Cloud Native Cost Optimization

adrian cockcroft
2 min readMar 24, 2020
A cost-optimizer at work. Photo of Corey Quinn taken at Kubecon by Adrian

One of the impacts of COVID-19 has been a large rapid unplanned change in business activity for most of the global economy. There are several outcomes, some markets like work from home tools and services, healthcare and grocery retail are extra busy, social media applications are extra busy but their revenue from advertising may be impacted, and many businesses in manufacturing, travel and entertainment are have largely been shut down because their workforce and customers are in lockdown. While datacenter based IT costs are largely fixed, in a three year depreciation schedule, cloud costs are inherently variable, and can be sized to fit the need. When times get tough, a focus on cost optimization can also greatly reduce cloud costs, and the results take effect in next month’s bill.

I’ve talked a lot about this in the past, and have found some more recent content that should be helpful to people facing these challenges.

My 2014 re:Invent talk provides a structured basis for covering all the aspects of cost optimization, although some of the examples are now out of date. In particular, reservations have been split into Savings Plans and On Demand Capacity Reservations to decouple cost optimization from capacity availability with a lot more flexibility and ease of management.

One of the customers I’ve worked with more recently is Expedia, and here’s a more practical and up to date set of examples from 2017.

Abiade moved from Expedia to work at AWS and she presented again in 2019 at re:Invent with examples from Lyft showing how they cut the AWS spend component of their cost per ride by 40% by making cost visible and providing tools to optimize.

My old friend Constantin Gonzales (we worked together over 20yrs ago at Sun) has a regular presentation at re:Invent on running Lean Architectures, with a customer appearance by HERE.

For most people, their compute load dominates their bill, and EC2 General Manager Jeanine Banks gives an in-depth talk on cost optimization, including the new AWS Compute Optimizer tool and a summary of Savings Plans.

For a deep dive on savings plans, this video is excellent. If you haven’t already got this setup, it’s a good time to focus on getting it done.

I hope you find these resources useful. AWS account management teams are engaging with customers globally to help them manage their costs and financial agility in these difficult times. Best wishes, and stay safe.



adrian cockcroft

Work: Technology strategy advisor, Partner at (ex Amazon Sustainability, AWS, Battery Ventures, Netflix, eBay, Sun Microsystems, CCL)