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.

Basic AWS Data Transfer Cost Saving Tips for Beginners

Data transfer cost can be a messy affair for most of the people new to AWS. These basic tips can help beginners save cost on their data transfer.

Anxiety over Dynamic Cost Elements

The key advantage of dynamic provisioning of Cloud Platforms is the variability of costs based on actual usage patterns. Without the dynamic costing mechanism, Cloud Platforms are indistinguishable from internal data centers or hosting servers that provide dedicated servers. Even though the cost benefits of the dynamic provisioning feature are very clear, there is always an anxiety among users, especially during the initial adoption phase, that the bills from the Cloud usage would get out of control and give a surprise shock.  Data Transfer is one of the most common cost element that Cloud Platform users are oblivious about. Understanding and Managing this can neutralize the biggest risk to Cloud Cost management.

Cost Management for Data Transfer Intensive Applications

Developers and Administrators of Web Applications that are data intensive such as websites that have millions of users, applications that use audio-video files heavily and Big Data applications have to take adequate controls in data transfer to avoid surprise spikes in bills. Data Transfer costs to special purpose data storage services incur costs specific to the storage types. However it is free if the data transfer is between the instances in the same availability zone. It is critical to understand about when the data transfer costs are applicable for EC2 instances. While there are many sources for billing information about data transfer costs, we need to put the information within the context of actual usage scenarios to get a clear understanding of the costs involved.

Understanding the Incoming Data Transfer Costs for EC2

For EC2 instances, the incoming data transfer costs are different from outgoing data transfer costs. Let us look at the costing information for EC2 incoming Data Transfer costs:

The costs are free, except:

Using a public or Elastic IP address, it’s 1c / GB

Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, Amazon Redshift and Amazon ElastiCache instances or Elastic Network Interfaces in another Availability Zone or peered VPC in the same AWS Region, it’s 1c / GB

To understand the above costing information better, we need to know the usage scenarios when incoming data transfers happen to EC2 instances.

The incoming data transfer happens when the developers upload code and additional software modules into the application server. It is very rare that the volume of this type of data transfer crosses volumes in multiples of GBs. Even then, if the EC2 instance is using a public or Elastic IP address, the cost would be about 1c / GB only. The other usage scenario when this happens is only where the end users of the application upload high volume data such as image, audio and video files to the application server. If this use case is not in the application, one need not worry about incurring the incoming data transfer cost at all.

Understanding Outgoing Data Transfer Costs for EC2

Let us look at billing information for outgoing data transfer costs for the EC2 instances.

It’s charged out of EC2 for:

Using a public or Elastic IP address, 1c / GB

Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, Amazon Redshift or Amazon ElastiCache instances, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing

or Elastic Network Interfaces in another Availability Zone or peered VPC in the same AWS Region – 1c / GB

Another AWS Region, 2c / GB

We need to understand the above information from usage scenarios perspective to evaluate the cost implications. Mostly the above costs would be incurred only when the data transfer occurs via web services between two Public and Elastic IP addresses. Even in these use cases, the cost is just about 1c per GB. The other use case is where data stored in the EC2 instance have to be moved to specialized storage services like Amazon RDS etc. Another use case is Disaster Recovery application when data is moved between storage services in different AWS region.

Managing Costs using Amazon CloudFront

The Data Transfer Cost is free for most common usage scenarios where data is transferred between storage in same zone.

There is no data transfer cost involved when transferring data out of EC2 to Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon SES, Amazon SQS, or Amazon SimpleDB in the same AWS Region

Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, Amazon Redshift or Amazon ElastiCache instances, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, or Elastic Network Interfaces in the same Availability Zone

Using a private IP address

Amazon CloudFront

From the above billing information, it is clear that there is no cost for data transfer from EC2 to Amazon CloudFront. The implication is that if we leverage Amazon CloudFront to server images, audio and video files to the end-users, we can keep the data transfer costs at a very optimal level.

