Spending money on public cloud infrastructure isn't a bad thing - but spending wasteful money definitely is. AWS is known for consistently releasing not only new features but also adding updates to existing products. In December of 2020, EBS launched a new general purpose volume type named GP3 that is the latest generation general purpose volume type succeeding its ancestor aptly named GP2. In nearly all cases, GP3 provides not only better performance but also provides ~20% cost savings. By profiling thousands of Vantage customers, we've found that only 15% of general purpose volume types are GP3 and the remaining 85% are GP2 - primarily because AWS still in many cases defaults to creating GP2 volumes on your behalf and customers are typically unaware of the cost savings of switching to GP3. In this post we'll show you how to make these changes to save up to 20% on your EBS costs.
Just Show Me How To Save Money
Let's just cut to the chase to show how to modify volumes and save money. Modifying an EBS Volume from GP2 to GP3 doesn't impact the running volume and you can run an AWS CLI command that modifies the volume type using the following command where you replace "YOUR_VOLUME_ID" with your respective volume ID(s) you'd like to modify.
aws ec2 modify-volume --volume-type gp3 --volume-id YOUR_VOLUME_ID
That's it. The modify-volume command doesn't require any changes on your part. You don't need to detach the volume and as soon as you make this change, you'll begin reaping the benefits of using GP3 from a cost savings perspective.
Finding Candidate GP2 Volumes
Finding candidate GP2 volumes is relatively straight-forward. By logging into the AWS EBS console you can easily filter by volume type and set the value to GP2. If you use the AWS CLI you can also run the describe-volumes command like shown below:
aws ec2 describe-volumes --filters Name=volume-type,Values=gp2
If you're a Vantage user, Vantage will automatically profile your account for GP2 candidate volumes and surface them to you with the accompanying cost savings you can receive by upgrading them to GP3.
Additionally, there are third party solutions for making these upgrades continuously on your behalf for a small percentage of the savings. EBS Optimizer is one AWS Marketplace solution that you can subscribe to and will continuously making cost optimizations in regard to EBS on your behalf.
The Specifics On Cost Savings
For GP2 volumes that are smaller than 170GB, you can save exactly 20% by modifying them to be GP3. For GP2 volumes greater than 170GB, you have to provision IOPS and throughput which add to the cost of a GP3 volume. For the largest volume sizes you are still seeing 8% savings if you want to keep exactly comparable performance.
Optimizing Performance in Addition to Price
Lastly, beyond price, for the vast majority of EBS volume configurations, GP3 will actually boost your performance relative to GP2. So not only are you getting cost savings, you're also getting a boost in performance. Given how easy it is to modify volumes, this is one of the best cost optimizations you can make with very little impact on your infrastructure.