FinOps - Simple ideas from a real-life case

Written by Airwalk Reply Senior Consultant Luca Giannone

Airwalk Reply is a leading AWS Partner I was sitting at my desk, trying to figure out the simplest way to describe how to implement some of the FinOps phases for a client presentation, when I received an email containing our internal AWS bill.
Our AWS accounts are mainly used for educational purposes, to create sandboxes and to play with the latest cloud services and DevOps tools, I assumed that the monthly cost wouldn't be too high, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that the bill amounted to $2000! Given the size of our company and cloud estate, I was imagining something closer to $500.
My inner FinOps mindset immediately kicked in, and I found myself scrolling the 98 (!) pages of the bill, looking for the details of spend per AWS service, and, unsurprisingly, I discovered that at the top of the list, were some of the usual culprits.

Example Costs
Service Monthly Cost $
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud  561.35
Elastic Load Balancing 231.56
Amazon OpenSearch Service 146.20
Amazon CloudWatch 61.26


I kept scrolling and found the cost allocation per each linked AWS account, and besides one account hosting our solution for cloud observability and compliance, Airwalk Airview, the rest were mainly sandboxes, but some were really expensive ones, so I reached out to the manager who allocated the accounts to discuss further and to identify who was responsible for each.
As a further exercise I identified the possible ways to reduce the cost of such accounts and based on the cloud services described above I produced actions and strategies, I also classified them into tiers by effort and complexity.


FinOps Strategies
Service Low hanging fruit  Intermediate Advanced
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
  • Shutdown unused instances
  • Ensure that every instance has a scheduled shutdown
  • Rightsizing 
  • Use spot instances
  • Use the latest generation instance types
  • Buy reserved instances
  • Move workload to native PaaS
  • Move workload to Kubernetes
Elastic Load Balancing  Remove unused instances
  • Consolidate multiple instances
  • Move from ELB to ALB
Use S3/CDN to store static content and reduce traffic

Amazon OpenSearch Service

  • Rightsizing
  • Delete old data
  • Implement Index Lifecycle Management
  • Migrate to the latest generation instance types
  • Use the latest EBS volumes
  • Buy reserved instances
Move to serverless
Amazon CloudWatch Turn off detailed monitoring for non-production Reduce the number of alerts, metrics and dashboards
Reduce log retention
Migrate to a centralised observability layer to provide more value and reduce cost


In the end, I reviewed my analysis and realised that I had quickly implemented two out of the three canonical FinOps phases: Inform and Optimise.


  • Analyse the bill to find the most expensive service/AWS account
  • Identify owners of the accounts


  • Identify cost reduction patterns

The above was only a theoretical exercise, but there is a very important message that can be distilled from it. The FinOps mindset can be adopted using really simple steps and on a small scale, and then its level of maturity can grow, in line with your company's journey to the public cloud. 

Are you looking for your own way to implement FinOps? We can help, get in touch with us


What is FinOps? Read more