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Getting your head around costs is part of studying for AWS Certifications. But did you know there are services which have no cost at all?

Getting your head around how to optimise costs is part of studying for the AWS Certifications. But did you know there are services which have no cost at all?

I’ve been studying with Andrew Brown over on ExamPro where he mentioned this is something that sometimes comes up in exam questions.

This post is going introduce eight of those services, what they are useful for and situations when you will get charged.


Identity Access Management
Amazon VPC
Auto Scaling
CloudFormation
OpsWorks
Organisations and Consolidated Billing
CodeStar
Elastic Beanstalk
Getting Started


Identity Access Management

What is it?

IAM lets you control access to your AWS services and and resources.

You can create Users with security credentials or temporary security credentials to provide the access to services.

Access can be managed with Roles and Policies. Users are then assigned Roles making it easier to define who has access to what.

When might I be charged?

While you are not charged for IAM itself you will be charged for the services your Users spin up.

Make sure you have a plan for who gets access to what by using the Policy Simulator which is also offered at no charge by AWS.


Amazon VPC

What is it?

VPC is a network within your AWS account that holds your AWS services. Think of it as your own data centre.

You decide how big it needs to be by assigning a range of IP addresses. This is called a CIDR block (Classless Inter-Domain Routing) and it allows us to track and restrict the sort of traffic and users who can access our instances.

When might I be charged?

Your VPC is easily customisable. You can add NAT Gateways, Traffic Mirroring, Site-to-Site VPN connections, PrivateLink, then add Servers, Databases and other services as you wish.

All these come at a cost. Use the AWS Cost Explorer to make sure you know how much.


Auto Scaling

What is it?

Auto Scaling helps keep applications highly available by letting you add or remove EC2 instances based on rules you set up.

This can be made even easier with Dynamic Scaling that responds to changing demand, and Predictive Scaling that scales automatically.

When might I be charged?

While this service is free of charge, the cost of the EC2 you are running is paid for with the Dedicated, On-Demand, Reserved Instances, and Spot pricing models.


CloudFormation

What is it?

AWS CloudFormation lets you set up resources in an orderly and predictable way using sample templates, or create your own to match your use case.

When might I be charged?

There is no additional charge for CloudFormation but you will pay for the resources you create. Use the Total Cost of Ownership Calculator and the CloudFormation Designer so you know what you will be charged for.


OpsWorks

What is it?

AWS OpsWorks is a service that allows you to use code to automate the configurations of your servers. OpsWorks has three offerings – Opsworks for Chef, OpsWorks for Puppet Enterprise, and OpsWorks Stacks.

When might I be charged?

While you won’t pay for OpsWorks itself, you will pay for the resources as if you created them manually.


Organisations and Consolidated Billing

What is it?

AWS Organisations offers management for multiple AWS
accounts. You can apply and manage policies across multiple accounts without having to do this manually. Organisations also help with billing and you can set up one payment method for all your AWS accounts.

When might I be charged?

This service does not have a charge but services you create will. Check out the Total Cost of Ownership Calculator to see the complete picture of the costs across all Accounts.


CodeStar

What is it?

AWS CodeStar lets you manage the software development process all in one place so your team can collaborate and release code faster. Each project comes with a a dashboard and integration with Jira.

When might I be charged?

Like CloudFormation, there is no charge for CodeStar itself, but you will be charged for the resources you use in your projects.


Elastic Beanstalk

What is it?

AWS Elastic Beanstalk is a service used to deploy web apps. Upload your code, and AWS Elastic Beanstalk handles the deployment, load balancing and autoscaling.

When might I be charged?

You won’t pay to use AWS Elastic Beanstalk but you do pay for the services deployed. To get started, check out the documentation and cost guidelines to estimate how much you will be charged for your project.


Getting Started

If you are getting started with AWS, explore the Free Tier for more information on which services are included. Even if you are no longer in the Free Trial period there are services which are Always Free so it’s worth a look.

To see usage activity by service and region explore the Billing and Cost Management Dashboard and Trusted Advisor. This service analyses your AWS environment and provides best practice recommendations to optimise cost, performance and service limits.


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

By Helen Anderson

I’m passionate about technology and building data applications.