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Demystifying AWS Credits

Fine-tune your cloud migration and maximize your promotional credits

April 23, 2020 | By Ashley Mooney, TEKsystems Global Services 

Business transition to cloud based applications integrations represented by clouds and data analytics

Like the saying goes, you’ve got just one chance to make a good first impression. When you’re moving to the cloud, the last thing you want to deliver is an application crippled by latency, or to see a 502 Bad Gateway error.

As you progress through a cloud migration, for a time you’ll need to leverage a healthy volume of cloud services—probably more than you actually need. This helps ensure that your apps work as expected when they move to the cloud.

You can take advantage of promotional credits from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to lessen the financial impact of your initial cloud services uptake. Usage credits are applied to your AWS account, but to receive them you have to carefully follow specific guidelines.

Create a cushion

It’s always a good idea to spin up more cloud services from a public cloud provider than you actually need as you go through a complex migration. Excess capacity and cloud computing services help ensure that resources and apps are available and work as expected as you move through your cloud migration processes.

For a period of time—sometimes up to a year—you’ll be paying for both on-premises and cloud computing services as you move through the many steps associated with a cloud migration. Common steps during a cloud migration include:

  • Beta tests
  • Security audits
  • Build audits
  • Deployment testing
  • Connectivity testing
  • Benchmark comparisons of speed and resources

Maintaining on-premises and cloud environments gives you time to adjust your cloud usage and budget. You’ll be able to scale down and modify your cloud usage appropriately as you move your applications one by one to the cloud.

About AWS promotional credits

During that initial cloud adoption period when you’re running both on-premises and cloud services, it’s likely that you won’t need or use all of the new cloud capacity. To recognize the commitment and to help customers reduce financial risk, AWS Partner Network (APN) partner-led proof-of-concept or production migrations qualify for AWS promotional credits.

The credits are redeemed for the costs associated with a defined set of AWS services. They’re applied to your AWS account until they’re used up or expire. However, you have to do things the right way—capturing lots of detail—and in the right order to get those credits. The credits are based on estimated AWS usage computed by the AWS simple monthly calculator, and the program has strict requirements.

How to redeem credits

To take advantage of AWS promotional credits, it’s important to engage with a certified AWS partner who knows the details and requirements of the program and who has helped other customers. Here are the essential steps for redeeming and using AWS credits:

  1. Engage with a certified AWS Partner.
  2. Your AWS Partner works directly with AWS to start a premigration survey process, studying your on-premises data centers and detailing resources and costs per quarter, projected over a year.
  3. Your AWS Partner maps out and documents a strategy for how AWS services will be used, why you would choose them and where and in what ratios you would allocate them.
  4. Your AWS Partner documents in detail the ways that AWS cloud services will modernize your applications—such as adding redundancy, increasing elasticity and incorporating disaster recovery features.
  5. About a year after your initial migration, your AWS Partner contacts your AWS representative and provides documentation to show what you've done. To issue the credits, AWS will require qualifying information such as:
  • Details about each system that you’ve moved to AWS
  • Your Infrastructure as Code (IaC), which automates infrastructure
  • Detailed postmigration architectural diagrams, including proof of AWS best practices, such as proof that your subnets span multiple Availability Zones, which are groups of logical data centers
  • Your actual AWS usage and spend per month

In short, AWS promotional credits are available and potentially significant, but there are no shortcuts, and you need to work through the process with the right AWS Partner. To qualify, AWS will need to know many details related to your migration such as your plan of action, your on-premises resources and their specific costs.

If you’re ready to learn more about how we can help you with your cloud journey, contact us.

Ashley Mooney is a senior practice architect with TEKsystems Global Services. He specializes in cloud security, infrastructure migration and application deployment. He successfully exited two startups after 15 years and has been consulting for TEKsystems on AWS since 2016.