Ankur Mandal

March 11, 2024

Fine-Tune AWS Workload With EBS-Optimized Instances


Ankur Mandal

5 min read
March 11, 2024

Optimizing the performance of your Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes is essential in the realm of cloud computing. Selecting EBS-optimized instances emerges as a strategic choice to achieve this goal. The fusion of EBS-optimized instances with EBS volumes0 will help you yield exceptional performance results. These  instances consistently maintain at least 90% of their expected IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) performance, ensuring a remarkable 99.9% reliability. This symbiotic relationship guarantees peak performance for your cloud computing needs.

In this blog, we will walk you through EBS-optimized instances, their benefits, and which practical strategies can ensure that your applications consistently meet performance expectations, providing a dependable user experience within the AWS cloud.

In the ever-evolving landscape of cloud computing, where efficiency and performance reign supreme, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has introduced a pivotal feature – EBS optimization. This feature responds to the growing need for applications to scale seamlessly while upholding robust Input/Output (I/O) performance, ensuring an uninterrupted and smooth user experience. To maximize the potential of your EBS volumes, we highly recommend utilizing EBS-optimized instances.

Within AWS, EBS-optimized instances help achieve optimal performance in cloud computing environments. Specifically designed to supercharge the I/O performance of applications relying on Amazon EBS volumes, these instances empower AWS users to ensure their applications operate at their best efficiency and responsiveness. This translates to meeting and surpassing performance expectations, all while extracting the utmost value from cloud resources.

To truly understand the impact of EBS-optimized instances on performance in the AWS environment, let's dig into the basics. Let's begin by exploring the concept of EBS optimization. Once we establish a solid foundation in this regard, we can delve deeper into the myriad benefits and best practices that position EBS-optimized instances as a transformative force in high-performance computing in the cloud.

​​Introduction To EBS Optimization

Elastic Block Store (EBS) stands as a pivotal storage service within the Amazon Web Services (AWS) ecosystem. Specifically designed to furnish scalable and dependable storage volumes for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances in the cloud, EBS plays a critical role in the AWS environment for several reasons.

  • Firstly, EBS provides durable, high-performance block-level storage that seamlessly attaches to EC2 instances. In essence, EBS serves as a fundamental building block, ensuring secure data storage within the AWS cloud. This feature is integral to the overall architecture of AWS, supporting the reliable management of data resources associated with EC2 instances.
  • Moreover, EBS is vital in offering essential, reliable storage for numerous cloud applications. Its versatility and adaptability make it a go-to solution for various use cases, contributing significantly to the operational efficiency of diverse applications hosted on the AWS platform.
  • Furthermore, EBS provides a strong foundation within the AWS ecosystem by delivering durability, scalability, and reliable encryption features. By integrating EBS, users can benefit from resilient data storage, effortless scalability, and enhanced security that comply with cloud computing's rigorous standards.

The following features of EBS make it essential in the AWS ecosystem:

  • Storage for EC2 instances: Think of EBS as the go-to solution for storing data for EC2 instances. Working just like virtual hard drives for EC2 instances, it provides block-level storage volumes that can be easily attached or detached whenever needed. 
  • Persistent and durable storage: EBS is built to last. It offers persistent and stable storage, which means your data remains intact even if the associated EC2 instance is terminated. This makes EBS a fantastic choice for safeguarding critical data and ensuring the integrity of your information across different stages of an instance's lifecycle.
  • Different volume types: EBS offers a variety of volume types to meet performance and cost requirements. You have options such as General Purpose (SSD), Provisioned IOPS (SSD), Throughput Optimized (HDD), and Cold HDD. Depending on your workload characteristics, you can choose the type that suits you best.
  • Snapshots and backups: With EBS, you can create point-in-time snapshots of your volumes. These snapshots act as backups and enable you to create new volumes when needed. This feature is great for data backup, recovery, and even cloning—making it super convenient.
  • Encryption: EBS supports encryption for resting data to ensure data security. You can enable encryption during volume creation or even encrypt existing volumes. This added layer of security enhances the protection of your sensitive data.
  • Scalability: With EBS volumes, you can effortlessly adjust your storage capacity to suit your changing needs without interrupting your EC2 instance. This feature is helpful when it comes to handling dynamic workloads effectively.
  • High performance: EBS volumes deliver exceptional and reliable performance, making them suitable for many applications. Performance levels vary depending on your chosen volume type, enabling you to optimize it for your specific usage requirements.
  • A significant portion of the cloud bill: EBS is one of the significant contributors to the overall cloud bill. We did an independent study on over 100 enterprises leveraging AWS and discovered that it was responsible for 15% of the comprehensive cloud bill. This is why when planning to optimize your cloud for cost, keep block storage resources in consideration instead of just focusing on compute resources. 

What Are EBS-Optimized Instances?

EBS-optimized instances are a particular type of Amazon EC2 instance in Amazon Web Services (AWS) designed to boost the performance of applications that heavily rely on Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes. These instances provide a separate network connection exclusively for communication between the EC2 instance and its associated EBS volumes, ensuring smooth and speedy I/O operations.

EBS-optimized instances have many benefits, especially for applications like databases, analytics, and transactional systems requiring top-notch and consistent I/O performance. With the dedicated network bandwidth, communication between EC2 instances and EBS volumes becomes super-efficient, resulting in a more efficient overall system and a highly responsive user experience.

