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Exploring AWS Rightsizing Recommendations

Originally Published January, 2024

Amazon Web Services (AWS) rightsizing processes are pivotal for striking that delicate balance between performance and cost. 

In 2023 alone, spending on cloud computing reached almost $600 billion, and much of this represents an overspending for businesses that could have reduced costs by using cloud platforms more strategically. 

This is a common dilemma among many businesses: either they spend too much on platforms like AWS or, even worse, they compromise their cloud computing performance to keep costs down. 

For both of these, rightsizing can be helpful. 

In this article, we’ll explore practical strategies and best practices you can use to optimize your AWS accounts, infrastructure, and cost management. 

Let’s get started. 

What is AWS rightsizing?

Rightsizing is the process of analyzing and adjusting your AWS resources so they’re the appropriate size and type for your workload needs. AWS rightsizing matches your AWS instances to your workload’s performance and capacity without wasting resources. 

Think of it as finding that sweet spot where you’re not overpaying for unused CPU or RAM but still have enough “oomph” to run your applications efficiently.

Two benefits of rightsizing include:

  • Cost savings: By analyzing your usage data, rightsizing helps you identify instances that are either too large or too idle. Downsizing these can lead to substantial cost savings.
  • Performance and efficiency: Selecting the right instance type or instance family can enhance the performance of your workloads.

Rightsizing is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process, ensuring you’re continuously optimizing as your needs evolve.

It’s a strategy that mainly impacts EC2 instances, but also applies to the broad AWS service suite. By optimizing your resource utilization, you’ll be running a more efficient cloud environment. 

What are the benefits of AWS rightsizing?

Rightsizing your AWS resources can dramatically influence both your cloud costs and system performance. You need effective cloud cost optimization and management to maximize your cloud investment. And if you get it right, the benefits can be significant.

Cost savings

By analyzing your usage patterns with Cost Explorer, you can identify underutilized resources and reduce AWS costs. Downsizing or terminating instances that are larger than necessary can slash your cloud bill without sacrificing functionality.

Improved performance

Rightsizing helps align your resource allocation with application demands. This alignment can improve your application’s performance. 

For instance, selecting the right mix of CPU utilization, memory utilization, and storage ensures your resources are not preventing your application’s capability to run efficiently.

Enhanced efficiency

Efficiency in the cloud isn’t just about reducing costs; it’s about optimizing your compute resources. 

With rightsizing, you can streamline your resource consumption, ensuring each instance runs with the ideal configuration for its workload. So your infrastructure is lean and more environmentally friendly by reducing wasted compute power.


A rightsized environment is easier to scale. When your resources are appropriately aligned with your needs, scaling up or down in response to traffic spikes or decreases is more straightforward and cost-effective. 

Such agility is crucial for businesses needing to adapt quickly to changing market conditions.

Better resource management

AWS rightsizing offers more granular control over your resources. You can identify opportunities and implement changes that lead to better resource management. 

For example, setting preferences at the organization, account, or regional level with AWS Compute Optimizer can provide more transparency and control over your resource allocation.

By taking advantage of rightsizing, along with various cost management tools, you set your cloud environment up for financial efficiency and high-performance operations.

How to assess your AWS resource usage

Assessing your AWS resource usage is essential to optimize costs and maintain efficient operations. This section outlines how you can keep track of what you’re using and identify areas for improvement.

Monitoring tools

Start by setting up monitoring tools like Amazon CloudWatch. This service collects and tracks utilization metrics, giving you a granular view of your resources. Be sure to monitor key services like Amazon EC2 instances, Amazon S3 storage, and databases. CloudWatch helps you react to changes in your AWS environment quickly.

Collect data over time

To gauge your resource use effectively, you need to collect data at regular intervals over a specified period of time. A single snapshot doesn’t give the full picture. 

You should gather data for at least two weeks to cover varying usage patterns. AWS Cost Explorer can help with this by providing a historical view.

Analyze performance metrics

Next, dive into the performance metrics. Evaluate CPU, memory, and storage usage to understand how well resources match your workload. Look for instances where utilization is consistently low—this is a sign you could downsize without impact.

Document and record your analyses

Finally, document and record your analyses. Keeping a log of your current and past resource usage helps track trends and makes future planning more straightforward. It’s also useful when you need to communicate your AWS environment’s status to team members or stakeholders.

These assessments should be regular and systematic as they play a critical role in ensuring you don’t overspend on resources you don’t need or under-provision, leading to performance issues. 

ProsperOps can help streamline the process, offering vital FinOps automation tools that automatically analyze and optimize your AWS costs.

By following these guidelines, you’ll establish a strong foundation for managing your AWS infrastructure.

Identifying AWS rightsizing opportunities

Knowing how to spot AWS rightsizing opportunities is crucial for optimizing your cloud infrastructure both in performance and cost. 

