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Using the RI Advisor to reduce AWS cost

Use Cloud Cruiser's RI Advisor to optimize your AWS costs using reserved instances (RI). The RI Advisor examines your usage patterns with EC2 instances and RDS databases and determines the number of RI that would result in the lowest cost for those patterns. Then, based on the number of RIs you currently own, it recommends the specific purchases, sales, and modifications that will get you to that number. The RI Advisor can even perform those actions for you, saving tedious work in the AWS portal.

The RI Advisor does not support Convertible RIs and Region-scoped RIs, introduced by AWS in October 2016. Its recommendations apply to Standard RIs scoped to an Availability Zone.

Before you begin

To use the RI Advisor to receive cost-saving recommendations, you must have the following permissions and settings:

  • You must have the View RI Advisor permissions capability to view the RI Advisor and the Perform RI Recommendations capability to purchase, sell and modify RIs in Cloud Cruiser. See Permissions.
  • In your AWS data collection settings, on the Manage Linked Accounts tab, select RI Advice for all accounts where you own RIs, as shown in the image below. If you do not have this option selected for your AWS data collection, click the Edit linked account settings link in the RI Advisor screen to navigate to your AWS data collection settings. See Managing AWS linked accounts.

    If you enable RI advice for a subset of the accounts where you own RIs, the recommendations HPE Consumption Analytics Portal offers will be inaccurate and might actually increase your cost. This is because the RI Advisor can't see all the RIs you own and could thus recommend purchasing to cover instances that are already running as RIs. Make sure to select all accounts that hold RIs.

  • If you selected RI Advice for any accounts and also want the RI Advisor to be able to perform its recommendations for you, do the following:

    1. Select Allow Cloud Cruiser to purchase, sell, and modify RIs for you at the top of the panel, as shown in the image below.
      This enables Cloud Cruiser users who have Perform RI Recommendations permissions capability to tell the RI Advisor to purchase, sell, and modify RIs as recommended. The user has the opportunity to review and adjust each action before the RI Advisor performs it.
    2. Decide which account Cloud Cruiser should use when purchasing RIs and select it in the Purchase column, as shown in the image below.
      All purchases that the RI Advisor performs for you will be made in this account.

For more information, see Managing AWS linked accounts.

AWS edit

Configure RI Advisor recommendations

To create recommendations

  1. In the left menu, click RI Advisor.
  2. If you have more than one AWS collection, in the Collection to Optimize drop-down list, select the collection you want to work with.
  3. In the Period drop-down list, select the period for which your historical AWS usage best represents future usage. Make sure the time period you select best represents your future usage, because the recommendations may change based on the time period you select.
  4. Choose how to purchase RIs by setting the two purchase options: Term and Payment. These will not affect the specific recommendations that the RI Advisor gives because a running instance is always less costly in the long term as reserved than on demand. The purchase options do affect the monthly savings, upfront cost, and break-even date of the RIs that the RI Advisor recommends you buy.

RI Advisor Options


The top of the recommendations shows you an overall view of your RI situation and the impact of the RI Advisor’s recommendations.

RI Advisor KPI


Each specific recommendation, and your decision to implement it comes at the level of an instance group.

For EC2, the instance group is defined by the instance type, availability zone, and operating system.

RI Advisor EC2


For RDS, the instance group is defined by the db instance class, the availability zone, database product and deployment model.

RI Advisor RDS

View recommendation details

The RI Advisor shows your instance usage for the selected period, charted as a band spanning your minimum and maximum usage within each day. The chart includes the number of RIs you currently own (Pending RIs and Active RIs), and the number of RIs that would have given you the lowest cost for that period (Recommended).

