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Lockdown brands spending $5 million per month in AWS

Although lockdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic sharply reduced economic activity in many sectors — think the dramatic, immediate declines in airline bookings, hotel reservations and movie theater ticket purchases, for instance — they actually increased overall cloud spend.


Industries such as media and publishing, financial services, IT, and logistics all had to respond to rapid rises in consumer and business demand, and they did so by turning to cloud providers. According to an IDC report, cloud costs rose 2.2% annually in the first quarter of 2020, compared to a 16.3% decline in outlays on non-cloud IT infrastructure.


That’s the big picture view, at least. But what have individual UK companies been spending on AWS cloud services during the initial lockdown and beyond? For an answer, we turn to Intricately, the sales prospecting platform that collects cloud spend and usage data on more than 7 million organisations.

The $5 million per month club

Each firm in Intricately’s top 5 is, as of September 2020, spending at least $5 million USD in AWS cloud costs per month. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Guardian News & Media

Industry: Media and publishing

Spend: $12 million


The Guardian saw a combined monthly digital and print readership of over 35 million in June 2020, making it the UK’s second most-read paper overall. Cloud infrastructure ensures that its COVID-19 coverage, including detailed maps of cases, reliably reach and engage its readers.

2. The Daily Mail

Industry: Media and publishing

Spend: $7.1 million


Per analytics firm YouGov, the Daily Mail is the UK’s fourth most popular paper. It has virtually universal brand recognition (98%) and is especially popular among readers ages 50+.

3. Prudential plc

Industry: Financial services

Spend: $6.7 million


The largest listed insurer in the UK, Prudential has for years been on the leading edge of cloud adoption in its space. Prudential's growing cloud costs have been driven by its operational expansion in Asia and its use of AI.

4. HP UK

Industry: IT

Spend: $5.6 million


One of two successor firms to the original Hewlett-Packard Company, HP is one of the world’s largest manufacturers or both PCs and printers. With the ongoing shift toward laptop-centric remote work, HP’s core hardware businesses have remained strong.

5. William Hill

Industry: Gambling and casinos

Spend: $5.1 million


Wiliam Hill estimates that 80% of its applications run in the cloud. In particular, the firm is a major user of VMware Cloud on AWS, with which it has moved many of its production workloads into the public cloud.


Rounding out the Intricately top ten were telecom Three UK, newspaper The Independent, media group Newsquest, logistic firms Forth Ports and newspaper publisher News UK. As with the top five, these firms are united by the mostly digital nature of their business operations, which have enabled their resilience even during lockdowns and made them natural consumers of AWS' cloud capacity.

Making AWS more cost-effective

AWS provides scale and speed not available via a traditional data centre, enabling the above organisations and countless others to sustain growing operations. However, AWS spend requires thorough and regular cost optimization, lest its recurring charges become uneconomical in the long run.


In the world of AWS Savings Plans, some of the most reliable cost optimization strategies now include:


  1. Using Savings Plans (EC2 Instance Savings Plans and Compute Savings Plans) alongside Convertible Reserved Instances, as part of a combined Savings Plan - Reserved Instance strategy
  2. Moreover, taking advantage of size and term optimization services from a partner like Tecflair to gain more flexibility from Convertible Reserved Instances usage and management.
  3. Rightsizing on multiple fronts, e.g. through instance family changes and Spot Instance utilization.


There’s more than that, of course — much more, once we get into how to optimally use Convertible Reserved Instances to reduce costs, and whether refactoring an app for AWS is worthwhile. Visit Tecflair.com or follow us on LinkedIn for further discussions on cloud cost management and the best ways to save money on your AWS cloud costs.


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