Botmetric has a dedicated app for Data Transfer cost analysis so that this grey area of cost in your AWS bill is unraveled. You can drill down to discover granular cost by transfer type, accounts, services, tags, regions and many more.

5 Point Guide For Today’s CFO to AWS Cloud Cost Management

We’ve seen a sharp increase in the use of cloud infrastructure over the last couple of years. There’s a range of useful services, various pricing structures with added options for saving costs by various cloud providers like AWS, Azure, Google etc. Because of this, enterprises have the elasticity to scale their existing IT infrastructures in order to match the performance and workload SLA requirements. Whether it’s for enterprise applications, testing, and development, data analysis or building  ecommerce platforms, companies have a number of choices regarding costing options and choosing the specific services that best suit for their work.

However, cloud costs can quickly increase without governance processes in place as team members can spin up infrastructure at will and with so many features and services and if companies don’t optimize their spending, avoidable and unnecessary bills can quickly pile up. Without an adequate understanding of your enterprise cloud spending and IT usage, most companies end up with a bill that is significantly higher than it normally would be. Although selling more products and services allows for bigger profits, but for now, we’ll focus more on reducing the costs associated with managing and operating a cloud infrastructure.

Understanding the various usage and cost structures

Although it may seem to an average person that every cloud infrastructure company offers unique pricing options, there are some similarities and generalized cost classifications, such as user-licensing, resource-by-the-hour (which is offered by almost all IaaS models) and an all-inclusive site license. But even resource and user licensing have a plethora of different tiers, including small vs. large virtual machine or specific functionality license vs. a full access license. It’s important for companies to figure out which tier suits them best early on and which one is most likely to suit them later, as the business continues to grow.

Maximizing cloud efficiency with multi-platform environments

Reducing cloud costs can also be accomplished by using just the right networks, servers and storage to handle your particular application workloads. Multi-platform environments like AWS BeanStalk are ideal for this type of work, as they can automatically scale-up or scale-down workloads which are best suited based on your scaling parameters like application usage or traffic or visitors or system parameters like CPU/Memory/Network etc. This workload-specific approach allows specific tasks to run significantly better and faster. As requests are being assigned and handled automatically,  you focus only on the most pressing task in order to maximize efficiency through the auto-scaling approach and, in turn, reduce the costs required to operate them.

AWS and Reserved Instances

Since Amazon Web Services are currently dominating the marketplace, most CFOs are looking for new ways to optimize it in order to tip the scale regarding cost and profit margins. When it comes to AWS, the Reserved Instances can actually be re-purposed to suit different workloads in your business without suffering a penalty. Reserved Instances are basically discounts that companies get for their upfront commitment. They have lower costs of usage per hour, but RI’s will only work if the instances are going to be consistently used.

AWS and Spot Instances

The single most overlooked feature that truly differentiates AWS from many cloud infrastructure solutions is the Spot Instances and Spot Market. These represent the spare capacity usually available at rather large discounts and operate in an auction-based model pricing. They are best used once the company has determined exactly what kind of task it needs to execute and simply run it using a Spot Instance. By using AWS API’s, you can automate the procurement and usage of Spot instances for your enterprise batch workloads, data cleaning workloads or even use spot instances as part of auto-scaling strategy for enterprise workloads that can tolerate instance failures.

Get the most out of AWS

The average AWS instance uses only around 30% of CPU based on 1000’s of instances analyzed by Botmetric. This means that companies have two-thirds or their operating power sitting idly. Categorizing workload as either memory or CPU intensive is one of the first steps in utilizing instances effectively. Once you’ve realized what your company’s utilization patterns are, identifying the type of instances that push the utilization to a higher percentage becomes easy. Don’t worry about pushing the limits of AWS utilization. Even if the hardware fails, all you have to do is provision another instance using AWS console or API’s through automation.

