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AWS Cost Calculator: Easiest Guide to Estimating Your Cloud Costs

Alon Roitman

Channels and Cloud Alliances Lead, Intel Granulate

What Is the AWS Cost Calculator? 

The AWS Cost Calculator is a free tool provided by Amazon that allows users to estimate the cost of using AWS services. It provides users with an easy way to understand and control their AWS costs. The calculator lets you create a comprehensive estimate that includes costs for multiple AWS services, with a detailed breakdown that lets you plan and budget for your cloud services.

A useful feature of the AWS Cost Calculator is that you can adjust estimates as your needs change. You can add or remove services, change configurations, and see how these changes affect their costs. This allows you to test different deployment scenarios and see how they impact your overall cost.

You can access the AWS Cost Calculator here.

AWS Cost Calculator: Easiest Guide to Estimating Your Cloud Costs

In this article:

Key Features of the AWS Pricing Calculator 

Here are some of the key capabilities of the AWS Pricing Calculator:

  • Pricing breakdown: When you define service options in the AWS Cost Calculator, it breaks down the costs of each service, including different elements of service cost such as compute cost, storage cost, or data transfer costs.
  • Groups for hierarchical estimates: You can organize estimates in a way that reflects your organizational structure or project architecture. Create estimates for individual projects, departments, or teams.
  • Saving and exporting estimates: You can save estimates for future reference, or export them in various formats to share with others. 
  • Live pricing updates: AWS prices constantly change, and the calculator is updated with the latest pricing information.

Tutorial: Create and Configure an Estimate with AWS Cost Calculator 

Accessing AWS Pricing Calculator

To access the AWS Pricing Calculator, navigate to the AWS Pricing Calculator page on the AWS website. You can log in to your AWS account or use the calculator as a guest. However, if you log into your AWS account, you’ll be able to save your estimates for future reference. 

Create an Estimate

To create a new estimate, on the home screen, click the Create estimate at the top right corner. 

  • Start by naming your estimate. This will help you identify it later. 
  • Choose your region. AWS services are priced differently in different regions, so it’s important to choose the correct one.
  • Under Find service, type the name of the service you intend to use. Find the service in the search results below and click Configure.

Configure a Service

The next step is to configure the service you’ve added. The configuration options will depend on the service but typically include things like the instance type, storage capacity, and data transfer.

Below you can see the options for adding an Amazon EC2 instance (there are more when you scroll down), which include:

  • Region: Geographical region to run the instance in
  • Tenancy: Shared instance, dedicated instance, or dedicated host
  • Operating System: There are many options including Windows, Linux, and RHEL
  • Workloads: Choose the most appropriate workload traffic pattern.
  • Instance type: You can select an instance family, desired number of vCPUs and memory, or required network performance, and select from over 600 available instance types.
  • Payment options: Choose from Amazon’s pricing options, including on-demand payment, savings plans, spot instances, and reserved instances.
  • Other options: You can also specify add-ons like Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS), detailed monitoring, data transfer, and Elastic IPs.
Tutorial: Create and Configure an Estimate with AWS Cost Calculator 

When you finish selecting the relevant options, click Save and add service

Adding More Services

If your project involves more than one AWS service, you can add more services to your estimate. Use the search box to find another Amazon service and click Configure service again, as described above.

You can add as many services as you need, and each one will be listed separately in your estimate. This allows you to see the cost breakdown for each service, which can be helpful when planning your budget.

Once you’ve added all the services you need, click on the View summary button. The AWS Pricing Calculator will then compute the total cost based on the services and configurations you’ve specified. Your final estimate will look like this.

Tutorial: Create and Configure an Estimate with AWS Cost Calculator 

Best Practice for Generating Estimates with AWS Cost Calculator

Carefully Define Your Requirements

Before you begin using the AWS Cost Calculator, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of your project’s specific needs. This means identifying the types of services required, the expected workload, performance requirements, and the anticipated growth of your project. By having a detailed understanding of these requirements, you can make more accurate selections in the calculator, such as the appropriate instance type or the right amount of storage. 

A common pitfall is underestimating the scale of resources needed, leading to unexpected costs. Conversely, overestimating can result in paying for unused resources. Regularly updating your estimates to reflect changes in your project can also help in keeping costs aligned with actual usage.

Using Groups to Organize Your Estimates

Organizing your estimates using the ‘Groups’ feature in the AWS Cost Calculator can greatly enhance the clarity and effectiveness of your cost management. This feature allows you to categorize costs according to different parameters like departments, projects, or environments (development, testing, production). By doing this, you can gain insights into which parts of your organization or which projects are consuming more resources, and adjust accordingly. 

This practice is especially beneficial for larger organizations or complex projects where multiple services are used in different capacities. It also simplifies the tracking of costs over time, making it easier to identify trends and make informed decisions.

Add AWS Support Costs to Your Estimates

When creating an estimate, it’s important not to overlook the costs associated with AWS support plans. These plans, ranging from basic (free) to enterprise-level, offer varying degrees of technical support, response times, and resources. Including the cost of the appropriate support plan in your estimate ensures a more comprehensive understanding of the total expenditure. 

The choice of a support plan should reflect the criticality of the services used for your business operations. For instance, if you rely heavily on AWS for mission-critical applications, opting for a more advanced support plan might be necessary.

Compare Pricing Across Regions

AWS pricing varies across different geographic regions, and this can have a significant impact on your overall costs. When using the AWS Cost Calculator, it’s advisable to compare the costs of services in different regions. This comparison can reveal opportunities for cost savings, especially for services that are not geographically dependent. 

However, it’s also important to consider factors like data residency laws, latency, and the availability of specific services in each region. By evaluating these factors, you can make a more informed decision on which region offers the best balance between cost, compliance, and performance for your needs.

Related content: Read our guides:
Optimizing AWS costs
AWS cost calculator
AWS pricing ec2
AWS spot instances
AWS savings plan
Optimizing AWS costs
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