Why Switching Off AWS EC2 Turns Us On!

Amy SpiraBill OptimisationLeave a Comment

Spinning up cloud computing servers is the bread and butter of DevOps professionals. But what about switching them off? A recent poll of AWS customers revealed that the vast majority are spinning up their servers but forgetting to turn them off when they’re no longer required.

Non-production servers are generally only used during regular business hours, when the bulk of development, testing and staging occurs. However, it is very common to see non-production servers up and running 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Developing a practice of turning off servers when they aren’t being used (or, better yet, automating that practice) can yield significant benefits. Even Amazon CTO Werner Vogel is on board, telling customers to turn off their instances when they go home for the night at a recent AWS summit in New York.

With this in mind, here are our top 3 reasons for switching off your servers.

Switching off EC2s saves money

AWS charges cloud users by the hour. As a result, the longer you leave your servers running, the bigger the bill you can expect to see at the end of the month.

Implementing an “off policy”, either manually or by setting up a Power Cycle, can save you upwards of 60% off your monthly bills, without impacting the amenity you get from the cloud. Put simply, you should really be thinking about how to schedule EC2 instances.

For example, a Power Cycle which turns your servers on at 8am every weekday and off at 6pm every weeknight would cut the base hours for calculating your cloud costs from 168 hours/week to 70 hours/week. Depending on the size of your infrastructure, the resultant savings could be in the region of tens of thousands, or even millions, of dollars every year.

Switching off is better for so many ecosystems

You wouldn’t leave your shower running when you’re not using it. Why? Putting aside the money you would waste on astronomical water bills, if you left the water running unnecessarily, you would be wasting a precious resource needed by others.

When you turn off your instances, you are not only saving money – you are also freeing up space which can then be used by active instances. The more efficiently you use the cloud, the better it operates for everyone.

However, curtailing wastage of cloud resources doesn’t only impact the virtual ecosystem, it can also yield benefits for the natural environment.

While cloud service providers are making significant efforts to reduce carbon omissions, data centres remain heavily dependant on non-renewable energy sources. As more and more businesses move their infrastructure to the cloud, the environmental footprint of the increasing number of physical data centres worldwide is set to soar. Help keep the environmental impact of the cloud down by ensuring that existing resources can service as much demand as possible, limiting the need for additional power-hungry data centres.

Switching off your servers keeps them secure

To put it simply, servers are harder to hack when they are off. Further, while your servers are off, they use fewer ancillary resources, such as scanning or monitoring to deter viruses and other security threats.

Because it’s easy

While it can be tricky and time consuming to log into your AWS account every evening to turn off your servers, it couldn’t be easier to implement a resource-saving off policy than it is with Power Cycle.

Power Cycle allows you to set up a policy which will automatically switch your servers on and off at times of your choosing. Set different policies for different regions, and configure policies across different accounts, in minutes.

Best of all, you can implement your first Power Cycle for free as part of our Free Tier. Get started today!

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