An Enterprise Guide to Perfect AWS Cloud Cost Allocation and Chargeback

Cloud cost allocation has become a major concern for most of the enterprises with their business migrating to cloud. Managers are increasingly using automated tools like Cloud Service Expense Management tools for managing the Cloud Costs. According to Gartner’s recent key finding, “Organizations utilizing IaaS without Cloud Service Expense Management (CSEM) processes will almost certainly have unnecessary spending.” Instead of being standalone tools, Cloud Expense Managements tools are becoming an integral part of Cloud Management tools like Botmetric.

IT teams need Cloud Cost management tools for the following three key functionalities to optimize Cloud Costs:

Cost Analytics: Dashboard overview of the total cloud spend pattern

Spend Management: Budget and forecasting tools to ensure costs do not overrun

Resource Analytics: Dashboards include costs by account, team and application as well as usage, chargebacks and cost allocation.

In addition to the above analytics category of reports, Cloud Service Expense Management tool has to provide different views for different departments based on their focus such as costs, operational efficiency or optimization. The Finance department needs to track monthly cost accruals by organizational hierarchy department and cost-center wise. The finance department mostly uses the monthly breakdowns of cost by product, shared resources and environment across the cost-centers. The most used financial report would be the one view report which provides the top-level management with across-the-board insights and an aggregated view of their entire cloud deployment. On the other hand, the Engineering/DevOps team would be keen to know the spending vs budget across applications; they will also want to get automated recommendations for the Reserved Instances which can bring down the on-demand usage costs.

Botmetric Cost Center

A Cost Center is a department or any business unit in the company whose performance is usually evaluated through the comparison of budgeted to actual costs. The Cost Centers in Botmetric can be defined in two ways-  based on tag keys alone and based on accounts and associated tag key-value pairs.

Tag Management

Automating the Cost Allocation is critical in Cloud Platform because of the sheer number of resources which are provisioned.  AWS provides AWS Tags as the technology mechanism which helps the implementation of the costing policy effectively. Tags can be used for Cost Entity definition through which Finance teams and/or IT/unit managers can breakdown and attribute costs to any relevant business unit (e.g. projects, teams, stacks within a business unit, etc.). They can also determine exactly which business units are driving cloud costs and how.

Using Tags to capture and allocate all Cloud Expenses & Discounts associated with one’s cloud infrastructure is key to success. While this method can be useful, it is can also difficult to implement and maintain as each cost center or project must tag their resources identically. Unfortunately in AWS, tagging has to be planned accurately beforehand and cannot be retrospective. However in reality, there would be some many resources which get commissioned and all the resources cannot be tagged as per plan.  

Linked Accounts

AWS also provides an additional mechanism to create a cost-based taxonomy other than tags called Linked Accounts. Using Linked Accounts, users can generate a single consolidated billing from multiple payer accounts. While AWS tags are very flexible, Linked accounts provide a cleaner chargeback reports than tags. However Linked Accounts have a limitation of fewer reporting options. AWS expert suggests to integrate both tags and Linked accounts by splitting the most important accounts as linked accounts and use tags for lower levels in the taxonomy.

Botmetric Chargeback Module

Botmetric’s Chargeback module allows the users to reorganize the tag taxonomy in retrospective to efficiently handle the tag management issue. Botmetric automatically re-computes the allocations and updates accordingly. However to leverage this feature, Cost Centers have to be created initially in Botmetric. The current Botmetric module provides a smartUI where one can manage budget controls better across Cost Centers.

The key differentiation factor of Botmetric Chargeback Module is that allows users to manage complexities involved in treating chargebacks when dealing with multiple linked accounts from a central payer account. It also provides additional insightful reports for effective tracking and managing of AWS cloud costs. Hence Botmetric Chargeback module allows users to gain the best from both the tags and linked-accounts approach as well the integrated approach of tags and accounts. The additional benefit of the new Chargeback module in Botmetric is advanced Cost Center definition and allocation. Chargeback Module supports definition of multiple

Cost centers for cost allocation.  Through this approach, users can get cost center wise reporting at department or team level. The implementation of this this detailed drilldown report is based on AWS tags.

Botmetric Chargeback module provides dynamic tagging of unused resources and undo and reallocation of these tagged resources in different cost centers.  Reorganize the tag categorization any time by using these two features. These two new features further help AWS users manage complexities involved in treating Chargebacks, especially when dealing with multiple linked accounts from a central payer account.

Botmetric provides one of the best Cloud Cost Management tool as part of its integrated Cloud Platform, which can save a significant percentage of spending made every month for your Cloud. Take an in-depth look at Botmetric Platform today for having a better control on your Cloud costs tomorrow.