Benefits Of EBS-Optimized Instances

Tailored specifically for tasks that heavily depend on Input/Output (I/O), EBS-optimized instances offer a host of benefits that significantly enhance the performance of applications relying on solid storage capabilities. Here are some key performance benefits of EBS-optimized instances:

1. Offers Dedicated Bandwidth: When you use EBS-optimized instances, you get dedicated network bandwidth exclusively for communication between your EC2 instance and its attached EBS volumes. This means you can enjoy consistent and low-latency performance for all your I/O operations. Thus, you no longer have to worry about slowdowns due to shared resources.

2. Enhances I/O Performance: The dedicated network pathway provided by EBS-optimized instances significantly boosts your I/O performance. This is particularly essential for applications that heavily rely on storage and require fast read and write operations. With EBS-optimized instances, you can experience smoother and faster data transfers, ensuring your applications perform at their best.

3. Reduces Contention: To enhance performance, EBS-optimized instances effectively lessen congestion on network resources by isolating communication between the EC2 instance and EBS volumes from other traffic. This is particularly advantageous in multi-tenant environments, where minimizing interference from other instances is crucial for achieving optimal performance.

4. Improves Scalability: In auto-scaling environments, where the number of instances can dynamically change based on demand, EBS-optimized instances play a vital role in maintaining consistent I/O performance during scaling events. This is extremely valuable for applications that need to scale effortlessly without compromising performance.

5. Optimizes Configuration Stack: EBS-optimized instances come with a thoughtfully designed configuration stack specifically tailored to handle EBS I/O efficiently. This optimization ensures that the instances are perfectly equipped to meet the performance demands of workloads that heavily rely on I/O operations.

6. Provisions IOPS support: EBS-optimized instances effortlessly collaborate with EBS-provisioned IOPS volumes, allowing users to allocate a desired IOPS level according to their application's needs. This is particularly advantageous for applications relying on consistently high-performing I/O operations.

7. Boosts Resource Utilization: By dedicating capacity specifically for EBS I/O operations, EBS-optimized instances maximize resource usage and eliminate potential obstacles. This guarantees that storage-intensive applications run smoothly and efficiently without any performance bottlenecks.

EBS-optimized instances create a specially designed and efficient space exclusively for I/O operations. This means improved performance, reliability, and scalability. They are perfect for applications that require heavy I/O usage as they ensure optimal storage performance, which is crucial for a smooth and satisfying user experience.

Optimal Use-Cases For EBS-Optimized Instances

EBS-optimized instances are a game-changer in AWS for applications with specific performance requirements. They work exceptionally well in scenarios where high Input/Output (I/O) performance is essential. Let's explore some other situations where EBS-optimized instances truly deliver:

1. Database Workloads: If your applications heavily rely on databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL, or Microsoft SQL Server, you know how crucial it is to have fast and consistent I/O performance. EBS-optimized instances are designed to ensure your databases can efficiently handle read and write operations.

Here's an example: Imagine an e-commerce platform powered by AWS with a reliable MySQL database to keep track of products, customer orders, and inventory. By utilizing EBS-optimized instances, the database performs exceptionally well even during heavy traffic, ensuring a smooth and delightful shopping experience for customers.

2. Transactional Systems: Does your business involve frequent and critical database transactions, such as financial systems or online transaction processing (OLTP) applications? EBS-optimized instances can help here. With a dedicated network bandwidth in EBS-optimized instances, you can experience low latency and super reliable I/O operations. 

For instance, imagine a financial organization operating an online banking platform handling daily transactions. They opt for EBS-optimized instances for their system. Why? Because these instances offer remarkable advantages. They ensure rapid processing and secure input/output operations, ensuring that financial transactions are handled quickly and with utmost reliability.

3. Big Data Analytics: If you're using big data analytics applications that work with large datasets and need fast data processing, then EBS-optimized instances are precisely what you need. These instances offer enhanced I/O performance, ensuring that your data is processed efficiently and significantly improving the overall performance of your analytics workloads.

For instance, imagine an analytics company that crunches enormous data for market research. They make the wise choice of using EBS-optimized instances. These instances help them handle mammoth datasets effortlessly. As a result, the analytics platform can swiftly share valuable insights with their clients, keeping everyone in the loop.

 4. Content Management Systems (CMS): For content management systems where content is frequently read, written, and updated, EBS-optimized instances can be a game-changer. These instances significantly boost performance, especially for websites and applications with dynamic content that rely on fast and efficient I/O operations.

For instance, imagine having a news website where you're continuously updating articles, images, and videos using a Content Management System (CMS). Well, here's where EBS-optimized instances come to the rescue! They boost the speed of content delivery, ensuring your readers enjoy lightning-fast page loads that are super responsive.

5. Log Processing Applications: Log processing applications, like log analysis or monitoring tools, often require extensive I/O activities. With EBS-optimized instances, you can easily handle large volumes of log data. These instances are designed to ensure your log processing applications run smoothly and efficiently.

For example, A cybersecurity company monitors network activity using log analysis tools. They make use of EBS-optimized instances for their job. These instances are specially designed to handle the heavy-duty work of log processing, allowing them to spot and react to any security issues quickly.

