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Vantage Launches ‘Savings Planner’ to Model AWS Savings Plans

Vantage Team
The Vantage Team

A demo of Vantage Savings Planner

Today Vantage announces the launch of Savings Planner: a set of planning and forecasting dashboards that allow you to view and model AWS Savings Plans to maximize cost savings. Savings Planner is part of a new "Financial Planning" section of the Vantage console that will visualize cost and usage data from your AWS account to provide you with a personalized forecasting and what-if scenario planning tools. Savings Planner can help customers yield up to 72% in AWS compute cost savings.

Previously, Vantage gave customers a set of analytics they needed to organize and report on accrued costs and see forecasts for the current month. While this showed the amount customers were spending on compute in aggregate, there was no way to easily see a breakdown of Savings Plan utilization or have any ability to forecast out on savings commitments accordingly. Customers received Savings Plans cost recommendations, but they were low fidelity and didn't have every permutation (1 Year or 3 Year, No-Upfront or Partial-Upfront or Full-Upfront, etc) available for customers to choose from. As a result, customers were forced to perform this work manually through the use of custom spreadsheets and one-off scripts that took weeks of engineering and finance time to build and maintain.

Now, with Savings Planner, Vantage customers have a set of devoted dashboards specific to modeling cost savings in addition to accrued costs. Savings Planner will ingest, process and analyze your cost data to provide you with planning and forecasting tools with data pre-filled from your connected AWS accounts to manage forecast Savings Plans. Customers can easily input different scenarios to perform what-if analysis and share financial reports with team-members. Soon, Vantage will offer an option to manage the entire process of optimizing and purchasing Savings Plans on your behalf in a few clicks for a share of the savings it finds.

Savings Planner is available to customers in the Business and Enterprise tiers today and is contingent upon enabling Advanced Analytics and granting proper IAM permissions. To get started with Savings Planner, head to the Vantage console or see more on the feature page.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is being launched today?

Today, Vantage is launching Savings Planner. Vantage will ingest and structure compute cost data from Cost and Usage Reports to give you planning and "what-if" scenario planning for making AWS Savings Plan purchasing decisions.

Customers can see historical cost data as well as input arbitrary values for on-demand usage for the next 12 months. Additionally, customers can model AWS Savings Plans via Savings Planner to forecast and see what the financial impact can be for applying Savings Plans at various points in time specific to their organization's planned usage.

2. Who is the customer?

Savings Planner is available to paying customers of Vantage Business and Custom tiers. Savings Planner is not available to customers in the Vantage free or Pro tiers. To see the full set of features and pricing per tier, head to the pricing page.

3. How much does this cost?

There is no additional cost for getting access to the AWS Savings Plan planning dashboards from Savings Planner as its worked into the subscription cost. Business plans start at $200 per month.

3. What are AWS Savings Plans?

AWS Savings Plans are discounts that you can receive for committed use for a specific term. Savings Plans have different terms (1 Year or 3 Year) and offer different discounts for upfront prepayment amounts (no upfront prepayment, partial upfront prepayment, full upfront prepayment).

AWS Savings Plans savings can range dramatically from 15% to 72% dependent on your specific type of compute used and what term and prepayment options you're comfortable making.

To read more on this topic, we have a blog post written here: https://www.vantage.sh/blog/what-is-an-aws-savings-plan

4. How does an AWS Savings plan differ from Reserved Instances?

AWS Savings Plans are different from Reserved Instances in that Savings Plans allow you to buy a bucket of committed use in dollars that AWS will apply to various compute resources automatically. As a result, the same Savings Plan purchase can apply to all types of EC2, Lambda and Fargate usage. In short, Savings Plans offer a high degree of flexibility.

Reserved Instances are conceptually the same - though are more rigid as they only apply to certain compute families. So for example if you bought reserved instances for General Purpose "M5" family instances, then switched your infrastructure to use compute-intensive instances like "C5", you would lose coverage of the savings and end up paying more.

To read more on this topic, we have a blog post written here: https://www.vantage.sh/blog/aws-savings-plans-vs-reserved-instances

5. What kind of information does Vantage Savings Planner provide me with?

Savings Planner will give you the following information:

  • A graphical and tabular historical monthly view of both on-demand and AWS Savings Plan spend for the trailing 12 months. The following data is included in the table for each month:
    • Raw Compute Spend: The raw compute cost your account uses before any savings plans or reserved instances are applied.
    • On-Demand Spend: The amount of on-demand costs that your account has incurred.
    • Savings Plan Commitments: The amount of savings plan costs that your account has incurred.
    • Savings Plan Savings: The total amount of saving you have yielded as a result of your savings plans
    • Savings Plan Coverage: A percentage coverage rate of AWS Savings Plans for your compute cost spend. Ideally the higher this is (up to 100% and not over), the better your cost savings are.
    • Reserved Instances: The amount of costs that Reserved Instances that your account has incurred.
    • Net Compute Spend: The total compute cost that your account has incurred after both on-demand, savings plan and reserved instance costs
  • A forecast for the next 12 months of on-demand usage, with the ability for you to augment numbers moving forward for scenario planning and what-if analysis.
  • A Savings Plan Inventory. Vantage will automatically profile for existing Savings Plans that your account has. The inventory will allow you to add additional savings plans purely for modeling purpose and they won't actually be purchased.

