Cost Optimization Solutions for Amazon WorkSpaces Management


Remote work has changed the game. Make sure your Amazon WorkSpaces are optimized so you’re not overpaying for the seats you use.

The pandemic and the associated move to remote work meant rapid growth in the use of Amazon WorkSpaces in many companies. While this provided the optimum solution, it also made monitoring and optimizing the cost of WorkSpace usage imperative. AWS WorkSpaces is a great solution to provide digital workspaces to employees, but It can be difficult to ensure that you’re getting the most cost-effective use out of it.

Optimizing WorkSpaces is made easy with Amazon WorkSpaces Cost Optimizer. This free tool analyzes all of your Amazon WorkSpaces usage data. It then automatically converts each WorkSpace to the most cost-effective billing option depending on your individual usage via a premade CloudFormation stack that sets up a lambda function.

This function runs every 24 hours and generates a detailed report outlining the changes made to your billing structure as well as the monthly usage of your workstations. You’ll be able to limit overspending on both underused and overused WorkSpaces. 

Deploying Amazon WorkSpaces Cost Optimizer puts you firmly in control of your WorkSpaces spend. Let’s take a closer look at how it works and the benefits.

How to use Amazon WorkSpaces Cost Optimizer

As we mentioned, the Amazon WorkSpaces Cost Optimizer solution analyzes usage data for all of your Amazon WorkSpaces. Your WorkSpaces are then automatically converted to the most cost-effective billing option – hourly or monthly – depending on your usage. This helps you monitor WorkSpace usage and optimize costs. Every 24 hours, the Optimizer uses AWS CloudFormation to analyze usage and automatically provision and configure AWS services and convert individual WorkSpaces.

To use it, download the template and create a new stack. CloudFormation prompts you with a set of parameters that allow you to customize billing thresholds and deployment VPCs. When you deploy this stack, it will create a Lambda function as well as s3 buckets for logging and reporting.

While this solution automatically converts the billing model, you can also manually change it at any time using the AWS Management Console or Amazon WorkSpaces API. The CloudFormation template includes parameters that will run these conversions and let you run the Cost Optimizer in dry run mode so it can see its recommendations before putting them into practice. 

Running modes determine availability and billing

The current running modes include:

AlwaysOn: Use this mode when paying a fixed monthly fee for unlimited WorkSpaces usage. This is best for users who use their WorkSpace as their primary desktop and always need instant access to a running WorkSpace. 

AutoStop: This should be used when paying by the hour for WorkSpaces. In this mode, WorkSpaces stop after a specified period of inactivity and the state of apps and data is saved. Set the automatic stop time by using AutoStop Time (hours). This mode is best for users who only need part-time access to WorkSpaces. 

Customize your cost optimization 

It’s not all or nothing. You can prevent the Cost Optimizer from converting a WorkSpace between billing models by applying a resource tag to the WorkSpace. Use the tag key Skip_Convert and any tag value. Tagged WorkSpaces will be logged, but they will not be converted. Tags can be removed at any time, and automatic conversion will be resumed for that WorkSpace. 

You might have some concerns about automatic changes to your billing settings. As we mentioned previously, there is a dry-run option you can enable in the parameters section of CloudFormation. Reports and recommendations will be generated, but the Optimizer will not modify your billing settings. Once assured, you can disable dry-run mode by updating the stack and changing the parameter.

Accept the default or opt-in regions

The cost optimization tool will monitor WorkSpaces in all available AWS Regions by default. This involves scanning for directories registered with Amazon WorkSpaces in the same AWS account. Alternatively, you can provide a comma-separated list of AWS Regions that you want to monitor in the list of AWS regions input parameters and limit the regions to monitor. 

Deploy in an existing VPC

Cost optimization requires a VPC to run the ECS task. A new VPC will be created by default, but you can deploy it to an existing VPC by providing the subnet IDs and security group ID as part of the input parameter. Your current subnet has a route to the Internet for the ECS task to pull the Docker image hosted in a public Amazon ECR repository. 

Terminate unused WorkSpaces

Terminate unused WorkSpaces on the last day of the month when all the criteria have been met. You can opt-in to this feature by changing the TerminateUnusedWorkSpaces input parameter to the CloudFormation template. The best practice is to run this feature in Dry Run mode for a couple of months and examine the monthly reports to review the WorkSpaces marked for termination. 

The benefits of optimizing AWS WorkSpaces are obvious. With continuous monitoring of data usage, it automatically:

  • Switches billing types to optimize your spending
  • Provides valuable insight via ongoing analytics and data reporting
  • Easy deployment and automation mean less work for scarce IT resources

With the Amazon WorkSpaces Cost Optimizer, you get automatic cost optimization with manual flexibility that adjusts to your business.

Get the ultimate in cost optimization from CloudHesive

Optimizing your AWS WorkSpaces can save you money, but real savings come with the help of an experienced company that understands the big picture when it comes to your unique business.

CloudHesive is a cloud solutions consulting and managed service provider with expertise in all things Amazon Web Services. We have eight AWS Competencies, more than 50 AWS Certifications, membership in nine Partner Programs, and the experience and knowledge to help your business realize all the benefits of AWS cloud.

We’ve helped more than 100 companies reduce their operating costs and increase productivity with our focus on security, reliability, availability, and scalability. With over 30 years of experience, we leverage cloud-based technology to its full potential. Contact the CloudHesive team today.

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