In November, Amazon announced a new C3 instance type based on a speedy processor, a 2:1 memory to compute ratio, and fast SSD storage. Within a few weeks, they followed this announcement with an apology at the lack of availability of the instance type. Amazon’s Chief Evangelist, Jeff Barr, explained this as a short term capacity issue resulting from unexpected enthusiasm for the offering. I however have a different explanation: cloud hoarders.

Here are my top 10 ways to know if you’re a cloud hoarder:

“I might need that some day”

When confronted with cloud infrastructure you don't need, do you instinctively not want to turn it off? Do you have web servers running out of the load balancer in anticipation that you will some day need to add them in? If so, you may be a cloud hoarder.

“It makes me feel safe”

Did you launch several c3.4xlarges after the announcement without a clear purpose? Do you have instances running under the AWS free tier that you never use? If so, you may be a cloud hoarder.

“It’s just 20 years of accumulation”

Okay, you can’t have 20 years of accumulation in the cloud, but you might have 1 or 2. When asked by your CFO why you are running so much infrastructure, does your explanation involve the word “accumulation”? If so, there is a good chance you are a cloud hoarder.

“I cleaned it up last month”

Do you continually have unattached or low utilized EBS volumes in spite of regular cleanup efforts? Do you have snapshots that can no longer be identified from the label? If so, you may be a cloud hoarder.

“This is part of a collection”

Are the 50+ c3.xlarge instances you are running a collection that you proudly discuss publicly? When confronted with the number of S3 objects you store, do you use the word "collection" in explaining why you need each and every one? If yes, there is a good chance you are a cloud hoarder.

“So that’s where Fluffy went”

You can’t be a hoarder if you don’t have a dead animal in your clutter. Are you constantly surprised by instances running that you thought were lost? Do you have instances running that are the result of failed bootstraps? If so, there is a good chance you are a cloud hoarder.

“I bought that to organize my stuff”

Did you purchase cloud infrastructure to help you to organize / consolidate other cloud infrastructure? Did you then forgot to shut down the original infrastructure you intended to consolidate (e.g. archived data from S3 to Glacier, while keeping S3 objects)? If so, you may be a cloud hoarder.

“My family just doesn’t understand”

Does your family not understand why the Amazon bill grows every month? Can they not understand the value of your former DVD collection being accessible from S3, or of the proxy server running overseas for routing MLB.TV traffic during blackouts? If so, you may be a cloud hoarder.

“I couldn’t find it so I bought another one”

Do you have redundant instances running that are not there to support capacity or availability needs? If so, you may be a cloud hoarder.

“I’m trying to fill an emptiness inside me”

Do you get a slight rush upon launching a new instance, provisioning an ELB, or creating a Glacier vault? If so, it’s possible you may be a cloud hoarder.


To combat the growing problem of cloud hoarders, Amazon has started applying constraints to the number of instances you can launch per region. In the cloud psychology business, we call this cloud hoarder treatment.

If you think you think you may be a cloud hoarder, please seek the assistance of a trained medical professional as soon as possible. In the mean time, could you free up some C3s for me?

(THIS POST IS NOT INTENDED FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING MEDICAL ADVICE. All information, content, and material of this post is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.)

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