6. Development And Testing Environments: In development and testing environments, where we often need to allocate and deallocate resources quickly, EBS-optimized instances can prove beneficial. These instances offer a consistent and reliable I/O performance, making the development and testing process smoother and more predictable.

For instance, consider a friendly software development company that leverages AWS to achieve an uninterrupted integration and delivery process (commonly known as CI/CD). As part of their development and testing environments, they heavily rely on EBS-optimized instances. These instances are crucial in ensuring a seamless and predictable testing workflow, ultimately boosting the speed of software development cycles.

7. E-commerce Platforms: A powerful storage infrastructure is crucial if you run an e-commerce platform that handles a high volume of transactions, product updates, and inventory changes. EBS-optimized instances ensure your platform remains responsive and reliable even during peak usage. So, you can rest assured that your customers will always have the best experience shopping on your website.

For instance, let's say there is an online retail giant. During seasonal sales events, their website receives a huge influx of visitors. But since this e-commerce platform uses EBS-optimized instances, they ensure that everything runs smoothly even when there is a surge in traffic. So, whether it's updating products, processing transactions, or managing inventory changes, all is done efficiently without any drop in performance.

8. Real-Time Analytics: For applications that heavily rely on real-time analytics, like those in financial services or monitoring systems, EBS-optimized instances can enhance data processing efficiency. These instances offer efficient and low-latency processing, allowing you to make critical decisions based on up-to-date information.

For instance, by utilizing EBS-optimized instances, the investment firm gains an advantage in the financial market by conducting real-time analytics. Swift data processing and analysis empower the firm to make well-informed decisions, fine-tune investment strategies, and adapt quickly to market fluctuations. EBS-optimized instances are instrumental in maintaining the flexibility and efficiency necessary for thriving in the ever-changing realm of financial services.

EBS-Optimized vs. Non-Optimized Instances

The performance difference between EBS-optimized and non-optimized instances in AWS revolves around how they handle communication between the EC2 instance and its attached EBS volumes. Here's what you need to know:

Dedicated Network Bandwidth

EBS-Optimized Instances: These instances have their network connection solely for handling communication between the EC2 instance and its attached EBS volumes. This dedicated pathway ensures that I/O operations run smoothly and quickly, with consistent and low-latency performance.

Non-Optimized Instances: Conversely, non-optimized instances share network bandwidth with other applications and instances running on the same host. This means that resources are shared, which can sometimes lead to contention and variations in I/O performance, especially in environments where multiple instances are active.

Consistent I/O Performance

EBS-Optimized Instances: The dedicated network connection guarantees consistent I/O performance. This means that applications dependent on EBS volumes can rely on reliable and predictable data transfer rates for smooth operation.

Non-Optimized Instances: Conversely, non-optimized instances might encounter fluctuations in I/O performance, especially when high demand or multiple instances actively access EBS volumes together. These variations can result in less predictable performance for your applications.

Auto-Scaling and Dynamic Environments

EBS-Optimized Instances: These instances bring immense advantages in auto-scaling environments, where the number of instances can be flexibly adjusted according to demand. Using EBS-optimized instances ensures a steady and reliable I/O performance even during scaling events, effectively avoiding potential bottlenecks.

Non-Optimized Instances: In dynamic environments, non-optimized instances might experience fluctuating I/O performance during scaling events. This occurs because the shared network bandwidth gets distributed among various instances.

Resource Contention

EBS-Optimized Instances: EBS-optimized instances can streamline the communication between your EC2 instance and EBS volumes. They significantly reduce conflicts over network resources, allowing for efficient utilization of resources and shielding from any disruptions caused by other applications running on the same host.

Non-Optimized Instances: Unlike their optimized counterparts, non-optimized instances share network resources. There is a higher chance of resource contention when heavy traffic or diverse workloads exist. This could impact overall system performance. 

Best Practices For EBS-Optimized Instances

Mentioned below are some of the best practices to optimize your EC2 instance for efficient communication with your EBS volumes:

1. Selecting The Right Instance Type: Make sure to choose an EC2 instance type that is EBS-optimized. General Purpose (SSD) volumes are suitable for many workloads, but if you need higher performance at a slightly higher cost, Provisioned IOPS (SSD) volumes are the way to go. This will ensure it has the dedicated network bandwidth needed for smooth communication between the instance and EBS volumes.

2. Understanding Your Workload Requirements: Analyze the I/O requirements of your applications and workloads. Determine if EBS-optimized instances are necessary for your specific needs. For tasks like databases or analytics requiring high I/O performance, EBS-optimized instances often prove beneficial.

3. Enhancing Performance With Provisioned IOPS: If your application requires predictable and high I/O performance, consider using Provisioned IOPS (PIOPS) volumes. By pairing EBS-optimized instances with PIOPS volumes, you can provision a specific level of IOPS tailored to your application's requirements. Remember to choose the optimal instance type and carefully assess your workload needs to ensure smooth and efficient application performance.

4. Choosing The Right Type: Consider your workload characteristics while selecting between General Purpose (SSD), Provisioned IOPS (SSD), Throughput Optimized (HDD), and Cold HDD volumes. Each one caters to different performance and cost needs.

5. Enabling EBS Optimization During Instance Launch: Remember to allow EBS to optimize explicitly when launching EC2 instances. This ensures your instance is configured correctly with a dedicated network pathway for seamless communication with EBS volumes.

