Optimizing AWS EKS COSTS #1 Best Practices and Strategies in 2024

Bhupali Tambekar
AWS EKS costs

This blog explores into cost optimization techniques specific to AWS EKS, such as right-sizing clusters, leveraging spot instances, and optimizing networking/storage costs. It could also include tips on monitoring and managing EKS costs effectively.

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) is a cornerstone of cloud infrastructure, offering a managed environment to run Kubernetes on AWS without the hassle of installing or operating your own Kubernetes control plane. AWS EKS simplifies the deployment, management, and scaling of containerized applications using Kubernetes, an open-source system designed for orchestrating containerized applications across a cluster of machines.

EKS holds immense significance in the cloud services landscape by enabling businesses to:

  • Deploy applications swiftly and efficiently
  • Ensure high availability and reliability
  • Scale workloads dynamically in response to changing demands

With the rapid pace of digital transformation, there has been a notable uptick in the adoption of containerization and orchestration technologies. EKS has emerged as a popular choice among organizations seeking to harness the benefits of Kubernetes without the complexities of managing it. As the adoption continues to rise, the focus shifts towards optimizing EKS costs to maximize return on investment while upholding operational excellence.

Understanding Kubernetes Costs with AWS EKS

While EKS streamlines many aspects of running Kubernetes, it introduces various pricing components that can impact overall cloud expenses. Effectively managing and optimizing these costs are paramount to ensure that resources are utilized efficiently without unnecessary overspending.

This guide explores a range of strategies aimed at enhancing cost efficiency within EKS deployments. Here are some key techniques covered:

  • Analyzing cluster component charges to identify areas for optimization
  • Right-sizing EC2 instances to match workload needs and avoid overprovisioning
  • Leveraging autoscaling to dynamically adjust resources based on demand
  • Embracing Spot Instances for cost-effective compute capacity
  • Optimizing with AWS Fargate to explore serverless computing options
  • Minimizing data transfer costs through network efficiencies
  • Employing savings plans and reserved instances for long-term cost savings

These techniques aim to strike a balance between cost savings and maintaining performance and reliability. By implementing these strategies, organizations can achieve economic efficiency in their EKS deployments while supporting their operational objectives effectively.

Understanding AWS EKS Costs

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS) simplifies running Kubernetes on AWS without the need to install, operate, and maintain your own Kubernetes control plane or nodes. It offers features such as a managed Kubernetes control plane, security integration with AWS IAM, and automatic high availability across multiple AWS Availability Zones.

Pricing Components

To effectively manage AWS EKS costs, users must understand the various pricing components:

  • EKS Cluster Creation: Users incur a fee for each hour their EKS cluster runs.
  • Compute Resources: Charges are based on the EC2 instances or Fargate resources used by Kubernetes worker nodes.
  • Data Transfer: Costs associated with data transfer within and outside AWS regions.

The Role of AWS Well-Architected Framework

The AWS Well-Architected Framework guides cost optimization efforts for EKS by recommending best practices and strategies for building efficient systems on AWS. When applied to EKS, it emphasizes:

  • Cost Optimization Pillar: Focuses on avoiding unnecessary costs and understanding where money is being spent.
  • Resource Efficiency: Ensures the use of cost-effective resources and scaling patterns.
  • Performance Efficiency: Focuses on using computing resources efficiently to meet system requirements.

By adhering to the principles of the Well-Architected Framework, organizations can design and operate cost-efficient architectures that scale with business needs.

Analyzing and Optimizing Cluster Component Charges

The first step in optimizing EKS costs is analyzing and understanding the charges associated with cluster components, primarily EC2 instances serving as worker nodes. Right-sizing EC2 instances is essential, involving:

  • Analyzing Workload Requirements: Understanding workload resource requirements using tools like AWS CloudWatch.
  • Choosing the Right Instance Type: Selecting EC2 instance types that match workload needs.
  • Understanding the Bill: The first step is to understand what you’re paying for. AWS EKS charges primarily for the EC2 instances that run your workloads. The size, type, and how you pay for these instances (on-demand vs. reserved) all impact the cost.

