AWS Aurora Cut Our Database Costs for SQL ConstantCare® – Again.

In May, Amazon brought out a new Aurora I/O Optimized Serverless instance type. By switching to it, we cut our database costs by 43% overnight, saving us about $1,200 per month.

No strings attached. Just lower prices.

So what’s the magic? Well, customers of our SQL ConstantCare® service send us diagnostic data every day for thousands of SQL Servers around the world. We import that data, process it, analyze it, and then send emails with specific actions we want the customers to take on their servers.

It’s a lot of data shuffling around, which means a lot of IO. We bring in so much new data every day, and we only keep 30 days of it online. We can’t just tune queries to cut IO: it’s legitimately new data going into the system, and that’s gotta make it to disk. (We’ve even tried cutting the data we import, too.)

When we broke out costs per day, the top cost was IO:

That’s the magic of AWS’s newest serverless price offering: it’s specifically designed for people who do a lot of IO. Amazon’s press release said it would offer “up to 40% cost savings for I/O intensive applications where I/O charges exceed 25% of the total Aurora database spend.” That’s us, alright!

If you’re using AWS Aurora, and your StorageIOUsage costs are like ours, you owe it to yourself to flip the switch over to the new instance type. Go into the portal, modify your cluster, and check out the storage configuration options:

You can switch over to I/O optimized with just mouse clicks, no cluster changes or app changes required. If you find out the cost structure doesn’t work out in your favor, you can just switch right back. (AWS does have guardrails in place to make sure you don’t flip back & forth repeatedly for busy periods.)

This new change helped us confidently run free trials for SQL ConstantCare® this month, too. Why not try it and see what you learn about your SQL Servers?

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Would you recommend a free trial for a company that already has Solarwinds DPA?

    • I’d answer that with a question: do you have an Outlook rule to dump all its emails into a folder that you’ll “look at later”?

    • I am not sure what all the scope of what ConstantCare does is, but I do know that DPA is extremely limited in what it monitors and while less noisy than native SQL alerts, it also doesn’t alert on some things at all. I would not consider DPA an adequate monitoring solution on its own, for SQL Server. It focuses on the business and applications operations state of SQL server, Which is fantastic for an operations dashboard, finding problems that a user or application is likely to notice, but you won’t easily find the really fine grained stuff that do still pose serious problems to SQL that a DBA is responsible for.

      Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of DPA, I use it and am a huge advocate of its implementation for a SQL operations dashboard that anyone in the organization even somewhat aware of the network environment can understand. I also however use other monitoring tools for the smaller but important events in SQL, and I don’t use alerting in DPA at all, I just find alerting in DPA too limited and too difficult to work with to get more out of it.


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