Cloudability logo
Choosing the Right EC2 Instances to Optimize Your Cloud
Cost Optimization

Introducing new Reserved Instance Planner features: RDS, Redshift, ElastiCache, and Convertible RI support

By Paul Biggs on December 6, 2016
We updated our AWS Reserved Instances planner to include RI recommendations for RDS, Redshift, and ElastiCache, and support for Convertible RIs. Strategic RI buys are one of the key ways to save money on AWS and we’re excited to step through each of the new features that we previewed at AWS re:Invent 2016.

We have many updates to our AWS Reserved Instances planner that include RI recommendations for RDS, Redshift, and ElastiCache, and support for Convertible RIs. Strategic RI buys are one of the key ways to save money on AWS and we’re excited to step through each of the new features that we previewed at AWS re:Invent 2016.

Building a smoother RI planning and buying process

One of the first things you’ll notice is we’ve refreshed the interface to improve the overall user experience. We believe it’s important to be able to easily tune RI recommendations to fit your needs. Front and center is a look at ROI: how much savings you can achieve based on an RI commitment.

As a quick recap, the planner analyzes past compute usage and picks the best combination of RIs to match future needs. The following screenshot shows a set of 1-year Standard RI purchases with some of the cost paid upfront:


These settings are accessible in the following option panel, or by clicking some of the values in the table. For example, a click on “us-east-1” will show a plan just for that region.


You can see there are many other options, including new support for Convertible RIs and regional RIs (more on that below). You can also play with the term length or change your target savings rate.

One super useful thing is the ability to jump quickly to see suggested RI modifications or a report of underutilized RIs. Both help you better fit your existing RIs to your current compute.


You can also switch between a master payer account or look at recommendations in a specific account.

Delivering support for RDS, Redshift, and ElastiCache RIs

If you’re new to reservations, one of the things AWS recommends is to start with your steady-state compute (EC2) and optimize from there. Cloud is an elastic environment, but there are some workloads that are inherently long-running, such as databases. So while RDS or Redshift might be a smaller percentage of your overall cloud spend, it’s still a candidate for long-term cost optimizations.

To see recommendations for other services, click on the tabs. You’ll see some of the columns are different per service. For example, OS and Tenancy aren’t relevant for RDS, but Product (e.g., Aurora) is.


Fundamentally, the same logic applies in terms of picking your account, regions, etc., and seeing savings based on commitments. AWS ElastiCache is a managed distributed cache service paid for on a per-node basis. Just like with EC2 instances, you can buy an RI for planned sustained use per node. Our RI planner update makes savings analyses and RI purchasing decisions easier for ElastiCache.

Support for new Convertible RIs and Regional Benefit and a new Comparison Matrix

We covered the launch of Convertible RIs two months ago and, since then, we’ve been busy adding support in the planner. Convertible RIs are like Standard RIs, but allow you to change instance families over time (e.g., converting from c5 to m4). This is a great way to get simultaneous savings while covering yourself if your architecture changes.

The quick way to get a set of recommended purchases is to use the settings panel in our RI recommender and choose “Term Length” of “3 Years”, then also set the “Offering Class” to “Convertible RI”. Note: AWS doesn’t offer a 1 year Convertible RI.

Identifying maximum RI savings quickly

One of the important things to consider with the new RIs is to examine max savings (Standard RIs) to savings & flexibility (Convertible RIs), as well as capacity guarantees (Regional Benefit). To directly compare these concepts, we have a new grid view:


Clicking “Compare” on the right side of the planner reveals a grid that shows you eight plans based on combinations of RI type and payment type. We think this is a great way to understand the tradeoffs between savings and flexibility. Just click on one of the boxes and you’ll jump to the full plan. Each of the 3-year options are shown in annual costs to help better compare the options.

Supporting Regional Scope

The Regional Benefit, or Regional Scope, is a new way to choose between capacity guarantees and max RI utilization. Traditionally, RIs are purchased for a specific AZ, meaning you’ll get a guarantee of that instance being available for a given period of time. If your compute is not AZ-dependent, or if capacity is not as important, we recommend setting the scope to “Region” in the planner to show a plan with those options. Note: there is no cost difference between Regional or AZ specific RIs.

Don’t miss a detail when planning for savings

One big goal of our RI Planner update is to make it easier to get every single savings detail out of your RI planning. This allows you to quickly identify RIs you need to buy or modify to increase savings within your current infrastructure, and quickly report on existing RIs and their expiration dates to keep an eye on. You can also get side-by-side comparisons of On-Demand versus Reserved Instance savings.

We’ve also collected all of the various payment details when it comes to purchasing RIs into one friendly interface that shows all upfront fees, costs by term (both on a cash basis or amortized), and estimated savings. Cost comparisons are visualized to quickly surface savings potential that anyone can get behind.

Get XLS support for conversations outside of the app

Some folks use Cloudability to provide specific access to RI savings and planning for various teams (e.g., Finance, Operations, Execs, other Engineers, etc.). Sometimes people just want to export their data to do some business intelligence work on their own.

To encourage the sharing and understanding of RI costs and utilization, Cloudability now supports an XLS export for EC2, RDS, Redshift, and ElastiCache.

Put our new updates to work

For current customers, hop into the RI planner to give things a try. Our Knowledge Base is updated with details on how to get started. Get in touch with a representative if you need help.

If you’re new to Cloudability, get in touch with our Reserved Instance experts to try out our RI Planner. Or, give our Free Trial a try to discover all kinds of ways to save across EC2, Redshift, RDS, and ElastiCache and enhance the savings potential of your Reserved Instance portfolio today.

Being in the know feels great