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A Simple Guide to Using the AWS Pricing Calculator

Vikas Singh
Vikas Singh
March 19, 2024
Clock icon4 mins read
Calendar iconLast updated May 2, 2024
AWS Calculator bannar image

For businesses looking to trim cloud costs or gearing up to jump into AWS services, the AWS calculator is an excellent tool to know. This tool lets you get an estimate before opting for an AWS service. AWS space can be a bit overwhelming for beginners, with tons of  features, tools and different pricing models for varying business needs.

The AWS pricing calculator helps you understand the cost breakdown of each service and identify some optimization opportunities. In one of our blog posts, we discussed techniques to optimize AWS cloud costs

Following up on our recommendation to use the AWS cost calculator in the “Tools to Optimize AWS Cost” section, this article explores further its functionalities and provides a guide to help you use it effectively.

What is AWS Calculator? 

The AWS Pricing Calculator is a handy free tool that helps you estimate AWS costs, empowering decision-makers to get estimates before committing to a service. 

By getting an estimate, you can adjust services to fit your budget and even pinpoint areas where you might be overspending or where smart optimizations can be made. 

It offers both basic and advanced estimation, with advanced optimization allowing you to explore into cost details of the services you're interested in. If you're not sure how to make the most of it, keep reading to learn how to use it. 

Remember, it can estimate costs associated with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances (virtual servers) and Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes (storage). Plus, in the near future, it may support even more services.

The calculator can factor in different AWS pricing models offered, including On-Demand Instances, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instances, allowing you to estimate the cost based on your chosen payment option. 

How to use the AWS Calculator?

It includes an estimate that displays the total estimated cost of your AWS services. Additionally, you'll find a "Service" section where you can access options such as "Add service" and "Edit group."

Group: The group helps you structure your cost estimates based on different criteria. You can edit the group name and provide a relevant name as per your choice and the region to get started.  We will discuss it later in this article. 

Service: Clicking on "Add service" allows you to include and then estimate the cost. By default, Quick Estimate is enabled.

You can activate Advanced Estimate for more detailed information about the services you intend to use.

You can choose the operating system and instances, enter your requirements using filters like No Upfront, and select the pricing model.

Additionally, you can opt to add storage volume if needed and click "Add to my estimate" to receive the estimated cost.

The cost, along with the selected services, will be displayed as shown in the picture below.

Advanced Estimated Cost in AWS Calculator

Advanced Estimate is a more granular cost breakdown compared to Quick Estimate. This provides fine-grained control over each aspect of your estimate.

When you click on "Configure," you'll see options to provide detailed specifications:

Instance type

For services like EC2, you can specify vCPU count, memory size, and storage requirements.

Pricing options

Depending on your usage patterns, you can choose between On-Demand instances, Reserved instances, Spot instances, etc.

Advanced settings

Depending on the service, you might have options to configure additional parameters that influence the cost.

By providing this specific information, the calculator offers a more precise cost estimate tailored to your unique scenario.

Moreover, you can export the estimate in spreadsheet form.

This is a brief guide on how to leverage the AWS pricing calculator.

Using Groups in the AWS pricing calculator

Groups act like folders in the calculator. They allow you to categorize your estimated costs based on different criteria, making it easier to analyze and compare expenses.

How can Groups be used?

Organize by cost centers

Let’s say your company has departments like marketing and finance. You can create groups for each department to see their projected AWS costs.

Group by product architecture

If you're building various applications, you can create groups for each application's specific set of AWS services to estimate their individual costs.

Compare regional costs

The calculator estimates costs based on regions. You can create groups for each region you're considering to compare costs across different geographical locations.

How Do I Use AWS Cost Calculator to Optimize Cost?

You may view it as just a calculator tool, but you should know how AWS pricing works in order to understand how it can help in AWS cloud cost optimization. 

AWS Pricing Models

AWS has a different pricing model as it serves millions of customers with different needs, making it a flexible platform from which to choose. Businesses can opt for different plans like on-demand services,

However, AWS operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. You only pay for the services you use and for the duration of your use. This eliminates the need for complex upfront commitments and offers flexibility. Think of it like paying for utilities - you just consume what you need.

While pay-as-you-go is the base, AWS provides several ways to optimize costs:

Reserved Instances

Commit to a specific usage level for a set period (one or three years) and get significant discounts (up to 75%). Ideal for predictable workloads.

Savings Plans

These are similar to reserved instances but offer more flexibility. You commit to a spending amount per hour and get discounted rates for EC2, Lambda, Fargate, and SageMaker.

Spot Instances

Utilize unused EC2 capacity at a much lower cost (up to 90% off). Well-suited for workloads that can tolerate interruptions.

Optimization with AWS Calculator

When you choose AWS calculator it gives you an option to choose from instances, payment options, and object storage, resulting in finding what is the right plan in your budget. By using this tool, you can effectively choose the right services that fit your budgets. 

The calculator allows you to model various scenarios with different services, instant types and pricing models. This provides insights into potential expenses and helps you choose the most cost-effective options. 

You can explore the cost implications of on-demand instances, reserved instances, and spot instances for the same workload. This enables you to compare and identify the most economical approach based on your usage patterns.

Estimates are not exact bills

While the calculator is a valuable tool, it's crucial to remember that it provides a close approximation, but actual costs might vary based on factors like network traffic fluctuations and specific configurations. The calculator focuses primarily on service costs. Additional charges like data transfer or API calls might require separate evaluation.

Need Help Optimizing Your AWS Costs?

We offer expert guidance and services to help you navigate the AWS platform and optimize your infrastructure. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

Vikas Singh

Vikas Singh

Vikas, the visionary CTO at Brilworks, is passionate about sharing tech insights, trends, and innovations. He helps businesses—big and small—improve with smart, data-driven ideas.

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