What most business leaders and IT owners fail to realize is that most cloud providers, including the AWS, offer incremental discounts which are proportionate to the increase in use, these volume discounts are available for Compute, Storage and Network Bandwidth etc. In other words, the more you use, the bigger the discount. Fortunately, these can be used in a myriad of ways and incorporated into existing discounts for an even larger margin for savings. AWS also offers Enterprise Discount Program for large customers that spend over $1 million per annum on their Cloud.

Are you a CFO who is awaiting a complete cloud cost control and governance management on a single platform? Then log onto Botmetric now!

Today's CFO's Guide to Perfected Cloud Cost Management

Now’s the time to make sure that you have control over your business cloud cost accounting as well as cloud cost management. If you tackle the matter early, it won’t be very difficult. But if you let it sit for too long you could be facing insurmountable technical debt. Moreover, cloud computing has been a growing phenomenon, and now 85 percent of businesses are using cloud technology, up from 82 percent in 2016.

Because cloud computing has been quickly evolving and is a fairly broad concept for enterprises, it’s important to choose the right type of cloud platform for the appropriate business workload and enterprise application needs. As a CFO, your decisions impact all aspects of your business including the ROI. Therefore, you should be ready to manage cloud costs effectively while bringing the IT agility for your business to drive up the innovation. This article serves as a guide to perfected cloud cost management and will cover certain concepts, challenges, and keys to cloud management.

New Digital Era, But Same Problems

It’s a well-known fact that businesses must constantly improve and innovate to stay competitive. In many ways the cloud has transformed business culture, ranging from increased speed, IT agility, business disaster recovery to creating mobile workforces. The cloud is a cost-saving and time-saving technology, enabling enterprise applications and data to be more easily shared, which in turn allows more efficient allocation of resources.

Additionally, the cloud has spurred new innovations by lowering the cost of starting a business or experimenting on new ideas within large enterprises. Cloud technologies allow independent businesses to share their collective infrastructure to reduce the cost and difficulty of small business partnerships.

Even with the benefits such as the ones mentioned, there are challenges and concerns of having company functions in the cloud. These challenges include:

  • Cloud Security
  • Business IT Integration
  • Cloud ROI –  Longterm Cost Management

When it comes to CCM and IT, the underlying problem with cloud management is that IT ends up having to give up control as different business and technical teams can directly consume and use the cloud infrastructure. In an enterprise company environment where the cloud has been adopted, developers/engineers have the ability to provision resources on a self-service basis to bring agility, rather than IT enforcing policies by carefully reviewing developers’ provision requests, as would be the case in a cloud-free environment.

In an environment where anyone can provision and consume Cloud infrastructure, it’s important to ensure that your organization has governance control over its cloud costs requires your ability to identify all of the organization’s cloud resources. This can be quite challenging if the company has commissioned resources in multiple clouds or accounts. You must also have the ability to map cloud resources to specific owners, teams and business group purposes, which allows the finance department to break down the company’s bill by business unit or department to understand who is using what?

Enterprise Cloud Cost Management (CCM) Challenges

In continuance with discussion of business challenges and governance concerns, there are two significant cloud cost management challenges we’ll also look at:

  • Predicting cloud spending, internal chargebacks and allocating budgets accordingly
  • Lack of financial transparency due to scattered usage

Enterprise Cloud costs are hard to predict and hard to understand, creating the need for CCM tooling and application to help business users with visibility and full control for governance. With traditional infrastructure capacity you have a pre-determined price that’s independent of actual usage, but with cloud technology you have a pay-per-use model that entails extensive variation on a day-to-day basis.  The variance in the spend due to OPEX model is a evolving challenge for most enterprise CFO teams.

