EBS-Optimized Instances: A Guide to Cut Costs and Maintain Performance

5 Min read

A recent study of over 100 enterprises found more than 15% of AWS cloud bills comes from Elastic Block Store (EBS). But what can you do to cut those costs without impacting performance?

The key is to select EBS-optimized instances. With the right combination of EBS-optimized instances and EBS volumes, companies consistently maintain at least 90% of their expected IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) performance and a remarkable 99.9% reliability – all while reducing their overall cloud spend. 

How One AI-Driven Media Platform Cut EBS Costs for AWS ASGs by 48%

How One AI-Driven Media Platform Cut EBS Costs for AWS ASGs by 48%

This article explores the best ways to achieve this goal – and reveals a pair of solutions selected by GlobalDots as amongst the most powerful EBS-optimization tools.  


What is an Elastic Block Store (EBS)?

Most Amazon Web Service (AWS) users will be familiar with Elastic Block Store (EBS): it is one of two block-level storage options within the ecosystem, used to store Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances – even when the instances themselves are shut down. 

Put simply then, EBS is like a virtual harddrive, enabling companies to secure vital data and protect its integrity across every stage of an instance’s lifecycle. There are a range of EBS volume types – from General Purpose (SSD) to Throughput Optimized (HDD) – and volumes can be attached or detached at will

What are EBS-Optimized Instances?

EBS-optimized instances are a form of EC2 instance that deliver dedicated bandwidth to Amazon EBS. They utilize a separate network connection from other volumes that is designed exclusively for communication between the EC2 instance and its associated EBS. 

This offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Enhanced performance: Using an exclusive network avoids contention between EBS and other traffic from the instance.
  • Greater scalability: The increased reliability and low latency produced by EBS-optimized instances helps maintain I/O performance during scaling events.
  • Better resource utilization: EBS-optimized instances provide dedicated capacity of EBS – ultimately ensuring you get the maximum usage from the resources you pay for.

Ultimately, EBS-optimized instances are ideal for applications that require quickie, consistent and reliable I/O performance. This makes them perfect for a range of uses – from transactional systems and big data analysis to content management systems (CMS) and eCommerce platforms.

2: How to Avoid Overprovision EBS-Optimized Instances

Why is overprovisioning a problem?

No company wants to pay for unused resources. But given the performance requirements of many of the use-cases mentioned above, it is common for companies to overprovision EBS instances – either storing data that doesn’t need to be permanent or simply underutilizing their available instances. . 

This leads to two problems: pointless expenses that eat into your IT budget and low utilization rates that can harm performance.

What should you do?

Monitor and adjust your EBS instances to determine what your application actually requires. This can be done by your DevOps team through manual exploration or manual monitoring tools, but the former is difficult and time-consuming and the latter is difficult and expensive. These problems are only exacerbated as your storage environment gets more intricate – making it an unsustainable approach for most companies. 

A better option is sourcing an automated solution to locate overprovisioned resources – and our experts have explored a range of products to find the best solution on the market. The solution GlobalDots has sourced is a simple, ready-to-use Storage Audit tool that offers:

  • Automated analysis: helping you make sense of your disk usage, locate inefficiencies and optimize costs.
  • Bottleneck resolution: enabling you to automatically locate and remove performance bottlenecks to financial waste while reducing downtime. 
  • Storage optimization: empowering you to find and resolve inefficiencies overprovision has caused – and ultimately implement the most cost-effective approach.
  • Data collection: integrating seamlessly with AWS internal services to gather all the storage metadata required.
  • Data security: ensuring the tool never has access to users’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII).

Better still, it is entirely non-intrusive: your operations will not be impacted during the auditing process – making it a no-brainer to implement at any time.

3: How to Adjust EBS-Optimized Instances

Why is EBS volume adjustment challenging?

AWS storage resources can be expanded with ease, but shrinking them is much harder. It can be done manually, but this generally produces errors and misconfigurations – not to mention demanding a huge lift from your DevOps team. Manual shrinkage also often requires you to stop instances or create a new volume, which can have a very negative impact on performance.

As a result, many companies actively overprovision instances to guarantee applications won’t experience downtime. But as discussed above, this is far from an optimal solution.

What is a better approach?

The ideal solution is to find an automated solution enabling seamless expansion and shrinkage of EBS volumes. Our team has invested heavily in searching for the right solution to achieve this – and we recently found it.

The solution selected by GlobalDots’ experts is an autonomous storage orchestration tool that empowers you to:

  • Adjust provision to your evolving storage needs and ensure ideal capacity without excessive work from DevOps.
  • Expand and reduce storage resource with ease
  • Guarantee your system performs exactly as it needs to, with an Auto-Scaler that adapts to your changing storage requirement

Ultimately, our experts determined this to be the best-in-class solution for efficient storage resource management. It delivers:

  • Automated block storage scaling: it ensures uninterrupted availability by adjusting to changing demand patterns in real-time.
  • Huge cost savings: by more than doubling disk utilization (35% to 80%) can cut costs by as much as 70%.
  • ROI calculations: the intuitive ROI calculator helps you estimate potential savings simply by inputting disk spend, growth rate and instance utilization. 
  • Seamless performance: with automatic resource adjustment, the solution eliminates downtime and ensures configuration changes don’t negatively impact performance.
  • Custom policy configuration: you can tailor the auto-scaler to your specific requirements by specifying details like desired utilizations or maximum disk size.

The result? Maximum performance with minimum costs – all thanks to a single solution sourced by GlobalDots.

Deliver True Cloud Efficiency with the Help of GlobalDots

We’ve established that EBS-optimized instances unlocks improved performance, scalability, and efficiency. But most organizations still need a strategic partner to help them select the right solutions to audit, manage and optimize their EBS instances.

GlobalDots has curated a powerful range of tools from innovative vendors to help you identify unused resources and bring efficiency and control to your cloud spending. Want to learn more about our experts’ chosen solutions?

Book a Demo Today

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