Identify Expired AWS Snapshots For Backup Storage Cost Savings

July 13, 2022

One of the typical arguments for moving backup infrastructure to the cloud is cost savings. After all, doing away with data centers and upfront investments in hardware, not to mention continuous maintenance, is an easy sell. This absolutely holds true. Organizations are saving money via cloud digital transformations.

However, moving to cloud-based backup operations doesn’t negate the fact that we are still dealing with operations. This means that variable costs, storage usage, and cost management continue to be relevant topics. As a result, transitioning to the cloud doesn’t eliminate these challenges. Rather, it changes how we must review backup operations to ensure efficient, cost-effective management.

AWS backup operations are a prime example of this. With the right oversight, you can manage costs and mitigate unexpected expenditures. But it requires active management. Let’s look at two typical areas where better AWS snapshot management yields improved storage cost savings.

1. Isolate & Delete Orphaned Snapshots For Backup Storage Cost Savings

Unused or overlooked snapshots become orphaned snapshots very quickly. This doesn’t impact day-to-day backup operations. However, these orphaned snapshots take up valuable storage space over time. Unless you actively manage orphaned snapshots, you’ll have a culprit slowly siphoning storage fees.

Doing this with Bocada is simple, and automatic. AWS assigns a “vol-ffffffff” value to a snapshot’s VolumeID. Through Bocada’s automated AWS Snapshot report, you receive a list of all snapshots within your environment. Included in this are clients with the “vol-ffffffff” value. With a simple criterion setting in Bocada, you can consolidate the data into a ready-made list for regular orphaned snapshot review and cleaning.

Backup Storage Cost Savings - Orphaned Snapshots

2. Isolate & Delete Expired Snapshots For Backup Storage Cost Savings

Another common storage usage culprit is expired snapshots. Because cloud storage feels infinite, there’s rarely a focus on cloud data purges. As a result, expired snapshots are likely lingering in your backup environment, taking up space and incurring storage fees.

Once again, Bocada’s AWS Snapshot report helps solve this problem. Formatting the report to include key columns—snapshot date, expiration date, retention period, and expiration readiness—creates a consolidated list of all expired snapshots. At the same time, it provides the necessary data to confirm that the snapshots are expired and purging them is within compliance guidelines.

Backup Storage Cost Savings - Expired Snapshots

Keeping An Eye on Storage Usage…Even In the Cloud

Whether we’re looking at orphaned or expired AWS snapshots, the underlying goal is the same: find ways to moderate cloud storage usage and storage costs.

What this shows us is that cloud backup transformations haven’t changed the need to manage storage usage and fees. Rather, they’ve simply changed how we oversee storage usage. Whereas on-prem storage usage was about managing storage capacity and minimizing the need to invest in new storage devices, cloud storage usage is about managing data proliferation and minimizing storage usage fees.

Backup monitoring and reporting solutions like Bocada greatly simplify this process. By automatically collecting data on backup jobs and storage usage, be they AWS snapshots or other resource types, Bocada simplifies storage usage oversight to cut costs and stay within expected budgets.