6. Monitoring And Adjusting Performance: Keep a close eye on the performance metrics of your EBS-optimized instances using AWS CloudWatch. It's essential to check and evaluate if any adjustments are required regularly. This may include changing the instance type or volume configuration to accommodate evolving workload demands.

7. Considering Deploying In Multiple Availability Zones: To ensure your application is always available and resilient to failures, deploying your EC2 instances and EBS volumes in multiple availability zones (AZs) is a good idea. This is especially important for applications that require high availability.

8. Making The Most Of Auto-Scaling: If your application experiences varying demands, use Auto-Scaling to dynamically adjust the number of instances. By using EBS-optimized instances, you can maintain consistent I/O performance even during scaling events. You can leverage one of the many AWS storage auto-scaling best practices mentioned in our blog, which can help with dynamic scaling.

9. Performing Regular Backups And Snapshots: It's essential to take regular backups and snapshots of your EBS volumes. This ensures the durability of your data and gives you a way to recover in case of accidental data loss or system failures.

Recommendations For A Balanced Performance-Cost Through EBS-Optimized Instances

Achieving cost optimization without compromising performance in AWS involves implementing a strategic approach to balance resource utilization and expenditure with EBS-optimized instances. Follow these recommendations to optimize costs while ensuring optimal performance:

1. Rightsize Instances

Regularly assess your EC2 instance types to ensure they align with your application's performance requirements. Downsizing overprovisioned instances can lead to substantial cost savings.

To achieve cost-effective and optimal performance, mainly when using EBS-optimized instances to meet high I/O needs, follow the steps below for right-sizing:

  • Regularly assess your applications: Make it a habit to evaluate the performance requirements of your applications on EC2 instances. Get to know how resources are utilized and the demands they face under different conditions.
  • Evaluate characteristics of your workload: Consider the specific needs of your workload, including CPU, memory, and storage requirements. Different applications have varying demands, so understanding these specifics is crucial for finding the right resource allocation.
  • Take Advantage of monitoring tools: Use monitoring tools like AWS CloudWatch to get detailed insights into resource utilization. Analyze metrics related to CPU usage, memory consumption, and I/O operations to spot areas that can be optimized for better performance.
  • Right-size and optimize instances: Identify instances with excessive resources and downgrade them to a more suitable type matching the workload demands. Doing this saves you a significant amount of money without compromising performance.
  • Ensure performance with testing: Once you have adjusted the instances, perform thorough performance testing to ensure they meet your application's requirements. Test them under different load conditions to guarantee the effectiveness of the changes.
  • Fine-tune Provisioned IOPS: If your applications rely on consistent and high I/O performance, consider fine-tuning the Provisioned IOPS (PIOPS) for your EBS volumes. This can be done simultaneously with the right-sizing process to ensure storage performance aligns with the overall instance configuration.
  • Find the perfect balance: Strive to balance cost savings and performance. 
  • Continuously refine your instance types and configurations iteratively, considering both monetary savings and optimal performance.

2. Utilize Spot Instances

Using Spot Instances alongside EBS-optimized instances is an intelligent way to find the perfect balance between cost-effectiveness and optimal performance. Spot Instances come at significantly lower prices than On-Demand Instances, making them a tempting choice for workloads that can handle interruptions. 

Take advantage of AWS Spot Instances for workloads that can tolerate interruptions. Spot Instances are considerably cheaper than On-Demand Instances but may be terminated if the spot price exceeds your bid. Here are some helpful guides on effectively utilizing Spot Instances with EBS-optimized instances.

  • Assessing Your Workload: To maximize Spot Instances, assess whether your workload fits. Spot Instances work best for applications that can handle interruptions gracefully, are fault-tolerant, or are stateless.
  • Monitoring Spot Prices: Keep a close eye on the AWS Spot Market to stay current on the current spot prices for different instance types. This information will help you decide which instances to bid on and when to launch your Spot Instances.
  • Diversify Your Instance Types: Boost your chances of snagging Spot Instances at discounted rates by diversifying your selection of instance types. Embrace flexibility in your choices to make the most of price fluctuations for different configurations.
  • Create a Smart Bidding Strategy: Tailor your bidding approach based on your budget and urgency. For instances you desperately need, consider bidding close to the On-Demand price. On the other hand, for workloads with flexible scheduling, you can bid at a lower price to maximize cost savings.
  • Spot Fleet Configuration: Explore the advantages of leveraging Spot Fleets, enabling you to define a range of instance types and bidding prices. With Spot Fleets, instances are automatically launched according to your predefined criteria. This feature helps you optimize your capacity while diversifying your instance choices.
  • Building a Fault-Tolerant Architecture: To make your application architecture fault-tolerant, it's essential to consider possible interruptions in Spot Instances. These interruptions can occur suddenly, so it's wise to implement mechanisms such as auto-scaling groups that span multiple availability zones. By doing so, you can ensure continuous availability and resilience even if some Spot Instances get interrupted.
  • Handling Spot Instance Terminations: It is crucial to have systems in place to handle Spot Instance terminations gracefully. This may involve saving stateful data to durable storage, utilizing load balancers, or using tools like AWS Spot Fleet, which can automatically replace terminated instances. By implementing these mechanisms, you can avoid any disruptions caused by Spot Instance terminations.