As enterprises use different types of clouds, things get more complicated. This prompts the CFO’s need for summed up information about the costs. Based on location, clouds can be classified into the following types:

  • Private
  • Public
  • Hybrid
  • Community cloud

Based on the service offered, clouds can be classified in the following manner:

  • SaaS (Software-as-a-Service)
  • IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service)
  • PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service)
  • or, Database, Information, Storage, Security, Integration, Application, Process, Testing, Management-as-a-Service

There are security risks with data in the cloud, just like the potential risks in data centers. Many Internet users are oblivious to the fact that ransomware can easily seize control over files stored on the cloud if there is a centralised compromise around access keys or root cloud accounts. The best defense against this threat is a good set of security protections, following cloud vendor best practices and critical business data backups that are made daily. It is preferred that these backups are made to a device that is not always connected to the network or isolated into another cloud account with lock-down access.

Cloud Cost Analytics and Spend Visualization: The Key to Optimization

As mentioned previously, cloud computing has many benefits for businesses. Some more major benefits include:

  • Capital cost reduction (no need to buy hardware, data center space, cooling and power)
  • Faster deployment of infrastructure and business applications
  • Can be used as a test bed for the development and testing of application prototypes
  • Reducing/eliminating operational costs through cloud automation

While many advantages are offered, cloud computing is not a panacea for all IT challenges faced by modern enterprise businesses. It’s critical that you know who is using the cloud, how much, and for what business purposes within your organisation through automated governance provisions. Lack of awareness in these areas leads to losing money instead of improved ROI that could be used for other projects within your company.

An effective Cloud Cost Management is a matter of what, where, how, why and managing it can be more effective when you use the following important tips:

  • Understand the cost structure. Some general cost model classifications are user licensing, all inclusive, and resource by the hour.
  • Use cloud tagging to spot cloud resources by teams, business groups.
  • Get a complete picture of current use and costs through effective tagging for chargebacks
  • Reduce sprawl and cut costs by practicing cloud resource management.
  • Enterprise level visibility and automated governance for ROI

Concluding Thoughts

The cloud can bring many advantages to your business. With that being said, a CFO needs a clear understanding of the cloud and how to get the most out of it so money and resources aren’t wasted. You must choose the right type of governance controls for your cloud and implement the effective management measures to make sure everything runs efficiently for your business while taking advantage of cloud benefits as a company.

What’s your take. Do give us a shout out.

Cost Allocation for AWS EBS Snapshots Made Easy, Get Deeper AWS Cost Analysis

All AWS EBS snapshots (which allow you to create persistent block storage volumes for your AWS EC2 instances), including the untagged/underused/unused volumes, cost money. AWS has been evolving the custom tagging support for most of the services like EC2, RDS, ELB, BeanStalk etc. And now it has introduced Cost Allocation for EBS snapshots.

This new feature allows you to use Cost Allocation Tags for your EBS snapshots so that you can assign costs to your customers, applications, teams, departments, or billing codes at the level of individual resources. With this new feature you can analyze your EBS snapshot costs as well as usage easily.

Botmetric, quickly acting on this new AWS announcement, incorporated this cost allocation and cost analysis for EBS snapshots. Of course you can use AWS’ console to activate EBS snapshot tagging and get EBS cost analysis (read this detailed post by AWS to know how). However, when you take this approach, you are required to download the cost and and usage report and analyze it using excel sheets. This get’s tedious. But with this feature now available on Botmetric, you need not juggle through complex excel sheets.

Importance of Tagging EBS Snapshots for Cost Allocation and Analysis

Tagging has been an age old practice with AWS enthusiasts. Not every AWS service permits customer-defined tags for every AWS service. Some that do can be tagged only using API command line access. Among several AWS services, EBS snapshot storage too is one of the metrics that AWS accounts are charged for. So, tagging the EBS snapshots is pivotal for proper cost allocation.

More than that, as an AWS user, you can now see exactly how much data changes have been made between each snapshot, thus giving visibility on how much you can save by copying the snapshots to Glacier instead.

This new feature of will be of greatest interest to enterprise customers seeking to track their cost associated with EBS snapshots, which generally add few thousands of dollars to their AWS bill.  