6. What integrations and/or additional IAM permissions are required for using Savings Planner?

Vantage will automatically detect potentially missing IAM permissions and ask you to enable them prior to using Savings Planner. The list of requirements are as follows and are also reflected on the permissions page of the official Vantage documentation:

  • savingsplans:Describe — Needed in order to display an inventory of AWS Savings Plans.
  • Enabling Advanced Analytics — Advanced Analytics creates a cost and usage report integration with your AWS account to Vantage.

7. I already have purchased Savings Plans that are actively being applied to my accounts, will Savings Planner show them?

Yes. Vantage will automatically detect existing AWS Saving Plans and visualize that in the dashboard accordingly.

8. I purchase Reserved Instances for EC2, will Vantage incorporate this?

Yes. Reserved Instances for EC2 will automatically be detected and displayed in the Savings Planner table.

9. I represent a startup that has AWS credits, am I a good candidate for using Savings Planner?

Probably not, no. AWS credits cannot be used for purchasing Savings Plans. Savings Planner is better suited for companies with recurring billed usage.

10. I’m starting to get up and running with Savings Planner by inputting potential on-demand growth scenarios with my team - is it possible to save these reports?

Yes. Savings Planner will allow you to input two things to be saved into a "Model". A Model consists of a few things:

  • A name
  • A set of values for future months' gross compute spend. For example, if it is December of 2020, you could input the next 12 months' worth of expected on-demand costs to be saved in a Saved Report.
  • One or more modeled Saving Plans. Each Savings Plan contained within a Saved Report will have a description (i.e. "Plan B for Acme, Inc."), a commitment (no-upfront, partial upfront, full upfront), a term (1 year or 3 year) and a proposed purchase date(i.e. January 2022).

12. I am part of a team - will everyone have access to Savings Planner and Saved Reports?

Yes. By default everyone in your account will have access to view and edit data in Savings Planner.

Vantage is working on more robust role-based-access-control (RBAC) features that will allow future refinement for who on your team can access this data moving forward.

13. Does Vantage support having real-time edits for multiple people on my team editing the same Saved Report?

No.

14. I am a user using the Vantage free or Pro tier, what happens when I try to view Savings Planner?

You will have access restricted, be unable to view any data and be prompted to upgrade your account to access Savings Planner. Upon subscribing and enabling Advanced Analytics, Vantage will give you access to Savings Planner.

15. Are there any circumstances under which Vantage is actually applying AWS Savings Plans to my AWS account right now?

Not at this time. Rest assured that Vantage will not make any financial commitments on your behalf at this point in time. In the future we plan to offer this functionality but it will be entirely opt-in and require your approval.

16. Can I export the data in AWS Savings Planner to CSV format to manage in Excel?

Not at this time.

17. Does Vantage have any opinion for a target Savings Plan utilization rate?

Vantage does not have any formal opinion but from speaking with a number of customers the target utilization tends to be somewhere between 85% and 95%. The level that companies are comfortable with targeting tends to be on related to the maturity of the company and their ability to accurrately forecast usage patterns for the next 12-36 months.

18. This process seems complicated and time-consuming - can Vantage manage it for me?

Yes, soon. Vantage will soon be launching a managed service for procuring Savings Plans on your behalf.

19. Can I view this data segmented for specific member accounts?

Not at this time but we are looking to gather feedback on this. Please feel free to give us feedback in our Slack community.

20. Can I view this data segmented for specific AWS regions?

Not at this time but we are looking to gather feedback on this. Please feel free to give us feedback in our Slack community.

21. Are there any risks with buying savings plans?

Yes. There is the chance that if you're "overcommitted" on savings plans relative to what you would spend otherwise in an on-demand fashion you will end up overpaying AWS.

22. I don’t understand some of the terms in the table - how do I learn more?

Vantage has added tooltips for you to hover over on all of the terms in the Savings Planner table that attempts to give some deeper descriptions.

23. How does Savings Planner calculate savings rates for modeling purposes?

Vantage has ingested over 2 million different savings rate permutations possible across EC2, Lambda and Fargate. As Vantage processes your Cost and Usage Reports it will use your direct usage data to infer what compute you're running and what your specific savings rates would be for each potential savings plan you buy. As a result, Vantage's methodology for forecasting savings is as accrurate as possible and will be more accurate with every single cost and usage report that is processed. Vantage uses the most recent previous month for forecasting this savings rate. As your infrastructure changes each month, Vantage will automatically infer new savings rates and use those accordingly without you having to update anything.

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