3. Implement Reserved Instances (RIs)

Make the most of Reserved Instances to handle predictable workloads requiring long-term commitments. RIs offer significant cost savings compared to On-Demand pricing and can be purchased for specific instance types, including EBS-optimized instances. To make the most out of RIs, follow the steps mentioned below.

  • Analyze workload: Analyze your workload's characteristics and identify instances with predictable and consistent usage patterns. Reserved Instances are perfect for workloads that run continuously or have a stable demand.
  • Understanding Reserved Instance Types: AWS provides different types of Reserved Instances, such as Standard RIs, Convertible RIs, and Scheduled RIs. It's essential to understand the differences between these types and choose the one that best fits your application's requirements and flexibility needs.
  • Matching Instance Attributes: When purchasing Reserved Instances, correctly check the attributes, including instance type, platform (Linux/Windows), tenancy (shared/dedicated), and region. This will ensure that the reserved capacity aligns precisely with your EBS-optimized instances.
  • Term Length and Payment Option: Choose the term length (1 or 3 years) and payment option (All Upfront, Partial Upfront, or No Upfront) that suits your budget and commitment. Opting for longer-term commitments and upfront payments can lead to greater cost savings.
  • Convertible RIs for Flexibility: If you expect changes in your instance types or other attributes, consider Convertible Reserved Instances. These offer more flexibility, allowing you to modify specific characteristics during the reservation term.
  • Reserved Instance Utilization Monitoring: Make it a habit to regularly monitor the utilization of your Reserved Instances using AWS tools like AWS Cost Explorer or the user-friendly AWS Management Console. This will ensure that you are effectively utilizing your reserved capacity and enable you to identify opportunities for adjustments.

4. Monitor And Adjust Provisioned IOPS

Monitoring and adjusting Provisioned IOPS on EBS-optimized instances brings several advantages to your AWS environment. It's a great way to optimize performance, ensure reliability, and have better control over costs.

It is essential to keep a close eye on the I/O needs of your applications and adjust the provisioned IOPS for your EBS volumes according to the workload, preventing overprovisioning and unnecessary expenses. Follow the tips mentioned below for effective monitoring and adjustment.

  • Understanding Workload I/O Requirements: Every application has unique demands for I/O, so it's crucial to configure your storage accordingly.
  • Selecting EBS-Optimized Instances: To ensure smooth and efficient communication between your EC2 instance and EBS volumes, choosing EBS-optimized instances is recommended. These instances provide dedicated network bandwidth, making them particularly valuable for applications with high I/O requirements.
  • Determining PIOPS Needs: Take the time to analyze your application's performance needs and establish the appropriate number of PIOPS (Provisioned IOPS) for your EBS volumes. Provisioned IOPS volumes are designed to deliver consistent and predictable performance, which is ideal for applications that rely heavily on I/O performance.
  • Utilize Amazon CloudWatch Metrics: Take advantage of Amazon CloudWatch metrics for effectively monitoring the performance of your EBS volumes. Significant metrics to consider are VolumeReadOps, VolumeWriteOps, and VolumeQueueLength. By analyzing these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into the I/O activity and latency of your EBS volumes.
  • Establish CloudWatch Alarms: Create CloudWatch alarms based on the performance thresholds specific to your application. These alarms serve as alerts, promptly notifying you when certain metrics exceed predefined thresholds. This proactive approach enables you to address potential performance issues and ensure timely and prompt resolution.

5. Check For Overprovisioning

Overprovisioning can lead to increased expenses since you end up paying for unused resources. However, if you frequently review for overprovisioning, you can optimize your EBS instances according to your application's actual needs and save costs.

Determine if your EBS volumes are excessively provisioned or not fully utilized. Too much provision can lead to needless expenses, while low utilization may affect performance negatively.

While monitoring for overprovisioning, we suggest against going the manual route or using monitoring tools. Manual exploration or employing monitoring tools can be difficult and costly for DevOps teams. As the storage environment becomes more intricate, it quickly becomes challenging. 

You need an automated solution that can help find overprovisioned storage resources. Lucidity has come up with one such solution- Lucidity Storage Audit.

Lucidity Storage Audit: A simple ready-to-use executable tool, Lucidity Storage Audit offers the following:

  • Automated Analysis: It will help you better understand your disk health and utilization.
  • Performance Bottleneck Resolution: Lucidity Storage Audit spots and eliminate any performance bottlenecks. This protects you from potential financial and reputation risks and ensures smooth operations without any slowdowns or lags.
  • Inefficiency Detection: Lucidity Storage Audit is designed to detect and resolve inefficiencies caused by overprovisioning. By doing so, it enables you to create a storage environment that is optimized for maximum efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
  • Cost Optimization: It provides valuable insights into your disk usage, helping you optimize your costs effectively.
  • Downtime Prevention: It helps identify potential issues in advance. Stay one step ahead and keep your systems running smoothly.
  • AWS Integration: It seamlessly integrates with AWS internal services to collect all the necessary storage metadata. You'll be able to gather information like storage utilization percentage and disk size effortlessly.
  • Data Security Assurance: Lucidity Audit ensures complete security by never accessing our customers' Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or sensitive data.
  • Non-Intrusive Operation: With Lucidity Storage Audit, you don't have to worry about disrupting your cloud environment and resources during the auditing process. Lucidity Audit operates seamlessly without causing any impact. 