Right-Size Your EC2 Instances:

  • Matching Resources to Needs: Don’t waste money on oversized instances! Analyze your workload requirements using tools like AWS CloudWatch to see how much CPU, memory, and other resources your applications actually use. Then, choose EC2 instance types that closely match those requirements.

Explore Spot Instances for Savings:

  • Taking Advantage of Unused Capacity: Spot Instances are spare Amazon EC2 compute capacity offered at steep discounts (up to 90% off!). They’re a great option for workloads that can tolerate interruptions, such as batch jobs or data analysis. Tools like kube-spot-termination-notice-handler can help ensure smooth operation by gracefully draining pods before an instance is reclaimed.

Additional Cost-Saving Techniques for EC2 Instances:

  • Reserved Instances: For predictable workloads, consider Reserved Instances (RIs) which offer significant discounts (up to 75%) for upfront commitments to specific instance types. Use RIs for your base workload and supplement them with on-demand or spot instances for peak usage.

Leverage Autoscaling Mechanisms:

  • Paying Only for What You Use: Autoscaling automatically adjusts the number of EC2 instances in your cluster based on demand. This helps ensure you’re only paying for the resources you actually need. Cluster Autoscaler and Horizontal Pod Autoscaler (HPA) are key tools for achieving this.

Optimize Instance Hours and Pod Resources:

  • Focus on Efficiency: Instance hours and pod resource allocation significantly impact your cloud spend. Here’s how to optimize them:
    • Spot Instances: Leverage spot instances for workloads that can handle interruptions.
    • Pod Resource Management: Allocate only the necessary CPU and memory resources to your pods. Use monitoring tools to adjust allocations as needed.
    • Downscale Deployments: Implement policies to scale down or terminate non-critical deployments during low traffic periods.

Explore AWS Fargate for Labor Cost Savings:

  • Serverless Compute for Kubernetes: Fargate removes the need to manage servers for your EKS cluster, freeing up your development team to focus on application logic. This can lead to significant labor cost savings. Additionally, Fargate’s pay-as-you-go model ensures you only pay for the resources your pods use.

Minimize Data Transfer Costs:

  • Streamlining Network Activity: Data transfer can be a hidden cost factor. Here’s how to reduce it:
    • VPC Peering and Transit Gateways: Establish private connections between your AWS EKS cluster and other AWS services to avoid internet gateway fees.
    • Caching Strategies: Implement caching at the application layer, use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), and leverage in-memory data stores to reduce reliance on network calls.

Leverage Savings Plans and Reserved Instances:

  • Long-Term Cost Optimization: AWS offers compute savings plans and reserved instances that can provide significant discounts for sustained workloads. Choose the option that best suits your needs based on flexibility and commitment requirements.

Continuously Monitor and Optimize:

  • Maintaining Efficiency: Regularly monitor pod metrics using tools like Prometheus and Grafana. This allows you to identify areas for improvement and fine-tune pod requests and limits to prevent overprovisioning of resources and worker nodes. Additionally, automation tools like kube-downscaler can help dynamically scale down unnecessary pods during low-usage periods.

By following these steps, you can gain control of your EKS costs and ensure you’re getting the most out of your Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service investment.


A robust EKS cost optimization strategy is essential for maximizing ROI while maintaining performance and reliability. By employing a combination of techniques such as right-sizing instances, leveraging autoscaling mechanisms, embracing spot instances and AWS Fargate, minimizing data transfer costs, and utilizing compute savings plans and reserved instances, organizations can achieve significant cost savings without compromising operational excellence. Ongoing monitoring, analysis, and adjustment are vital to ensuring that AWS EKS environments remain cost-efficient and high-performing in dynamic cloud environments.

Looking to optimize your AWS EKS costs and utilization? Talk to Comprinno today. Comprinno’s cloud cost observability platform helps you measure and rightsize your cloud costs, providing complete control over your cloud bills.

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