Hosting Fees - Example with Kafka

Published: 2023-10-03

Author: Ben Maddox

Root Beer thinking with calculator

Not long ago I was in a meeting discussing scaling out and up some Kafka broker instances on AWS. Part of the discussion went into the direction of how much more expensive it would be to scale in each direction. The discussion centered on discussions with hourly rates. But that often isn’t how I like to think about the charges. I want something like weeks, months, or years.

Because I find it easier to think of the tools in a larger time scale than hours, I made a little tool to help. You can see it on the Hosting Fees page. For an example, I’ll list the potential options we discussed for one scenario. Let’s assume we started with 3 instances of kafka.t3.small. You should see the prices on Amazon’s MSK pricing page.

As of October 2023, the kafka.t3.small is priced at $0.0456 per hour. And the upgrade of kafka.m5.large is $0.21 per hour. With the Hosting Fees page, setting the hourly rate and instance count, we can see some of the pricing listings.

So, we have a baseline of $22.98 per week or $1,199.19 per year. Not a very expensive product for how much we use it. But, what if we wanted to scale up? Well, let’s try a few options. First, what if we just double the instances? Ok, $2,398.38 per year. Still reasonable with our use. Next up we’ll go for an size upgrade. That’s vertical scaling instead of horizontal. Annually we jump up to $5,522.58. This gives us a better idea of the impact of an upgrade. Or even both horizontal and vertical scaling. With 6 kafka.m5.large instances, we come out to $11,045.16.

Doing a quick calculation like this can help set expectations. Is it worth it for an upgrade? I’ll leave that to you and your team. But this should help make it easier to brainstorm options. Though I didn’t show it here, this could be a lot more useful if you have multiple types of instances with different prices. The Hosting Fees page supports that very cleanly. Thanks for reading my thoughts.