6. Make the Most of AWS Trusted Advisor

AWS Trusted Advisor is here to help with best practices, cost optimization, and security checks. It indirectly assists in making the most out of EBS-optimized instances by ensuring that your AWS environment is well-architected and cost-efficient. So, you can rest easy knowing you have all the support you need to maximize your AWS resources.

Take advantage of AWS Trusted Advisor, a handy tool offering suggestions to enhance the efficiency of your AWS resources. It can provide valuable insights regarding your EBS setups and propose adjustments to improve performance and cost-effectiveness. To make sure you're getting the most out of AWS Trusted Advisor, follow these steps:

  • Enable Trusted Advisor: Go to your AWS Management Console and ensure Trusted Advisor is enabled. This will give you valuable insights and recommendations related explicitly to EBS-Optimized Instances.
  • Regularly Check Recommendations: Remember to periodically review the recommendations provided by Trusted Advisor for your EBS-Optimized Instances. These recommendations cover essential areas like performance, security, and cost efficiency.
  • Integrate with Cost Explorer: To comprehensively understand your costs and usage data, integrate Trusted Advisor with AWS Cost Explorer. This integration will give you additional insights into potential opportunities for savings and help you align your infrastructure with your budgetary goals.
  • Receive Notifications: Stay on top of any new or existing recommendations by configuring notifications within Trusted Advisor. This way, you'll be alerted when new recommendations are available, or existing ones need your attention. It's essential to stay informed so you can address any issues promptly.

7. Regularly Evaluate Performance Metrics

It's important to keep an eye on performance metrics for EBS-optimized instances to stay proactive, spot any possible problems, and enhance the overall performance and cost-effectiveness of your AWS infrastructure. Mentioned below are some tips for performance metrics evaluation.

  • Make it a routine to review the CloudWatch metrics periodically. This allows you to track the performance of your EBS volumes over time. 
  • Watch for trends, peaks, or patterns that may indicate changes in workload demands. Regularly assessing these metrics helps you make informed decisions and optimize the performance of your EBS volumes accordingly.
  • Monitor the metrics of your EBS volumes, including read and write throughput, latency, and IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second). These metrics give you valuable information about how well your EBS volumes are doing and whether they meet your application's needs.

8. Efficiently Maximize EBS Snapshots

Efficiently maximizing EBS snapshots on EBS-optimized instances brings multiple benefits, such as:

  • It enhances data protection, so you can rest assured that your valuable information is well guarded. 
  • It minimizes downtime, allowing you to keep your systems up and running smoothly. 
  • It contributes to cost optimization by efficiently managing and leveraging the backup and recovery features of Amazon EBS. 
  • It helps maintain consistent I/O performance and effectively ensure data integrity.

Here are some ways to maximize your EBS snapshots efficiently:

  • Scheduled Snapshot Management: To maximize your storage resources and prevent unnecessary data buildup, it's important to implement a scheduled snapshot management strategy. 

Regularly reviewing and cleaning up unnecessary snapshots can optimize storage costs and ensure efficient data management.

  • Lifecycle Policies: Take advantage of Amazon EBS Snapshot Lifecycle policies to automate your snapshot management process. These policies allow you to set rules for snapshot retention, automatically delete outdated snapshots, and maximize the use of storage resources. By streamlining your snapshot management, you can save time and effort.
  • Snapshot Encryption: Enabling encryption for your EBS snapshots is crucial when dealing with sensitive data. This additional layer of security ensures compliance with data protection standards and provides peace of mind. 

By encrypting your snapshots, you can safeguard your sensitive information from unauthorized access.

  • Regular Testing of Snapshots: To ensure the reliability of your backup strategy, it's essential to test your snapshots periodically. This practice allows you to verify their integrity and confirm that they can be successfully used for restoration. 

Regularly testing your snapshots gives you confidence in their effectiveness when restoring data.

  • Monitor and Control Snapshot Expenses: Stay vigilant about the expenses tied to EBS snapshots, particularly in bustling or constantly evolving environments. 

Regularly assess your storage usage and adapt your snapshot approach to match your budgetary requirements.

9. Optimize Resources With Auto-Scaling Policies

Auto-scaling policies automatically adjust the number of instances based on demand. By aligning your resources with actual requirements, you can optimize costs effectively. Plus, during periods of lower demand, Auto-Scaling can scale down to prevent unnecessary expenses. It's an intelligent way to ensure your resources are always right-sized.

Although Auto-Scaling doesn't directly optimize Elastic Block Store (EBS)-optimized instances, it improves your applications' performance and availability by intelligently managing instance numbers according to demand. The two work together to ensure your applications can grow with your needs, perform consistently, and use resources efficiently in the following ways.

  • Pairing them with EBS-optimized instances ensures your storage and computing power increase proportionally as your workloads change.
  • When Auto-Scaling adds more instances, EBS-optimized instances help keep the performance steady. With the extra network capacity they provide, the increased workload won't slow down your file transfers.