Remember, it’s about finding that sweet spot where your instances match your workload without draining your budget. 

Monitor usage and performance

Set up usage monitoring for your EC2 instances. You want to track not just CPU and memory, but also Disk I/O and network throughput. Items to track include:

  • CPU usage: Regularly check average and peak CPU usage.
  • Memory usage: Monitor memory consumption patterns.
  • Disk I/O: Assess the input/output operations per second.
  • Network throughput: Keep an eye on the data processed by the network interfaces.

This comprehensive view will illuminate under or overused instances.

Analyze cost and usage reports

Dig into AWS cost and usage reports to understand your spending patterns. Look for:

  • Reserved Instances (RIs) usage: Verify if RIs match the workload.
  • Savings Plans efficiency: Check if you’re effectively using Savings Plans.
  • On-Demand Instances: Identify opportunities to shift to Reserved Instances or Savings Plans.

By closely analyzing AWS cost and usage reports, you can optimize your spending by strategically managing the above items. 

Conduct load testing

Perform load testing to evaluate how your instances respond under stress. This will help ensure you’re not over-provisioning for everyday use but can still handle peak demands.

  • Use AWS tools or third-party applications to simulate traffic and user behavior.
  • Analyze the response to find out if you can downsize without performance risk.

Conducting load testing with AWS or third-party tools helps you balance everyday efficiency with peak demand readiness, potentially allowing for safe downsizing without compromising performance. 

Use AWS Trusted Advisor

Leverage AWS Trusted Advisor to receive tailored insights about your environment. It highlights how you can rightsize instances, helping you make informed decisions about your infrastructure setup.

  • Service limits: Check if you’re close to hitting service limits.
  • Security: Identify security gaps that could affect performance.
  • Cost savings: Get specific recommendations for cost optimization.

AWS Trusted Advisor helps you make well-informed infrastructure decisions with insights on service limits, security vulnerabilities, and cost-saving opportunities. 

Evaluate application requirements

Finally, evaluate your application requirements thoroughly. Each application may have unique needs that influence the choice of instance type.

  • Performance testing: Ensure instances meet the performance requirements of your apps.
  • Performance risk: Balance the need for power versus the risk of underperforming resources.

Remember, rightsizing isn’t just about cutting costs—it’s about aligning your resources to serve your business needs optimally. You can’t afford to overlook rightsizing opportunities, as they reduce overheads and ensure each aspect of your AWS environment is tailor-fit for its purpose.

Implementing AWS rightsizing recommendations

The AWS Cost Explorer is your go-to tool. It provides tailored recommendations for your resources and focuses on reducing cloud costs and improving efficiency. 

You’ll find suggestions, such as switching off idle instances or picking a different instance family that suits your CPU usage patterns better.

To start, navigate to the AWS Cost Explorer UI and enable rightsizing recommendations. 

Next, AWS Compute Optimizer takes the manual work out of crunching your usage data from Amazon CloudWatch to make spot-on suggestions. 

A balance of performance needs and cost management becomes easier because Compute Optimizer taps into your usage trends and offers recommendations that make sense for your workload.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Review recommendations: Look out for instance types that could be smaller, bigger, or a different family.
  • Test the waters: Before jumping ship, test the recommended instances to make sure they fit the bill.
  • Automate with caution: While automation is needed, it’s wise to approve changes manually at first to avoid surprises.

Best practices to follow

When you’re diving into AWS rightsizing for your EC2 instances keep in mind that this process isn’t just about slashing costs—it’s about enhancing your organization’s cloud optimization

Here’s how to make it work for you:

  • Start with non-critical instances. Get a feel for the process and potential savings without impacting your core operations.
  • Make incremental changes. Observe and understand the impact without overwhelming your system.
  • Embrace automation. Tools like AWS Compute Optimizer can provide data-driven insights for scaling resources dynamically.
  • Review utilization data frequently. You’ve got to keep an eye on performance metrics to ensure you’ve sized your instances to match your needs.

Downsizing isn’t the only path to savings. Consider converting to Savings Plans for predictable usage, which can offer significant cost benefits. Optimizing storage choices and selecting the right instance types for your workloads are also crucial steps.

Maximize AWS efficiency with ProsperOps

Deploying robust AWS cost optimization strategies, including but not limited to rightsizing, such as Reserved Instances or Savings Plans, can greatly complement your efforts. 

Regularly assessing and adjusting your AWS resources is key to maintaining cost efficiency. ProsperOps can play a pivotal role in this continuous improvement process, helping you make the most of your AWS investment and ensuring your resources are always properly aligned with your needs.

Discover how simple adjustments can lead to significant savings. Book a demo with ProsperOps today.



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