AWS Glue Cost Optimization: Best Practices for Maximising Value and Efficiency

Cost optimization is a critical aspect of using AWS services, including AWS Glue. Ensuring that you make the most of your investment while minimizing unnecessary costs can significantly impact your organization’s bottom line. In this article, we will discuss various best practices for AWS Glue Cost Optimization and how they can help you achieve a more cost-effective and efficient ETL process.

1. Choose the Right AWS Service

Selecting the right AWS service plays an essential role in cost optimization. In case of Glue spend, first comparing AWS Glue vs EMR will help you determine whether Glue is the most suitable solution for your specific use case in the first place.

2. Efficient Data Modeling and Design

Proper data modeling and design for efficient data lakes can significantly impact the performance and cost efficiency of your AWS Glue jobs. By optimizing data formats, compression, and partitioning, you can reduce the amount of data processed, improving performance and reducing costs.

3. Optimize Glue Job Settings

3.1 DPU Allocation and Job Concurrency

The number of Data Processing Units (DPUs) used for a job impacts cost. Choose the appropriate DPU allocation based on the job’s complexity, dataset size, and required processing power. Additionally, running multiple jobs concurrently can help maximize resource utilization. Be mindful of the Glue service limits, and adjust concurrency settings based on your workload and resource requirements.

3.2 Job Bookmarks and Timeouts

Enable job bookmarks to track processed data, allowing Glue to skip previously processed records during incremental runs. This can save time and reduce cost for recurring jobs. Also, set appropriate job timeout values based on historical performance to avoid unnecessary charges for long-running jobs that are not progressing.

4. Glue Workflows and Development Endpoints

Utilize Glue Workflows to orchestrate complex ETL jobs, allowing you to minimize redundant data processing and reduce costs. However, be cautious with Glue Development Endpoints, as they can be costly, especially if left running when not in use. Remember to shut them down when not actively working with them or consider using alternative testing environments.

5. Data Governance and Security

Implementing data governance strategies can help you manage your AWS Glue resources more effectively. By following data lake governance best practices, you can ensure that your data is secure, compliant, and optimized for cost efficiency.

Leverage Glue Data Catalog to store metadata about your data sources, enabling efficient schema discovery and reducing the need for expensive, redundant crawlers. Implementing appropriate data lake access patterns can also help optimize your AWS Glue usage and further reduce costs as you scale.

6. Monitor and Analyze Cost and Usage

Monitoring and analyzing your AWS Glue costs and usage is crucial for identifying optimization opportunities. Using AWS Cost Explorer, AWS Budgets, and AWS Glue job metrics in tandem can provide a comprehensive view of your AWS Glue spend.

6.1 AWS Cost Explorer

  1. Identify trends and patterns: Use Cost Explorer to identify trends in your AWS Glue spend. Look for patterns, such as spikes in usage or costs, and investigate the underlying reasons.
  2. Filter by tags: Use tags to categorize your AWS Glue resources (e.g., by project or environment) and analyze costs on a granular level.

6.2 AWS Budgets

  1. Set cost and usage budgets: Define budgets for your AWS Glue spend and set alerts to notify you when your actual or forecasted spend exceeds the budget thresholds. This will help you stay proactive in managing costs.
  2. Monitor budget performance: Review your budget performance regularly to ensure you are on track to meet your cost goals. Adjust your budgets and cost management strategies as necessary.

6.3 AWS Glue Job Metrics

  1. Analyze job performance: Examine the job runtimes, memory usage, and data processed to identify inefficiencies or bottlenecks in your ETL processes. Use this information to optimize your Glue jobs and reduce costs.
  2. Set alarms: Create CloudWatch alarms based on Glue job metrics to notify you when specific thresholds are exceeded, such as long-running jobs or high DPU usage. This can help you quickly identify and address issues that may impact your Glue spend.

6.4 Integrating the Three Tools

To optimize your AWS Glue spend effectively, use these tools in tandem:

  1. Start with AWS Cost Explorer to gain an understanding of your overall Glue spend and identify any unusual patterns or trends.
  2. Set up AWS Budgets with appropriate cost and usage thresholds to monitor your Glue expenses proactively.
  3. Analyze AWS Glue job metrics to identify performance bottlenecks or inefficiencies in your ETL processes. Use this information to optimize your Glue jobs, improve resource utilization, and reduce overall costs.
  4. By actively monitoring and analyzing your AWS Glue costs and usage, you can identify potential areas for optimization and ensure that your ETL processes are cost-effective and efficient. Regular reviews of your infrastructure and data processing workflows can reveal inefficiencies and help you make informed decisions for optimizing your AWS Glue spend.

7. Minimize Costly Transformations

Some Glue ETL operations, like ‘Relationalizing the data’, can be resource-intensive. Consider using alternative methods or custom code to minimize the use of such transformations. Optimize your ETL code and explore options for parallel processing to improve job performance and reduce overall costs.


By following these best practices, you can optimize your AWS Glue spend and get the most value out of your investment. A well-planned and executed AWS cost optimization strategy will not only help you save on expenses but also contribute to a more efficient and effective ETL process. Keep in mind that cost optimization is an ongoing process, and it is essential to monitor, analyze, and adjust your approach as your data processing requirements evolve. For general Glue best practices, read out AWS Glue best practices guide.