RI Advisor Legend

  • Pending RIs: How many sales are pending for RIs you have listed on the Reserved Instance Marketplace.
  • Active RIs: How many RIs of this instance group you currently own that are not pending to be sold. Any number of VMs of this instance group you use that are above the number of RIs you own, will be charged at on demand prices. A zero value means you do not own RIs for this group, and therefore all your instances of this group are running on an on demand basis.
  • Recommended: How many RIs the RI Advisor recommends you own, which may require a purchase, sale or modification of RIs.
  • Recommended RIs: Charts the recommended value over the time period you have selected for comparison to your actual use pattern.
  • Instances Used: Charts the actual use pattern of instances of the RI group over the time period you have selected. This includes all instances, regardless of whether they are running as an RI or on demand.

On the right side of the panel, the RI Advisor recommends specific actions you should take to get to that recommended number of RIs. This can be a purchase, a sale, or if you have too many RIs in this group and too few in another, a modification that can satisfy both needs. Sometimes two recommended actions are needed to get the most savings for a particular group.

To view the instance group in greater detail, click View Details or click the RI group link.

View hourly usage

Because AWS assigns reservations to your running instances every hour, the RI Advisor’s recommendations are based on hourly usage rather than the daily usage shown in the summary view. Examine usage at the hourly level to determine whether the pattern represents your likely future usage or you want to adjust the numbers recommended by the RI Advisor.

To view the instance group's hourly usage, click View Details or click the RI group link. On the Recommendations tab, make sure the toggle is set to Hourly Usage. This view shows you the peaks and valleys of your hourly usage. Make sure you choose a date range that represents what you expect your future usage to be.

The hourly chart gives a more granular view of usage to explain the RI Advisor recommendations. For example, if the RI Advisor recommends owning 2 RIs, but the daily chart shows a max usage of 10 instances every day, you might question the low recommendation. The hourly view could show that only a few hours a day have 10 instances running, while most of the day has only one or two.

View cost comparison over time

When the recommendations include a purchase you can use the Cost Comparison Over Time to see when you’ll break even based on your preferred upfront payment.

To view the instance group's cost comparison over time, click View Details or click the RI group link. On the Recommendations tab, make sure the toggle is set to Cost Comparison Over Time.

You can compare On Demand Cost (the blue line) to: No Upfront Cost, Partial Upfront Cost, and All Upfront Cost. The green line represents the Payment type you chose on the main RI Advisor page.

View transaction history

On the Transaction History tab, you can look at your previous purchases, sales, and modifications.

Purchase, sell, and modify RIs

If you prefer to perform the recommended actions yourself, you can link directly to the relevant page in the AWS portal by clicking Purchase in AWS.

However, if you have the necessary permissions configured both for this AWS collection and your user account (see Before you begin), you can have the RI Advisor perform its recommendations for you instead. You can do this for a single recommendation or let the RI Advisor perform all its recommendations to reduce your AWS cost as much as possible. You have the ability to select options, to adjust quantities, and ignore specific recommendations before launching each action.

The RI Advisor purchases RIs using the account selected in the settings for this AWS collection. See Before you begin.

There are three types of recommendations: Modify, Purchase, and Sell.

The RI Advisor provides this option as a convenience over manually performing modifications in AWS. The recommendation tells you how many RIs to modify to each destination group in order to split up larger instance types into smaller or combining smaller instance types into larger.

Note that the RI Advisor prioritizes a Modify over a Sell so that you can modify underused RIs instead of selling them.

A purchase recommendation means you should purchase additional RIs in order to reduce your overall costs.

A sell recommendation means you are under-utilizing an instance group relative to the number of RIs you own for it, and you should sell some or all of the RIs in order to reduce costs.

When selling RIs, if you have more than one reservation for the group to be sold, Cloud Cruiser uses the Sale Order that you’ve set. This specifies the order in which the attributes of your reservations should be compared to choose the reservation to sell, and which value should be sold first. The default setting will sell reservations from the highest hourly rate to the lowest, and when two or more have the same hourly rate, the one with the highest upfront cost will be sold first, and so on. You might create a Sale Order aimed at maximizing your savings, listing for sale the reservations that are most likely to sell, or following some other policy.

To set the sale order, click the gear icon in the upper right of the RI Advisor.

RI Advisor Set Sale Order

Video example

The following video is a high-level introduction to using the RI Advisor:

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