Auto-Scale Compute Resources

To efficiently auto-scale compute resources for EBS-optimized instances in AWS, you can dynamically adjust the number of instances in response to fluctuating demand. Here are some practical tips to help you implement auto-scaling effectively:

  • Harness the Power of Auto-Scaling Groups: Make the most of AWS Auto-Scaling groups to effortlessly manage and scale your instances. With Auto-Scaling groups, you can easily define your desired capacity, scaling policies, and launch configurations. This streamlined approach allows for seamless addition or removal of instances based on the current demand.
  • Embrace Scheduled Scaling: Stay one step ahead by utilizing scheduled scaling to anticipate predictable changes in demand. If you know that certain times of the day or week will bring a surge in traffic, proactively schedule additional instances to handle the load efficiently.
  • Instance Termination Policies: Set up instance termination policies to determine which instances should be terminated when scaling down. Take into account criteria such as the oldest launch configuration, instances closest to the billing hour, or any personalized criteria that align with your application's behavior.
  • Regularly Review and Fine-tune: Make it a habit to regularly review your auto-scaling configurations, policies, and performance metrics. Adapt them accordingly to evolving workload patterns, updates to your application, or as your understanding of resource requirements improves. By doing so, you can ensure optimal efficiency and better align your scaling capabilities with your specific needs.

Auto-Scale Storage Resources

You should not limit auto-scaling to compute resources like instances. If you want to balance your organization's cost and performance for EBS-optimized instances, you should also focus on auto-scaling storage resources alongside compute resources. 

Wondering why?

This is because, according to a study done by Virtana, it was discovered that storage costs are increasing, and when compared to the overall cloud bill, storage costs are growing at a faster rate. 

However, storage cost remains one of the leading hidden costs in AWS. This is because

  • The increased focus on compute-intensive workload tends to downplay the visibility of storage costs.
  • Predicting and accurately understanding costs can be tricky due to the fluctuating storage requirements.

How do organizations keep up with the fluctuating storage requirements?

The answer lies in overprovisioning storage resources.

Overprovisioning has a severe cost, operation, and performance-related impacts. Then why do organizations prefer doing it instead of optimizing storage?

This is because:

Developing a custom tool for optimizing storage is difficult: 

  • To optimize storage effectively, creating a customized tool is necessary as the features provided by Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) may be limited.
  • The lack of comprehensive features in CSP tools necessitates the development of a specialized solution for efficient storage management.

Increased focus and time investment in DevOps:

  • Building a custom tool requires a significant increase in DevOps efforts and time commitment.
  • Crafting a tool that caters to specific needs demands more attention and resources from development and operations teams, resulting in substantial investments.

Challenges with tools provided by CSPs:

  • Relying on tools offered by CSPs can lead to inefficiencies involving manual and resource-intensive tasks.
  • The inherent limitations of CSP tools require labor-intensive work, which hampers smooth day-to-day operations and affects overall operational efficiency.

AWS does not support live shrinkage of storage resources:

While you can expand storage resources in AWS, there is no direct method to shrink them in case you need less space.

  • Shrinking storage resources manually makes them susceptible to errors, misconfiguration, and the DevOps team's excessive investment of time and effort. 
  • Manual shrinkage requires steps like stopping the instance, creating a new volume, and more, leading to downtime or performance degradation.

Considering the limitations of CSP tools, the significant investment of time and resources in developing new tools, and the disadvantages of the manual shrinkage process, it makes sense to overprovision storage resources to guarantee uninterrupted application uptime.

To ensure seamless expansion and shrinkage of EBS volume, there is an urgent need for an automated solution. Moreover, investing in automated tools is one of the best ways to reduce the overall AWS costs

Lucidity offers one such automated solution- Block Storage Auto-Scaler.

Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler

An industry's first autonomous storage orchestration solution, Lucidity's Block Storage Auto-Scaler helps in the following ways:

  • This advanced technology cleverly adjusts to your changing storage needs, guaranteeing the perfect capacity without any effort. 
  • The Auto-Scaler effortlessly expands or reduces storage resources, providing a seamless and automatic solution. 
  • Your system will always perform at its best as the Auto-Scaler adapts to your evolving storage requirements. 
  • Lucidity's Auto-Scaler leads the way in the efficient and intelligent management of storage resources.

With Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler installed in your system, you will get the following benefits:

  • Automated Block Storage Scaling: With Lucidity's Block Storage Auto-Scaler, resource expansion, and contraction become hassle-free. It ensures uninterrupted availability by promptly adapting to fluctuations in demand.
  • Storage Cost Savings (Up to 70%): The Auto-Scaler can elevate your disk utilization from a mere 35% to an impressive 80%, resulting in potential savings of up to 70%.
  • ROI Calculator: Estimating potential savings is now a breeze with Lucidity's user-friendly ROI Calculator. Input your disk spend, growth rate, and utilization, and let our calculator do the rest.
  • Zero Downtime Operation: It effortlessly adjusts storage resources to maximize performance during demand fluctuations, ensuring zero downtime or performance degradation during configuration changes, as seen in manual provisioning.
  • Customized Policy Configuration: You can personalize your instances management by specifying details such as name, desired utilization, maximum disk size, and buffer size. With Lucidity, you can tailor the Auto-Scaler to your specific needs.

Embracing auto-scaling for storage resources in the AWS framework is a game-changer for us! It's a strategic move that helps us save costs, work smarter, and quickly adapt to the changing needs of our business in the dynamic cloud environment.