Earlier, it was a huge challenge for enterprises to track snapshot cost as they could not tag EBS snapshots for cost allocation. But with the availability of this new feature from AWS complemented with Botmetric’s capability to provide cost analysis for EBS snapshots, they get to drill-drown deeper into cost allocation and get a consolidated cost analysis view too.

Even Jeff Barr recounts this fact in his blog post that this feature will be very useful for enterprises, even for AWS customers of all shapes and sizes. He also adds the fact that managed service providers, some of whom manage AWS footprints that encompass thousands of EBS volumes and many more EBS snapshots, will be able to map snapshot costs back to customer accounts and applications.

Analyzing and Generating Cost Reports of Tagged EBS Snapshots in Botmetric

Botmetric, since long, has been offering cost allocation and cost analysis feature. Right from helping customers with proper tagging policies, tagging resources that have not been properly tagged to providing them an edge to allocate costs for those items for which AWS does not allow, analyzing costs of resources for which tagging was not possible earlier, and much more.

If you have to manage your AWS cloud budget like a pro, your AWS cost allocation & chargeback must be perfect. Thanks to Botmetric Cost & Governance’s Chargeback and Analyze, many AWS customers have been able to define, control, allocate, and understand their AWS cost allocation by different cost centers in their organization, while also having an ability to generate internal chargeback invoices. Now with AWS releasing the capability to tag EBS snapshot, you will have a better visibility into your AWs spend.

Cost Allocation for EBS Snapshots in Botmetric

Using Botmetric Cost & Governance’ Chargeback, you can allocate cloud resources with IDs, including the EBS snapshots. Please refer the image below:

Cost Allocation for EBS Snapshots in Botmetric

Cost Analysis of EBS Snapshots in Botmetric

Using Botmetric Cost & Governance’ Analyze, you can analyze the total cost incurred by the EBS snapshots for a particular day or the month using the filter ‘EC2-EBS-Snapshot.’

Cost Analysis of EBS Snapshots in Botmetric

 

You can even analyze the cost for each resource for a particular time stamp, so that you can get complete visibility into your EBS snapshot.

 

Cost Analysis of EBS Snapshots in Botmetric

 

Report Scheduling and Shareability in Botmetric

With Botmetric, you can even schedule alerts and share the cost reports with a set of recipients, so that other members too have visibility into cost allocation and cost analysis.

Report Scheduling and Shareability in Botmetric

 

With Botmetric, you can even share the cost allocation and analysis reports directly with the intended recipients.

Report Scheduling and Shareability in Botmetric

P.S: According to AWS, snapshots are created incrementally and that the first snapshot will look expensive. In regards to a particular EBS volume, deleting the snapshot with the highest cost may simply move some of the costs to a more recent snapshot. Because when you delete a snapshot that contains blocks that are being used by a later snapshot, the space referenced by the blocks will be attributed to the later snapshot.

To Conclude

Since long, Botmetric has the feature to automate taking EBS snapshots based on instance tags, and volume tags, at regular intervals and at any time of day/week/month. With this feature, you can easily perform AWS EC2-EBS cost allocation and analysis.

And to bring cloud cost accounting under control, you need 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 Botmetric Cost & Governance cloud cost management console. Read this post if you want to know how to schedule interval job to capture EBS snapshots based on Instance tags. Until our next blog, stay tuned with us.

Here’s Botmetric Wishing Thank You for a Fantastic 2016 & Happy 2017

Dear You,

We are thrilled to close this year with a bang! It’s hard to sum up 2016 in just a few scribbles, especially when we made many new friends and rolled-out so many enhancements & new features: a new platform, new audits, more ingrained intelligence, more cloud optimization options, a revamped website with new UI, and much much more.

And as the New Year sets in slowly across the world, minute by minute, second by second, and continues its journey with the same charm and diligence, we at Botmetric, likewise, will continue our journey towards making cloud management and optimization a breeze for you. With rolled sleeves. With more focus. With more features. And with more zeal. Everything for you, dear customer.

