organizational change management is central to business transformation. Use intentional and targeted organizational change management to change company culture and norms.
  • Embrace a change-as-normal mindset. Changes in applications, IT systems, and business direction is expected.
  • Operating model decisions will determine how people fill roles that achieve business outcomes.

7. Utilize AWS Well-Architected Framework

Before you can realize savings through cloud cost optimization, you need to make sure that you’ve constructed a well-architected framework for your working cloud. AWS recommends building a framework on five pillars.

  • Operational excellence: the ability to support development and run workloads effectively, gain insight into their operations, and continuously improve supporting processes and procedures to deliver business value.
  • Security: the ability to protect data, systems, and assets to take advantage of cloud technologies to improve your security.
  • Reliability: the ability of a workload to perform its intended function correctly and consistently when called upon, thereby reducing if not eliminating any increased costs due to inefficiency. 
  • Performance efficiency: the ability to use computing resources efficiently—and cost-effectively— to meet system requirements, and to maintain that efficiency as demand changes and technologies evolve.
  • Cloud cost optimization: as we’ve seen, the ability to run your systems to deliver the most business value at the lowest price. One way to help improve your cost optimization efforts is by turning to advanced technology that complements AWS tools.

stratusphere by stratusgrid 2

Leverage Technology That Enhances Visibility and Control Over AWS Expenditures

Stratusphere™ FinOps from StratusGrid—a certified AWS partner—is the ultimate tool for your large enterprise or private equity firm to take control of your cloud spending. 

Grasp the intricacies of your multi-company landscape and pinpoint areas with the greatest potential savings. Optimize your AWS environments and get actionable insights. Stratusphere ranks recommendations based on the level of effort required to for you to capitalize on those savings, making sure you see returns and achieve value faster. 

With Stratusphere™ from StratusGrid you get:

  1. Rapid ROI and immediate time-to-value: Get immediate time to value with cloud solutions designed to deliver cost optimization results without delay. From efficient cost management to streamlined processes, our expertise ensures you reap the benefits right from the start. 
  2. Complete visibility into complex AWS environments: Confidently navigate your AWS infrastructure with unparalleled visibility into complex cloud environments with no impact on first-party data ownership. Eliminate blind spots and gain visibility into all cloud environments, enhancing trust, efficiency, and performance. 
  3. Actionable insights driving execution: Data-driven insights identify opportunities and potential pitfalls. Cutting-edge technology combines with premium service to give you exceptional insights and seamless execution in one comprehensive package.
  4.  Always ensure your cloud spending is optimized: Get the data-driven insights you need to make well-informed financial decisions for your organization. See a full breakdown of your cloud usage costs–down to the dollar–so you can understand trends and uncover opportunities to maximize your savings. 

See How Stratusphere™ Can Help You Optimize Your AWS Cloud Costs

Book a call for a free consultation on how Stratusphere FinOps can improve your bottom line.

BONUS: Find Out if Your Organization is Ready for The Cloud ⤵️


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