Say Yes to AWS: 3 Tools to Manage Cloud Costs

Customers regularly voice concerns about using AWS because of the fear of unexpected costs. In this post, we aim to shed light on tools to help you predict expenses, experience AWS for free, manage payments, and manage costs. We’ll also talk about how these tools can provide an improved understanding of AWS costs. By the end, we aim to make these topics less daunting and reduce the hesitation you might have towards embracing AWS solutions within your Mendix apps.

Last year, Mendix formed a strategic alliance to make our beloved platform the fastest and easiest way to build apps on Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS is the leading cloud platform offering 200+ fully featured services, empowering organizations with a scalable and cost-effective suite of cloud solutions. To learn more about the partnership with AWS, check out our Evaluation Guide.

To really illustrate what we’re going to cover, we’re taking a journey to the fictional New Garden County – a place where public service is a priority. Here, we’ll work with apps to conduct inspections in public spaces, addressing issues such as potholes, graffiti, or nuisances. These inspection jobs are routed through a back office before being assigned to the mobile device of an inspector out in the field. We will dive into one of these apps and discover how New Garden County controls its AWS costs.

New Garden County App

Predicting Expenses

At the start of our journey, New Garden County is considering integrating Amazon Location Service into their app for route calculations of their inspectors. With 300 inspectors running about, given an average of 10 – 20 daily route calculations per inspector, you can imagine that this figure can balloon quickly. The pressing question then becomes — how can the county accurately predict their monthly expenses to evaluate the potential value of this investment and make an informed decision?

Configuring Amazon Location Service

That’s where the AWS Pricing Calculator becomes a vital tool. By entering their expected daily route calculations, the county discovers that their anticipated monthly costs range from 45-90 USD. This prediction allows for effective budget planning, making New Garden County’s fiscal planning a whole lot brighter!

Learn more about the AWS Pricing Calculator.

Experience AWS for Free

While New Garden County is considering implementing Amazon Location Service to optimize route calculations, it’s understandable that they may have several questions, such as: What is the cost of implementing this new feature? Will the return on investment be worthwhile?

AWS Free Tier

That is where the AWS Free Tier becomes an incredibly useful tool. By taking advantage of the AWS Free Tier, New Garden County can trial the Amazon Location Service for three months. This provides the county with the utility of the service, without the financial commitment. It allows New Garden County to dip its toes in the AWS-waters, experiencing the value first-hand before committing fully.

For more information, read more here: Get Started with the AWS Free Tier.

Managing Payments

After the AWS Free Tier trial period where New Garden County addresses public issues, the time has come for them to handle their first bill.  To make everything as simple and efficient as possible, they choose AWS Billing as the solution.

AWS Billing

The AWS Billing console offers a range of features like managing New Garden County’s account and payment preferences, essentially serving as a personal finance manager:

  • Account Management: When the county realized that they were unnecessarily enabled in AWS regions irrelevant to their operations, they utilized the account management feature in AWS Billing to disable these regions.
  • Payment Management: New Garden County uses the payment management feature to configure their means of payment, and to view and settle their invoices in their preferred currency.

For a full list of features, refer to the AWS Billing Documentation.

Cost Management

Since New Garden County has successfully implemented Amazon Location Service, they are now considering adopting Amazon S3 to manage and store data from their various inspections. The data here may include photographs of the sites, inspector’s notes, or citizens’ feedback. In addition to that, a neighboring county learns about the solution and expressed interest in buying the solution for their inspectors. With these new developments, the concern arises about managing the costs for different services across counties. How can they effectively manage the costs across these apps?

Cost Management

These AWS Cost Management tools will aid New Garden County in effectively managing their costs:

  • AWS Budgets: New Garden County sets up two budgets, one dedicated to their own expenses and the other for the neighboring county. This arrangement enables precise cost allocation and the setting of customized alerts for each county, enhancing cost transparency and financial responsibility
  • AWS Cost Anomaly Detection: New Garden County configures an anomaly threshold, alerting them when a spike in route calculation usage occurs. This could enable them to quickly identify and address misconfigurations that may result in unexpected costs.

For a full list of features, refer to the AWS Cost Management Documentation.

Additional Resources

To help you manage your costs as effectively as New Garden County, we’ve handpicked a collection of additional AWS resources. Each is specifically aimed at enhancing your understanding of cost management, and you can find them in the Getting Started Resource Center, which serves as a central repository of resources, tutorials, guides, and documentation to help individuals to quickly understand and utilize AWS services effectively.

  • Control Your Costs Tutorial – provides insights on how to control costs while exploring AWS services using the AWS Free Tier and AWS Budgets. AWS Budgets can be used to set up custom cost budgets that send alerts when the budget is exceeded. We strongly recommend the tutorial on setting up an AWS budget — Step 4: Set up a cost budget.
  • Explore Your Costs Tutorial – provides insights on using AWS Cost Explorer to visualize, understand, and manage AWS costs. The guide shows you how to use AWS Cost Explorer to review AWS spending, dive into specific service costs, analyze month-to-date costs, and save custom reports.
  • Cost Optimization Best Practices Webinar – a collection of best practices, this webinar touches upon establishing cost visibility, technical optimization levers, tools, and strategic optimization mechanisms.
  • How to Monitor and Manage Your AWS Costs – a virtual workshop on monitoring and managing AWS costs. This hands-on webinar addresses improving cost awareness of your organization, the cost usage report, and includes demonstrations.

As you can see, the triad of AWS Pricing Calculator, AWS Billing, and AWS Cost Management provides a holistic approach to understanding and managing AWS costs. By embracing these tools, any financial concerns should be eased, and by using the AWS Free Tier, you can experience the benefits of AWS without immediate costs.

We hope this blog has demystified the cost management aspect of AWS. And we invite you to make your Mendix apps more cost-effective and smarter using AWS connectors from the Mendix Marketplace!

The AWS development team is here to answer any question, discuss potential collaborations, or provide advice tailored to your unique needs. Our team is one message away, you can reach out to us at [email protected], on the Mendix Community Slack in the #aws-general channel, or on the Mendix Forum.