Optimizing AWS EC2 for Cost Efficiency and Performance

AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) forms the backbone of many companies’ cloud infrastructure, handling a diverse range of compute workloads. Given that EC2 costs can account for 40-60% of total AWS spending, optimizing this service is crucial for enhancing performance and reducing expenditures.


Understanding EC2 Usage and Costs

AWS EC2 is the most utilized service among AWS customers, often making up a significant portion of their cloud spend. This high usage rate underscores the importance of adopting cost-effective strategies to manage EC2 efficiently.


Cost-Optimization Strategies

Off-Office Hours Scheduling

Utilizing off-office hours scheduling for non-production environments can substantially cut costs. By operating these environments only during the 12 hours of a typical workday, you can save around 264 hours per month out of a possible 720, doubling the savings through effective SP/RI utilization. This method not only reduces the immediate costs but also enhances the overall efficiency of resource use during peak business hours.

Instance Resizing

Regularly assessing your instance sizing and scaling them according to the workload can lead to substantial savings. AWS Compute Optimizer and Wise Tuner helps by recommending optimal instance sizes based on usage patterns, minimizing manual effort and reducing over-provisioning. This approach is essential for businesses that experience fluctuating demand, ensuring that they are not paying for unneeded capacity during quieter periods.

Graviton Instances

If your applications are compatible, moving them to Graviton instances can reduce costs by 20-40%. These instances are specifically optimized for performance and cost efficiency on AWS. The transition to Graviton can be particularly beneficial for compute-intensive applications due to their better cost-performance ratio compared to traditional x86 architectures.

Burstable Instances

For staging environments, where consistent performance peaks are not required, burstable instances can be a cost-efficient solution, offering enough CPU credits to handle spikes in load at a lower cost. This flexibility is ideal for smaller applications or microservices that do not require constant high performance but may need to scale quickly in response to demand spikes.


Advanced Cost-Saving Measures

Spot Instances

Incorporating spot instances into your Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) and Auto Scaling Groups (ASG) can cut costs significantly. Spot instances are ideal for flexible, interruption-tolerant workloads, often available at a fraction of the price of on-demand instances. Using spot instances wisely can lead to cost reductions of up to 90% compared to on-demand pricing, making it a highly attractive option for cost-conscious businesses.

Eliminating Waste

Identifying and stopping ‘zombie’ instances that run without being used is a straightforward way to reduce waste. Tools like Wise Manager can automate the detection and termination of such resources, ensuring you pay only for what you actually use. Regular audits of instance usage and functionality are critical to maintaining an efficient and cost-effective EC2 environment.


Quick Tips

Non Production Workloads

  • Utilize scheduling to automatically turn on and off
    • Stand alone instances
    • Auto scaling groups
    • Kubernetes clusters instances
  • Identify and remove idle or stopped instances. For stopped instances, create an AMI to recover them if needed later, ensuring that resources are not wasted on unused capacity.
  • For applications where consistent high performance is not critical, move to burstable instances (t2/t3). Consider switching to AMD instances (t3a) or, if compatible, to Graviton instances for cheaper and faster performance. Utilize the latest Linux 2023 AMI for better efficiency. Always rightsize by assessing CPU and RAM usage.
  • Rightsize –  Always prefer burstable and then further reduce their size by looking into CPU and RAM usage


Production Workloads

  • Monitor max CPU and memory utilization over a period of three months to identify optimization opportunities in production environments.
  • For ASG(Auto Scaling Group), employ a mix of spot and on-demand instances. Select instance types as if they were standalone to optimize performance and cost.
  • K8s instances – Use Karpenter with Kubernetes to consolidate workloads and make use of spot instances more effectively. Additionally, implement Kubecost to gain better visibility into spending and resource utilization in Kubernetes environments.



Optimizing AWS EC2 requires a proactive approach focused on continual assessment and adjustment. By implementing the strategies discussed, businesses can achieve substantial cost savings while maintaining, or even enhancing, application performance.

For those looking to dive deeper into AWS cost optimization, consider partnering with WiseOps. Our platform offers a suite of tools designed to reduce costs and improve performance across your AWS services.


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