Maximizing Cloud Cost Efficiency with AWS FinOps Best Practices

Mar 8, 2024 | AWS

Research suggests organizations harnessing the power of Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud instead of relying on traditional on-premises data centers were able to cut their yearly IT expenditures by 25 percent. 

However, with the myriad of benefits of the AWS cloud comes the challenge of managing cloud costs effectively. As organizations increasingly migrate their workloads to the cloud, it’s important to implement robust financial operations (FinOps) practices to prevent costs from spiraling out of control.

In this blog, we’ll dive into what FinOps is, the pitfalls of uncontrolled cloud costs, and some of the top FinOps best practices. 

Understanding FinOps

Financial operations is a framework that combines financial management, technology operations, and business processes to optimize cloud spending. It involves collaboration between finance, engineering, and business teams to ensure that cloud resources are used efficiently and cost-effectively.

When used effectively, FinOps best practices on the cloud can help businesses experience 2.3 to 6.9 percent higher revenue growth compared to those that did not make the switch over the past decade.

5 Pitfalls of Uncontrolled Cloud Costs

While the cloud offers the promise of cost savings and agility, several factors can lead to unexpected expenses if left unmanaged. Here are some of the top costs that tend to escalate in the cloud:

  1. Unused Resources

One of the most significant contributors to cloud overspending is the presence of unused or underutilized resources. It’s easy for organizations to provision resources on-demand, but often they forget to deprovision them when they are no longer needed. Idle virtual machines, unattached storage volumes, and forgotten databases can quickly accumulate costs without delivering any value.

  1. Overprovisioning

Overprovisioning occurs when organizations allocate more resources than necessary to meet their workload demands. This often happens out of an abundance of caution or a lack of visibility into actual resource utilization. Running instances with oversized configurations or choosing high-performance tiers when lower ones would suffice can significantly inflate cloud bills.

  1. Data Transfer Costs

Many cloud providers charge for data transferred into and out of their networks. Organizations with high volumes of data transfer, such as those running data-intensive workloads or serving content to a global audience, can incur substantial costs if not managed carefully. Optimizing data transfer by leveraging content delivery networks (CDNs) and implementing efficient data transfer strategies can help mitigate these expenses.

  1. Suboptimal Instance Usage

Choosing the right type and size of instances is crucial for optimizing cloud costs. Running compute-intensive workloads on general-purpose instances or using on-demand instances for predictable workloads can lead to unnecessary spending. Utilizing spot instances, reserved instances, or exploring serverless computing options can help optimize instance usage and reduce costs.

  1. Lack of Visibility and Governance

Without proper visibility and governance over cloud spending, it’s challenging to identify cost optimization opportunities and enforce budgetary controls. Organizations need robust monitoring and reporting mechanisms to track resource usage, cost trends, and budget adherence effectively. Implementing policies such as tagging resources, setting spending limits, and establishing approval workflows can help enforce financial accountability across the organization.

Implementing FinOps Best Practices

To address these challenges and prevent cloud costs from spiraling out of control on the AWS platform, organizations can adopt the following FinOps best practices tailored specifically for AWS:

  • Establish Cross-Functional Teams: Bring together finance, engineering, and business teams to collaboratively manage cloud spending and align it with business objectives. Utilize AWS Organizations to create multi-account structures that enable centralized management and governance of AWS resources across departments and projects.
  • Monitor and Analyze Costs: Implement comprehensive cost monitoring and analysis tools such as AWS Cost Explorer and AWS Budgets to track resource utilization, identify cost drivers, and uncover optimization opportunities. Leverage AWS Cost and Usage Reports to gain granular insights into AWS spending and usage patterns.
  • Optimize Resource Allocation: Continuously right-size and optimize AWS resources based on workload requirements using services like AWS Compute Optimizer, which provides recommendations for EC2 instance types and sizes. Utilize AWS Auto Scaling to automatically adjust capacity to match demand and optimize costs.
  • Implement Cost Controls: Enforce budgetary controls using AWS Budgets to set custom cost and usage budgets for AWS services and receive alerts when spending exceeds predefined thresholds. 
  • Educate and Empower Teams: Provide training and resources to educate teams on AWS cost management best practices through initiatives like AWS Well-Architected Framework. Leverage AWS Trusted Advisor to access personalized recommendations for cost optimization and security improvements.
  • Regularly Review and Optimize: Conduct regular reviews of AWS spending using AWS Cost Explorer and AWS Cost Anomaly Detection to identify cost anomalies and take proactive measures to optimize costs. 

Effective cloud cost management is essential for organizations to maximize the value of their cloud investments and achieve sustainable growth. By understanding the common pitfalls that lead to uncontrolled cloud costs and implementing FinOps best practices, businesses can optimize their cloud spending, improve operational efficiency, and drive better business outcomes in the cloud-native era.

We Can Help

At nClouds, we specialize in helping organizations navigate the complexities of cloud computing and optimize their AWS environments for cost-effectiveness and performance. Our team of AWS-certified experts can assist you in implementing FinOps best practices, leveraging automation, and adopting cost optimization strategies to maximize the value of your AWS investments. 

Contact us today to learn more about how nClouds can help you achieve your cloud cost management goals.


nClouds is a cloud-native services company that helps organizations maximize site uptime, performance, stability, and support, bringing out the best of their people and technology using AWS