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Your 2017 End-of-year AWS Cost Efficiency Checklist

By Leslie McCollom on December 19, 2017
Check out our end-of-year cloud efficiency checklist of items you should check off to ensure you're setting yourself up for success in 2018!

Last year, we asked our Customer Success team for end-of-the-year AWS cost efficiency recommendations that they frequently make to customers on how to wrap up the year on a strong note. They gave us  a strategic list of steps you can take to ensure that you’ve dotted your Is and crossed your Ts when it comes to your AWS account before heading out for the holidays (without spinning up a huge bill while you’re gone).

Staying Up-to-Date

This year, we asked them to review these steps, see which of them are the same, and what might need to be updated to reflect the latest in AWS releases and billing constructs to still be useful for Cloudability customers and non-customers alike. Their take? All of our advice from last year still stands and can be used as evergreen best practices that will help ensure you’re running your cloud well, but they have a few new ones to add into the mix as well. So before we proceed, please review last year’s checklist (then read on to see the three new tips they added for this year!).

These recommendations are based on best practices we believe will be beneficial to any organization hoping to stay efficient in the cloud, no matter your business size or vertical.

So to review, the first steps in the list are:

1. Check for Expiring Reserved Instances

The end of the year is an ideal time to check for upcoming expiration dates. There are various types of Reserved Instances that come in one- and three-year terms. Check the expiration dates of all your Reserved Instances now and address ones that might need conversions or renewals during this quarter or early in the new year.

2. Report on All RIs Purchased During the Year

Use the end of the year as a time to start compiling reports such as a year-to-date (YTD) look at purchased RIs, and a YTD report of amortized RI fees by account (if your organization is GAAP-compliant).

3. Create an Optimization Plan for Next Year

No matter where you are in your cloud journey, having an optimization plan in place is essential. Even if you just take the first steps towards thinking about what this plan for next year could look like, you’ll be ahead of the game. We now have cloud financial experts on staff who are ready to help you create a custom cloud strategy to build financial agility in your organization.

Now, let’s move on to the new steps our Customer Success team laid out for this year:

4. Take a Look at Budgeting and Forecasting for 2018

The end of the year is typically when enterprise organizations will begin the process of forecasting and creating a budget for the following year. As cloud adoption becomes more mainstream in your company, both financial and technology stakeholders may want a concrete plan for 2018.

The main questions you will need to answer are:

“What is the projected cloud growth for 2018?”

“What are we projecting to spend on the cloud in 2018, based on historical cloud consumption plus growth?”

“How will we track our 2018 budget to ensure we are staying in-line with the forecast?”

In order to answer these questions, you will need to look at historical cloud data for 2017, analyze that information and apply a financial model for growth. Cloudability’s new budgets and forecasting feature is a quick and easy way to see this data all at once.

Our forecasting feature will allow you to create multiple models based on 3, 6 and 12 months of historical data, as well as a percentage of growth. We also allow you to create a budget directly within our app, and track your team’s cloud consumption against that for 2018.

Screenshot of Cloudability’s new Budgets and Forecasting feature.

If you’re interested in seeing the budgets and forecasting feature in action with your data, start a free trial of Cloudability today.

5. Line Up an Alert System Built out for 2018

While the end of the year is time for reflection and celebration, the start of the New Year is a time for innovation and product releases. If you are planning to hit the ground running in 2018, it is incredibly important to ensure you have a way to detect anomalies or incidents within your infrastructure as your teams start spinning up additional resources.

The best way to handle this is to leverage a tool like Cloudability’s anomaly detection, which uses 7 years of historical data and machine learning to recognize any change in your infrastructure on a day-by-day basis. You can also set spending thresholds to be emailed directly for anything over a certain dollar value.


A look at the Cloudability Anomaly Detection feature.

6. Start the Conversation in Your Organization About Building a Culture of Cost Management

This list is meant as a quick way to ensure you’re taking the right steps now, but we hope it will also give you some talking points to kick off broader discussions with your team about your cloud strategy and planning when you come back in the new year.

Note: The True Cost accuracy that a platform like Cloudability can unlock can provide some nice common ground for teams to start this conversation.  

We continually tell our customers that learning to operate on the cloud is like learning to flex a new muscle (one that your whole organization needs to learn about). Getting the right cost and usage data and RI reporting to the right people starts the right discussions, observations and insights that help organizations spend as efficiently as possible on AWS, and continue to get as much value out of AWS as possible as your business continues to grow.

Learn Even More

Interested in going even further into cloud best practices? Sign up to receive a free copy of our book that takes a deep dive into the strategies and steps required to migrate to the cloud efficiently, as well as how to run a lean, efficient cloud.

Want a partner in this process? Reach out today to find out how Cloudability’s RI experts work directly with each of our customers to ensure their success.

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