10. Make The Most Of AWS Cost Explorer

Although AWS Cost Explorer does not provide specific insights into the detailed configuration or optimization of EBS-optimized instances, it acts as a convenient hub for all your cost-related information. It gives the power to make informed decisions regarding resource allocation, scaling, and efficiency. By doing so, it positively impacts the cost-effectiveness of EBS-optimized instances within your broader AWS environment.

You can make the most of AWS Cost Explorer in the following ways:

  • Get to Know the Capabilities of AWS Cost Explorer: Get acquainted with what AWS Cost Explorer can do. It offers a range of features and reports that allow you to analyze costs, usage, and trends across various AWS services, including EBS-Optimized instances.
  • Utilize Cost Explorer for Analyzing EBS-Optimized Costs: Pay attention to the EBS-Optimized instances section within AWS Cost Explorer. By delving into the cost trends and patterns associated with these instances, you can pinpoint areas where optimization opportunities may exist.
  • Narrow the Time Frame: Use the date range filter to focus on specific periods and see how costs and usage data fluctuate. This will help you understand any irregularities that may occur over time.
  • Take Advantage of Predefined Reports: AWS Cost Explorer provides predefined reports that can benefit those using EBS-Optimized instances. Look at reports like "Monthly Costs by Linked Account" or "Monthly Costs by Service" to gain valuable insights into how costs are distributed.
  • Evaluate Cost Drivers: Discover the main factors influencing costs for EBS-Optimized instances. These could involve expenses related to data transfer, provisioned IOPS, or the choice of specific instance types. By comprehending these drivers, you can effectively prioritize and improve cost optimization strategies.
  • Compare Costs Across Regions: If you have an AWS infrastructure stretching across various regions, assessing the costs associated with EBS-Optimized instances in each region is essential. This examination allows you to make informed decisions regarding resource allocation and cost optimization based on the differences in regional pricing.

11. Discover The Benefits Of AWS Savings Plans

Explore the advantageous pricing options offered by AWS Savings Plans, which can substantially reduce costs compared to On-Demand pricing. Follow the tips mentioned below to make the most of the AWS Savings Plan.

  • Understanding Your Workload:  Take time to analyze the characteristics of your workload, such as the usage pattern, instance types, and EBS-Optimized instance requirements. This understanding plays a crucial role in selecting an appropriate Savings Plan.
  • Selecting the Right Plan: Find the perfect Savings Plan for your workload based on its predictability. Different Savings Plans are available, including Compute Savings Plans and EC2 Instance Savings Plans. These plans have various terms of 1 or 3 years and offer payment options like All Upfront, Partial Upfront, and No Upfront. Choose the plan that aligns with your usage and budget goals.
  • Evaluating Your Commitment Level: Assess the predictability and steadiness of your workload to determine your commitment level. Higher commitment levels, such as All Upfront, can provide more significant savings but require more upfront payment. Strike the right balance between cost savings and financial flexibility by selecting the commitment level that suits your needs.
  • Monitor and Adjust: Regularly monitor your AWS Cost Explorer and Savings Plans Utilization reports to evaluate how well your Savings Plan aligns with your actual usage. Adjust your Savings Plan to match the evolving requirements if your workload changes.
  • Explore Recommendations in AWS Cost Explorer: Make the most of AWS Cost Explorer to access personalized recommendations based on your usage patterns. This handy tool can provide valuable insights into opportunities to optimize your Savings Plan strategy.
  • Utilize Cost Explorer Budgets: Take advantage of Cost Explorer Budgets in AWS to set up alerts that notify you when your costs approach or exceed predefined thresholds. This proactive approach helps you manage and control your spending on EBS-Optimized instances.

12. Keep Your Architecture Up To Date

Ensure your infrastructure is always in sync with your application's evolving performance needs by regularly reviewing and updating your architecture. This practice guarantees that you're utilizing resources effectively while avoiding unnecessary expenses.

Keeping your architecture updated on EBS-optimized instances in AWS is crucial for achieving overall superior performance, enhanced security, and improved efficiency. It allows you to leverage the latest advancements while ensuring your infrastructure complies with industry best practices and standards. Regular updates are vital in ensuring your AWS-based applications' long-term success and reliability.

13. Implement Resource Tagging

You can optimize your EBS instances with AWS resource tagging, which allows you to label and organize resources effortlessly across your AWS environment. This makes managing and tracking them a breeze!

Resource tagging may not directly affect how EBS-optimized instances work or perform, but it plays a significant role in efficient resource management, cost distribution, and organization within your AWS environment. It's an invaluable practice for maintaining clarity and control over your infrastructure, including EBS-optimized instances and their corresponding Elastic Block Store volumes.

Ensure Cloud Efficiency with EBS-Optimized Instances!

You can unlock improved performance, scalability, and efficiency by incorporating EBS-optimized instances into your Amazon Web Services (AWS) setup. This blog provides valuable insights into the advantages, best practices, and recommendations for empowering your applications, especially those that require extensive storage. From maintaining consistent I/O performance to optimizing costs and seamlessly integrating with Auto-Scaling, this journey with EBS-optimized instances becomes a strategic investment in the success of your cloud-based infrastructure.

Do you need help to keep up with the increasing storage usage and expenses in your cloud infrastructure? It's about time you think about conducting a thorough audit. Get in touch with Lucidity for a demo now to discover how automation can help identify unused resources and simplify your cloud cost management. Ask for a demo to see how Lucidity's solutions can bring efficiency and control to your cloud spending.

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