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EBS Optimizer

By: CloudUtil Latest Version: 1.0.2

Product Overview

Interested to optimize the EBS storage attached to your EC2 instances for cost and performance with just a few minutes of work? Read on!

What are EBS volumes?

EBS volumes offer network-attached storage to EC2 instances, behaving much like your computer's hard drive. They host the Operating System, as well as persistent data locally available to your instances.

How can EBS volumes be wasteful?

There are multiple types of EBS volumes, each with different performance and cost characteristics. You can see them described in detail here. Over time new generations are released, increasing performance and reducing costs.

It can be hard to keep up with the available options, and at scale it's challenging to migrate to the latest generation especially for volumes that may require bespoke configurations.

Secondly, most of the current AMIs still use previous generation volumes so whenever you create an instance, you're getting suboptimal performance and slightly higher costs.

And lastly, people sometimes inadvertently configure the volume type or performance characteristics, paying a premium for a volume type that isn't leveraged to its potential. For example an 1TB IO2 volume configured with 15000 IOPS could be converted to GP3 for savings over $900/month!

How can EBS Optimizer help?

EBS Optimizer is designed to be an easy to use tool that only takes a few minutes to set up.

Once installed it continuously takes care of this EBS waste for you, without the need to be aware of the performance and cost details of each volume type and its alternatives, or to configure anything else yourself.

It runs periodically in your AWS account, monitoring all your EBS volumes across all the regions used in your account. It automatically detects suboptimal EBS volume configurations, including for new instances that start with suboptimal volumes, and it converts them to the most cost-effective and/or performant volume types, saving you money and often also improving performance.

The optimization is performed on-line, without visible impact to the running instances that may be using them. Eventually the volumes will just become cheaper and/or faster, as if by magic.

How much can it save?

This heavily depends on your configuration.

GP2 volumes, still quite popular nowadays, will be converted to up to 20% cheaper (depending on their size) and often more performant GP3 volumes:

For GP3 volumes below 170 GB the savings are exactly 20% and the performance will be better and more predictable than of the initial GP2 configuration.

Over 170GB, the IOPS and throughput of GP3 volumes are by default configured to match the performance of the initial GP2 configuration, which lowers the savings, but GP3 is still going to be cheaper than a similar sized GP2 volume by at least 8%. The same 20% savings are achieved also for large volumes when this performance matching is disabled in the EBS Optimizer configuration but you'll get reduced performance.

For IO1 and IO2 volumes inadvertently configured with IOPS and throughput within the range supported by GP3 volumes the savings are up to 85% depending on the provisioned IOPS.

How much does it cost?

EBS Optimizer costs less than 5% of the hourly savings it generates.

You're charged in increments of $0.001 for each $0.02/hour it saved you.

It is free of charge if it saves you less than $0.02/hour and also for the partial amounts up to the next multiple of $0.02/hour.

Monthly this becomes $0.73 for each $14.6 saved by using it, considering 730 hours/month.

When it comes to operational costs, EBS Optimizer has negligible runtime costs due to serverless implementation and it also doesn't require ongoing maintenance.

Cost calculation examples

  • Multiple GP2 volumes converted by EBS Optimizer to GP3, each of them smaller than 170GB and getting the full 20% of savings.
  • adding up to less than ~700 GB (the threshold differs slightly by region): as savings are below $14.6/month, EBS Optimizer will be free of charge
  • anywhere between ~700 GB and ~1.4 TB: with savings between $14.6 and $29.2 you'll only get charged $0.73/month plus the runtime costs
  • thereafter, for each ~700 GB and $14.6 saved you'll get charged $0.73/month

Example: For multiple GP2 volumes smaller than 170GB adding up to 2 TB it saves you $40 and you'll get charged $1.46 monthly (for the first $29.2 it saved you)

  • a single GP2 volume of 1 TB converted by EBS Optimizer to GP3, with throughput and IOPS configured to match GP2:

  • it would save you about $15, so you'll get charged $0.73/month plus the runtime costs.

For further information please refer to the documentation at




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