AWS Cloud Cost Reporting: Keep it Under Control16 May 2016
Tracking AWS cloud cost reporting is very complex. Concerns over AWS spending are slowly looming many enterprises that have been striding inside the cloud environment. If you are one of those enterprises, counting each step, to bring your AWS cloud cost reporting under control, then don’t fret. It is not that difficult!
The catch lies in obtaining a greater clarity into the breakdown of an enterprise’s AWS cloud spend, based on actual usage. This not only allows for greater understanding of direct costs but also provides a more granular means of managing the cloud spend and help identify resource allocations to cost centers within a business.
Time and again, many CFOs have asked us few classic questions, in regards to AWS cloud cost spend:
Is it worth spending ’X’ amount of dollars to run on ‘A, B, C’ different environments?
Is it possible to pay less for less performing machines or don’t pay at all for unused machines, or pay less for over-provisioned machines?
Is it possible to avoid paying more, when I scale up?
And the answer to the above question is YES, but with a doable AWS cloud cost reporting strategy. And obtaining workable data from the cost reports. There is a multi-pronged approach to getting this. However, we — through our years of experience using AWS — recommend building an effective cost reporting strategy. If you are a CFO looking to trim down your AWS cloud cost, follow some of the tips as shown below.
Turn on Detailed Billing Reporting, with Resources and Tags Enabled
Our hands-on experience with AWS says turn-on ‘Detailed Billing Reporting with Resources and Tags enabled.’ Why? Because, by doing so, you can gain access to core data set that provides greater clarity into cloud expenditure. However, post enabling, there are few prerequisites to consider:
- How you’re going to use tags on AWS?
- What you’re able to tag on AWS?
- When do resources need to be tagged on AWS?
Balance functional and cost allocation uses of AWS tags
In AWS, tags are limited to ten per object. Yes, just ten. Monopolizing all these tags for billing purposes may impact other functions as developers and infrastructure engineers may want to use these tags for other uses like clustering and service discovery. And so, as a CFO, you need to balance functional and cost allocation usage of tags to avoid such situations. That’s why ‘how’ we use tags is critical.
As a CFO, you also need to know what you’re able to tag. For instance, only S3 buckets can be tagged but not objects. Moreover, understanding as to when resources need to be tagged is strategically crucial too. Moreover, the tagging process needs to be strategically implemented, as it helps in segmenting costs.
Do not wipe out untagged or incorrectly tagged resources in AWS
Beyond tagging, there are many other ways to identify resources. For instance, using Amazon Resource Name(ARN) path-based hierarchies. This provides more flexible means of chalking out a cost structure hierarchy, but it also requires both a prescriptive or automated approach.
Use the data beyond cost chargeback
Like many CFOs, do you also rely heavily on billing-level data for accounting and chargeback purposes? It is a good practice. However, the application of tags or a resource-based allocation strategy needs to be standardized. Additionally, do not allow multiple people to launch instances or create resources in AWS, which leads to chaos.
We also recommend you to have reports featuring granular data, which clearly shows where your cloud spend in a given deployment or even across your enterprise. As a CFO, if you don’t use the data beyond cost chargeback, you’re not maximizing the reports’ data to full potential and value.
AWS Cloud Cost Reporting: The Way Forward
To bring cloud cost accounting under control is to build a cost reporting strategy for your cloud deployments. Having said that, this can be a daunting task.
If you are looking for an easier way to track your cloud spend, the best way forward is to plug-in your AWS to our SaaS-based AWS cloud cost management suite, Botmetric.