The AWS Cost Calculator: An Essential Tool for Estimating Cloud Costs
Aug 11, 2022
For all the benefits moving to the AWS Cloud offers, the biggest consideration for most companies is still related to cost – how much the cloud migration will cost as well as the potential cost savings that will result from the move. Both can be difficult to estimate as there are many factors that come into play.
Fortunately, AWS helps simplify the calculations required with the AWS Pricing Calculator. The web-based planning tool enables users to estimate the costs associated with AWS services. Those costs can then be compared to the costs of an existing on-premises environment or another cloud environment.
It’s important to keep in mind that AWS’s cost calculator tool only provides an estimate of AWS fees, based on the services selected. It doesn’t include any taxes that might apply. Actual costs may also vary based on other factors, including the usage of AWS services. And there are a variety of pricing models including on-demand and reserved. The latter can include 1-year or 3-year lease offerings, and the user can choose the amount to pay upfront. All of this allows for maximum flexibility in pricing
Nonetheless, the tool can serve as a cloud migration cost calculator, providing a good starting point for determining cloud migration expenses. The costs of your new environment are part of them, as well as estimating potential savings.
In addition, unless called out otherwise, the AWS Cost Calculator doesn’t include AWS’s Free Tier, which enables customers to try out AWS services for free up to specified limits for each service. (The Free Tier is comprised of three different types of offerings, a 12-month Free Tier, an Always Free offer, and short-term trials.)
How the AWS Cost Calculator Works
The AWS calculator is easy to use. It’s comprised of four main pages:
- The landing page provides an overview of how the tool works. This includes benefits and features, use cases, and links to helpful resources, such as a user guide, FAQs, and pricing assumptions and variations.
- The “Add Service” page is where you start creating the cost estimate for a solution. It includes a list of the AWS services currently supported by the AWS Cost Calculator, along with links to the specific service pages. Just scroll through the various services or use the search menu to enter service names or keywords. Click “Configure” on the service you wish to add.
- The “Configure Service” page is where you enter the specifics related to your estimate. For example, let’s say you want to include Amazon Athena in your solution. With this service, you only pay for the queries you run. You’ll be prompted to enter the total number of queries you expect to run in a day, week, or month, and the amount of data scanned per query.
- If you want to include Amazon EC2, you’ll be prompted to enter the operating system, instance types, requirements (offered via a dropdown menu), quantity, utilization, and pricing strategy. You’ll also have the option to attach persistent block storage volumes. You can then show the calculations and add the service to your estimate. Note: for Amazon EC2, you have the option to calculate a quick estimate (a ballpark estimate that’s based on minimum requirements or a specific instance search). Or you can get an advanced estimate that takes into consideration workload, data transfer costs, additional storage options, and other instance requirements.
- The “My Estimate” page includes a summary of your upfront costs, monthly costs, and 12-month total costs. It also includes a cost breakdown by individual services. You can add more services here, and use the search bar to enter keywords to find your previous service estimates.
More Cost Estimation and Optimization Resources
The AWS Cost Calculator isn’t the only cost-related resource AWS offers. The company provides an array of out-of-the-box cost management tools to help customers manage, monitor, and optimize AWS costs. They include:
- AWS Trusted Advisor, which provides real-time guidance for provisioning resources using AWS best practices. Trusted Advisor helps optimize your entire AWS infrastructure to increase security and performance and reduce overall costs.
- AWS Cost Explorer, which helps visualize and manage AWS costs and usage over time. It includes default reports to help users quickly gain insight into their cost drivers and usage trends. The tool is useful for forecasting what costs and usage may look like in the future.
- AWS Budgets, which offers the ability to set custom alerts for when costs or usage exceed a budgeted threshold. Reservation alerts are supported for Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (Amazon EC2), Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Redshift, Amazon ElastiCache, and Amazon Elasticsearch Service (Amazon ES) and can also be used to set reservation utilization or coverage targets. And then receive alerts when utilization drops below defined parameters.
- AWS Cost & Usage Report, which provides a comprehensive set of AWS cost and usage data. It lists AWS usage for each service category used by an account.
- TSO Logic (an AWS company) is a migration evaluator that provides data-driven TCO and cost modeling analysis, so users can plan for their ideal future state on AWS.
- Cloud Economics Center, featuring the AWS Cloud Value Framework, which provides information to help customers understand the business value of moving to and building on the AWS Cloud.
- Cloud Financial Management Solutions, a variety of resources for optimizing cloud spend, including information on data-informed decision making and dynamic forecasting for variable IT expenses.
ClearScale’s AWS Cost Calculator Expertise
While AWS does provide an abundance of cloud cost estimation and optimization tools ─ including the AWS Cost Calculator ─ sifting through all of them and using them can be overwhelming. This is particularly true for companies with IT staff and application developers that are already stretched thin with other responsibilities. Fortunately, there are companies – particularly those that are AWS Premier Tier Services Partners – that are familiar both with AWS’ numerous resources and with best practices for building cost-effective solutions on the AWS Cloud.
ClearScale is one of them. As our case studies demonstrate, we’ve helped numerous organizations reap the cost benefits of moving to the cloud, optimize their cloud spend, and maintain control of migration costs.
Reducing operating expenses, total cost of ownership, and capital expenditures for our clients is integral to our solution development process. We also stay on top of emerging AWS cloud technologies and best practices that enable us to work quickly and devise the optimal solutions for our customers’ business requirements.
ClearScale knows how to put AWS’s cost-related resources to work for our clients. We also offer managed services to help ensure our clients optimize their IT spend and keep their cloud environment cost-effective.
Learn how ClearScale can help your organization develop cost-effective AWS-based solutions ─ and make the most of the AWS calculator. Download the eBook A Guide to Cost Considerations for Migrating to AWS Cloud.