Understanding AWS savings plan VS Reserved Instances

AWS Savings Plan vs Reserved Instances

When it comes to cloud computing services, AWS is the absolute king. But even in the sphere of beneficial saving plans that promote economical scaling, AWS is surely not lagging behind. With numerous other discount offers, the top most advantageous plans for cloud cost optimization include the AWS savings plan VS Reserved Instances. But, there are so many discrepancies in their usage and benefits that they both have been used interchangeably. To start with a fundamental understanding, they are compliments to each other and not substitutes. Of course, that is not all to solve all the chaos, so here is everything you have exploring about AWS Savings Plan & AWS Reserved Instances. Let’s get started.

What is the primary difference between AWS Reserved Instances and Savings Plan?

The primary difference between AWS Reserved Instances and Savings Plan is that Reserved Instances are based on a commitment to use a specific instance type at a fixed price for a specified period, while Savings Plans are based on a commitment to spend a specific dollar amount per hour on any EC2 instance type over a specific period.

AWS Reserved Instances explained

Instances are virtual environments that you can use on an hourly basis to deploy your applications and programs. So, the “Reserved Instances Program” offered by AWS is a discount pricing program that allows you to save a maximum of 75% on On-Demand Instances when purchased on an advance basis for a long-term commitment of 1-3 years of tenure. With Reserved Instances: RIs, you can “reserve” a defined amount of computing power (instances) through advance payments. Reserved Instances are bifurcated into two types i.e. Convertible Reserved Instances and Standard Reserved Instances.  

AWS savings plan explained 

Amazon Web Services launched AWS Savings Plans, a dedicated spend discount program, in November 2019. With AWS Savings Plans, you sign in to one or three years of On-Demand Instances at a subsidized price rather than buying actual instances. This discount can save you up to 72% off the standard On-Demand cost. AWS EC2 savings plan, Compute Savings Plans, as well as Amazon SageMaker Savings Plans, are the three different types of Savings Plans provided by AWS.

Depending on the plan you’re subscribing to and the length of your commitment, the AWS savings plan pricing changes. Amazon provides terms of 1 and 3 years with No Upfront, Partial Upfront, and All Upfront, similar to RIs. In essence, the reductions depend on your level of commitment but can reach 72%. An AWS savings plan calculator can be a major help here. 

AWS savings plan vs reserved instances: Comparing the details

So, we have got the basics cleared. But, how do the reserved instances and the savings plan differ in the technical aspects? Here are the technical distinctions between the two counterparts:

  • Fundamental Difference

Reserved Instances are built on the commitment to utilize an instance at a specific price over a specific term. Whereas, Savings Plans are built on the commitment to spend a specified dollar amount per hour over a defined period.

  • Flexibility Offered

Convertible Reserved Instances are allocated to a specific location/region, instance type, os version, and tenant. And, Once you’ve purchased RIs, you cannot edit these. Whereas, Compute Savings Plans offer a variety of locations/regions and use kinds. 

  • Repurposing Cloud Computing

You are able to repurpose your Cloud compute savings plans and move workloads between instance types irrespective of the operating system or tenancy. In contrast, you might employ different instance types with Standard Reserved Instances but, a Linux OS and Default Tenancy are prerequisites.

  • Applications covered

Reserved Instances can be conveniently applied across Amazon EC2, Elasticsearch, Relational Database Service (RDS), and RedShift. But, the Compute Savings Plans only support the other three and not Amazon RDS.

  • Selling support in the AWS Marketplace

The AWS Reserved Marketplace allows you to resell extra RIs or buy more Standard RIs via a 12% service charge. In order to increase your commitment without resetting your contract, you can also exchange your convertible RIs. Whereas, savings Plans cannot be bought or sold through AWS Marketplace.

  • The discounts offered

Reserved Instances have greater discounts, particularly for periods longer than three years. Whereas, the AWS savings plan offers restricted discounts up to a maximum of 72%.

AWS Savings Plan & AWS Reserved Instances: Which one is better?

You’ll discover that AWS Savings Plans give the same discounts as Reserved Instances and have one major advantage over them: the flexibility to make infrastructure modifications while still receiving the same discounts. Depending on the different terms, payment, and EC2 instances you pick, you’ll easily see hourly savings rise towards 20, 30, 50, and even 70%.

With more flexibility, AWS Savings Plans enhance the advantages provided by Reserved Instances. That adaptability is also helpful as DevOps teams assess deployments and make adjustments in response to the ups and downs of regular organizations, especially those that experience significant growth.

How can nOps help you save more?

Regardless of the pricing option selected, fully optimal cloud spending isn’t always possible, and customers may experience decision paralysis, especially in the case of large-scale, complicated deployments that call for careful planning and analysis on the parts of the DevOps and finance teams. It is essential that you carefully consider your commitment before making one, as any consumption above the commitment will be charged at standard On-Demand rates. Otherwise, you risk committing to using more than you need. By over-provisioning or under-utilizing the cases, you run the risk of swiftly losing any potential savings.

You can employ rightsize RIs or Savings Plans, auto-scaling, spot instances, and spot instances to adapt your computing requirements. Extensive planning and forecasting are needed for this. Plus, anticipating future utilization without any proper metrics stands near impossible. Thus, the nOps ShareSave model can be a game-saver if you want your metrics sorted. Also, even if the chosen pricing model is not helping you save appropriately, with our ShareSave solution you can consolidate cloud accounts into a single pricing model and offer ongoing visibility to change requests. This helps you easily manage cloud costs and save more money. 


There are three types of AWS Savings Plans: Compute Savings Plans, EC2 Instance Savings Plans, and Lambda Savings Plans.

Yes, AWS Savings Plan can be canceled, but there may be fees associated with early termination.

The benefits of AWS Reserved Instances include cost savings, capacity guarantees, and greater control over resources.

Reserve Instances work by allowing you to reserve a specific amount of computing capacity for a one- or three-year period, which is charged at a discounted rate compared to on-demand pricing.

The drawbacks of Reserved Instances include limited flexibility, potential overprovisioning or underutilization, and the need to commit to a specific instance type and region.

The amount that Reserved Instances can save varies based on usage and the specific instance type and region selected.

AWS Reserved Instances are charged upfront for the duration of the reservation, and the discounted rate is applied to the usage of the reserved capacity over the reservation period.