Here’s 2016 Year-in-Review: The Best Year so far, for Botmetric

Continues to be the Highest Rated Product on AWS Marketplace

We attribute our success to our dear customers. Thank you for the timely feedback, and those wonderful testimonials bedecked with five stars. Based on the feedback and our learning, we revamped Botmetric into a platform of three products that are use-case targeted instead of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach:

1. Cost management & Governance: This Botmetric product helps you control your cloud spend, save that extra bit, optimize spend through intelligent analytics and allocate cloud resources wisely for maximum ROI. It is built for businesses and CIO teams to enable them in decision making & maximizing cloud ROI.

2. Security & Compliance: This Botmetric product helps you get compliant and keeps your cloud secure with automated audits, health checks, and best practices. It provides the most comprehensive list of automated health checks. It is built for CISO and Security Engineers to proactively identify issues and fix vulnerabilities before they become problems.

3. Ops & Automation: This Botmetric product helps you save time and effort you invest in automating cloud operations. It has built-in operational intelligence that can analyse problems and fix events in seconds. Above all, speeds-up DevOps. It is built for CTOs and DevOps Engineers seeking alert diagnostics, event intelligence, and out of the box automation.

Chose any of the above, or any two of the above, or choose all. Your wish, your products, tailored for your AWS cloud. With these three products, you can realize the full potential of your cloud without any information overload. Find insights that matter to you, in just one-click.

There’s More:

To celebrate what you’ve helped us achieve this year, we have put together few 2016 Botmetric facts:2016 Botmetric Facts

New and Key Botmetric Product Features Rolled-Out in 2016:

1. Data Transfer Analysis for AWS Cost Management: Provides insights into your bandwidth costs on AWS cloud.

2. EC2 Cost Analysis to Optimize AWS Spend: Helps you understand your AWS EC2 spend easily and efficiently.

3. Internal Chargeback: Allocate cost easily across multiple cost centers and bring in the required parity in your AWS cost management.

4. Compliance Audit Policies for Heightened Security: Helps mitigate vulnerabilities in real time and adopt a comprehensive security management.

5. Cloud Reporting Module: Helps you quickly find your AWS cloud reports from one centralized module without scrolling, and to counter endless searching for what you need.

6. Reserved Instance Planner: Provides reservation recommendations at instance level. This revisited RI planner allows you to filter the recommendations, look at the details of the instance being recommended, and accordingly add it to a RI plan. You can also download the plan and work on budget approvals and actual reservations offline.

Work-in-progress

An Advanced DevOps Intelligence Feature: Assuages alert fatigue mess, helps easily understand the alert events through intelligence, and tells you why is it happening. It also checks for pattern in the problems.

We have much more coming up in 2017. So stay tuned with us.

Here’s Botmetric wishing you a very Happy New Year.

 

From,

Team Botmetric

 

Let’s blow the heartiest kisses to the cloud in 2017

Cloud is the new black. Let’s together embrace it more, with dexterity, in 2017.

Share all your 2016 cloud musings, learning, and accomplishments with Botmetric on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. We’re all ears, and we’ve your back.

Let’s make cloud an easier and a better place to grow our business.

 

P.S. If you have not signed-up with Botmetric yet, then go ahead and take a 14-day free trial. As an AWS user, we’re sure you’ll love it!

Introducing EC2 Cost Analysis in New Botmetric: A Game Plan to Optimize AWS Spend

Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) is one of the most popular services of AWS and used by almost every Amazon cloud customer. And, in general,  EC2 usage accounts for 70 to 75% of AWS bill for an average AWS user. Moreover, most of the underlying services like EBS, EIP, ELB, NAT, etc. are used in conjunction with EC2 service for deploying applications on AWS cloud.

