12 for '21 Cloud Optimization Series - Number Eight: Elastic IPs

Cloud spend is anticipated to continue its massive growth trajectory for the foreseeable future.  However, the spend does not have to match that same growth curve!  To help our Clients maintain sound Cloud Optimization programs, we've assembled a series of articles and tips called: 12 for '21 Cloud Optimization Series (note: request a download of all 12 here).

Our eighth chapter in the series: Elastic IPs

Elastic IPs (‘EIPs’)

An Elastic IP is static and  is assigned to a given instance regardless of the instance's state. The “elasticity” of the IP address enables you  to stop EC2 instances and transfer the IP address to another EC2 instance—or direct traffic to a second instance if a first instance fails. Similarly, it will incur costs if you  forget to release the EIP address associated with a stopped or terminated instance. 

Unused EIPs

As public (IPv4) internet addresses are a scarce resource, all AWS accounts are limited to five EIP  addresses per region. An unattached EIP address (e.g., not applied to a running instance) translates into a waste of $3.60  per month. Even though the costs of unused EIP addresses are relatively small, if you have  500  unattached IP addresses that could be released into the pool, that's $1,800 dollars a month in cloud spend saved. This is not an unusual situation for  companies running thousands of  VMs.

How to maintain control of EIP costs

Maintaining systematic control of EIP costs is a two-step process:  1) run the VPC dashboard  to identify unattached Elastic IPs and release them 2)  create  a policy to notify system administrators when an Elastic IP address has remained attached for a defined period of time.

For the First step, sign in the AWS management console then navigate to the  VPC (“Virtual Private Cloud”) dashboard [https://console.aws.amazon.com/vpc/]. In the left navigation panel, under Virtual Private Cloud section, choose Elastic IPs to filter the available EIPs and return the unattached ones. The second step (notification) enables administrators to investigate why an IP address is unattached and either reassign it or release it as appropriate. As a best practice, monthly Elastic IP charges should be as close to zero as possible.

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