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Case Study:

Rail Delivery Group (RDG) - AWS Cost Optimisation

Nasstar enables significant AWS cost savings, alongside flexibility to grow & meet demands

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) has a large AWS estate managed by Nasstar. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been cost challenges resulting in governance and management being high up on the organisation's focus areas.

With existing plans that Nasstar had put in place for RDG due to expire, it was an ideal opportunity to review whether Amazon Web Services' (AWS) new Cost Saving Plans could replace or augment potential AWS cost optimisation benefits.


Cloud Optimisation

Cloud Modernisation


The Brief

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a reduction in passenger numbers and ticket revenue. This meant that saving cost became crucial for RDG.

An Amazon Reserved Instance (RI) is a billing discount that allows the user to save on their Amazon EC2 usage costs. RDG already had a Reserved Instance (RI) in place, but this was due to expire, and new solutions needed to be found. It was evident that a solution needed to be developed and agreed upon prior to the expiration to prevent any increase in costs, even for a short period.

The scope and type of cost savings that could be utilised was complex, so there had to be a beneficial outcome for the customer for them to realise a good return on investment. There was also the added complication of multiple third parties utilising the Nasstar managed AWS estate, making future growth and utilisation difficult to predict.

The Benefits

Nasstar were able to provide RDG with significant cost savings compared to on-demand costs on their AWS consumption over the short term, as well as the flexibility to grow and change their AWS estate to meet demand and future developments.

RDG opted for the Nasstar proposed AWS Reserved Instance and Cost Saving plans, presenting them with an estimated saving of circa 30% in comparison to the previous year. This cost-saving has been valuable for RDG to continue with the important services they deliver to the nation both during and after the pandemic.

The Solution

The solution needed to deliver against the following factors:

  • Historical analysis of AWS consumption – A detailed review of RDG’s AWS consumption was required to identify trends and appropriate spread of cost-saving coverage.
  • Flexibility – The new cost optimisation approach needed to provide a simpler way to ensure cost savings were transferable to be adaptable to change within the estate. Nasstar determined that a hybrid approach of RI and Cost Saving plans would provide the best approach to balance out cost savings and flexibility to change as required in the future.
  • Optimal Application – The range of potential applications for Reserved Instance and Cost Saving plans is vast and navigating the best approach was complex. Nasstar worked with Cloud Financial Operations experts, AWS, and formed close relationships with RDG and its other suppliers to form the best approach to the optimal application of AWS cost savings options.
  • Customer and Supplier Engagement – Through Nasstar interactions with both RDG and its suppliers, a forecast of future growth and reduction for specific areas of the estate was compiled.

A hybrid combination of Reserved Instance and a flexible approach of Cost Saving plans was the solution selected. This worked effectively to cover instances that would stay the same in the future, as well as those which are more likely to change.

Nasstar collated all the information and presented it to RDG with predicted costs and savings utilising full, partial and no upfront payment options offered by AWS.