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Choosing the Right AWS Reserved Instance Types

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is notorious for its many cost-cutting opportunities. When it comes to AWS reserved instance types, you have three pricing options: AWS on-demand instances, reserved instances, and spot instances. Reserved instances (RIs) are great if you know you’ll need an instance of Amazon EC2 for an extended length of time, of at least one year, because they offer significant savings. And, reserved instances have three payment options; all up-front (AURI), partial up-front (PURI), or no upfront payments (NURI). Basically, the more time you pay for upfront, the larger the discount. If you go with the no upfront payment option, you’ll receive the smallest discount but you won’t be locked into a commitment over a length of time. However, that’s not all you need to know about AWS reserved instance types. Here are all the details you should consider when choosing the best AWS reserved instance types for supporting your business goals.

What to Know About AWS Reserved Instance Types

The distinctions between AWS reserved instance types and their use cases continue. When choosing between and of these, remember that the right RI reduces the cost of the resources you are going to use anyway. So you may as well commit to a specific length of time and get them cheaper! And choosing the right RI within your Availability Zone or Region helps increase availability whenever you see unexpected traffic spikes.

AWS Reserved Instance Types

  • Standard: Standard RIs may be exchanged for other RIs within the same family. For example, if you have several T2 RIs, you can exchange them for other RIs in the T2 family. But, your selection must stay within the T2 family.
  • Convertible: Convertible RIs allow you to exchange RIs with far more flexibility than standard RIs. For example, you can change an RI that is for a T2.large to an R5.xlarge, as long you pay the difference and it's of greater or equal value.
  • Scheduled: Scheduled RIs are available to launch within the time windows you reserve. They align your capacity reservation with a predictable, recurring schedule that only requires a fraction of a day, week, or month.

Get Help Choosing the Right Instance Type for Your Firm

To reap the full benefits of AWS reserved instances, you should consult an AWS managed services provider which can help cost optimize your AWS environment. An AWS consulting partner can help you fine-tune your RI spend based on factors such as your scope, tenancy, and platform. They can also help you determine if, when, and where you can use RIs to cut costs while maximizing cloud growth.

The reserved instance type you pick with should align with your IT strategy and augment the pursuit of your overall business goals. Because a qualified AWS managed services provider can not only help you determine which type best supports your strategy and goals, but can also optimize your reserved instances and the environment they fit into. 

Mission Has Helped Many Clients Make the Best Instance Choice

How can we be so sure we can help you? Because we’ve done it for many other clients—including Subatomic Studios, International Toy Manufacturer, and Exosome Diagnostics. Mission lowered Subatomic Studios' monthly RI expenses by 40% by optimizing their RIs and reducing their number. International Toy Manufacturer had over 650 instances at the end of 2015. Mission lowered their AWS footprint by more than 90 instances. Now, over 55% of their instances are RIs. Mission also helped Exosome Diagnostics by making their RI usage more efficient, thereby cutting costs. And if we can do it for them, we can do the same for you.

View Subatomic Studios' case study
View International Toy Manufacturer's case study
View Exosome Diagnostics' case study

How Mission Can Help

Mission is an AWS Premier Consulting Partner that’s experienced in helping firms like yours choose the best AWS reserved instance type to support your business goals. We can help you transform your need for RI resources into an opportunity for cutting costs. Mission can optimize any option you choose by:

  • Creating a detailed RI analysis report, along with customized RI recommendations and implementation that reduce computing costs.
  • Providing detailed payment invoices. 
  • Detailing your cloud spend to identify trends, and find new opportunities for savings and optimization.
  • Tracking budgets, spending, and performance with annual reviews.

If you’re looking for results, engage Mission. We can help you reduce RI costs while ensuring you have the right resources to support future cloud growth.



  1. How does the performance of Reserved Instances compare to On-Demand instances for high-load applications?

The performance of AWS Reserved Instances is comparable to On-Demand instances, as they provide the same compute resources. The distinction lies in pricing and commitment rather than performance, making Reserved Instances ideal for applications with predictable workloads.

  1. What specific scenarios or use cases benefit most from Scheduled Reserved Instances?

Scheduled Reserved Instances are particularly beneficial for workloads with predictable, recurring schedules that don't operate continuously, such as batch processing jobs that run nightly or weekly.

  1. Can Reserved Instances be automatically scaled up or down based on demand, similar to auto-scaling groups for On-Demand instances?
  2. Reserved Instances do not automatically scale in the same way as Auto-Scaling groups for On-Demand instances. Instead, they are purchased with a specific amount of computing capacity in mind, requiring manual adjustment or additional purchase to scale up.

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Jason Gay

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