AWS cost saving tip: Delete unused EBS volumes

by May 16, 2014

Organizing EBS volumes and deleting detached volumes on a regular basis to can help decrease AWS spend. See how easy it is to identify, tag, snapshot, detach, and delete those unused EBS volumes.


It is important to identify if your EBS volumes are currently mounted or unmounted. By identifying unmounted volumes, you will be able to delete volumes to help lower the cost of your monthly AWS bill. If you need to unmount a volume: For Linux/Unix, use the following command to unmount the /dev/sdh device. # umount -d /dev/sdh For Windows, open Disk Management, right-click the volume to unmount, and select Change Drive Letter and Path. Then, select the mount point to remove and click Remove.


Creating snapshots of your EBS Volumes is important for data backup as well as baselines for new volumes that are created. You can take a snapshot of an attached volume that is in use. However, snapshots only capture data that has been written to your Amazon EBS volume at the time the snapshot command is issued.

  1. Open EC2 console
  2. Click Snapshots
  3. Click Create Snapshot
  • Select the volume to create a snapshot for and click Create


After unmounting an EBS volume, you may now detach them from your EC2 Instance. It is important to note that volumes must be unmounted before they are detached. A simple way to detach your EBS volumes is as follows:

  1. Open AWS EC2 Panel
  2. Click Volumes
  3. Select Volume and clickDetach
  4. ClickYes, Detach


After a volume is detached, it can be deleted. It is important to point out that once a volume is deleted, the data will disappear and the volume cannot be attached to an instance. This is why it is important to store a snapshot of your data (see above).

  1. Open EC2 Console
  2. Click Volumes
  3. Select a volume and click Delete Volume
  4. Click Yes, Delete Short on time? This one-liner claims to clean up all unattached EBS volumes quickly: Overall, getting rid of unused EBS volumes could help keep your monthly AWS spend down and provide you with a peace of mind that money isn’t being wasted.