So, several unique EC2-related line items can show up on your AWS bill, which will further make it even more difficult to comprehend what’s driving all that spending.  A high-level view of the spend will not suffice. Because of this, it is critical to analyze EC2 usage and its spend breakdown by various dimensions like resource, instance type, services, accounts, and more while optimizing AWS costs.

To cater to this need and help our customers understand their AWS EC2 spend easily and efficiently, we have introduced the support for “EC2 Cost Analysis” in the ‘All-New’ Botmetric platform as part of its Cost Management and Governance’ Analyze feature.

Here’re the top features that the new Botmetric EC2 Cost Analysis offers:

1. Know your EC2 spend by instance type: You can quickly drill down and understand your total EC2 cost on AWS cloud split across different EC2 instance families. You can filter this further by various AWS accounts.

 

EC2 Cost Breakdown by instance type

 

2. EC2 cost breakdown by sub services: We have brought together the cost of EBS, EIP, ELB, Data Transfer, NAT Gateway under EC2 cost analysis module so you can easily see what is your mix of total spend across various EC2 related services. You can filter this cost further for any AWS account or month so you can drill into specific details. We also encourage you to drill down this analysis for a particular instance family.

 

EC2 cost breakdown by sub services

 

3. EC2 cost breakdown across different AWS accounts: You can split the EC2 cost across different AWS accounts in your master payer account so you can categorize them based on your usage.  

 

EC2 cost across different AWS account

 

4. Data export in CSV: We allow you to export different breakdown of EC2 cost into CSV file so you can use it for any internal analysis. The data export option allows you to see the cost breakdown by instance types, AWS accounts, related services, specific EC2 resources, etc.

 

Export data in CSV

You can access this feature in Botmetric Cloud Management Platform under Cost & Governance application in the Analyze Module. Please write to us with your feedback on what we can do better and where we can improve it further.

If you want to know some of the AWS EC2 cost saving tips that pro AWS users follow, read this Botmetric blog post. And if you want to know what are the other new features available in the new release of Botmetric, then take an exclusive 14-day trial or read the expert blog post by Botmetric Customer Success Manager, Richa Nath. Until our next blog post, do stay tuned with us on Twitter, Facebook, and  LinkedIn for other interesting news from us! 

Introducing Data Transfer Analysis for AWS Cost Management in ‘All New’ Botmetric

Editor’s Note: This exclusive launch blog post is authored by Vijay Rayapati, CEO at Botmetric.

We are thrilled to release Data Transfer Analysis feature in our “All-New” Botmetric — for AWS Cost Management. This feature, one of the most requested by our customers, provides insights into your bandwidth costs on AWS cloud.

Many of our customers use variety of AWS services like EC2, S3, ELB, RDS, CloudFront, ElasticCache, etc. in their production environments. So, they wanted to understand their data transfer costs splits by inter region bandwidth, out of AWS bandwidth and bandwidth costs between different AWS regions, etc. To this end, we decided to include “Data Transfer Analysis” as part of Analyze module under Botmetric Cost Management & Governance application.

Here’s how the new Data Transfer Analytics feature will help you break down your bandwidth costs into a variety of fine grained insights:

1.Know the total bandwidth cost in AWS:  You can understand the overall bandwidth costs across your account or split it by regions using filters. You can also use accounts filter to see total bandwidth costs for each of the AWS costs under your master payer account.

cg-data-transfer-1-copy

2.Know the data transfer cost by services: You can view the data transfer costs by different AWS services. This will help you understand the bandwidth cost split across different AWS services.

Know the data transfer cost by services

3.Know the bandwidth cost by transfer type : You can drill down cost by different data transfer types like Intra Region (within AWS region between multiple availability zones), Inter Region (between different AWS regions), and Public Outbound (out of AWS into internet). You can also split this cost for specific account or specific service like RDS using the filters.

Know the bandwidth cost by transfer type

4.Know the data transfer cost by resources: You can understand the bandwidth costs by specific AWS resources, so that you can identify who is causing your highest bandwidth costs from servers or ELB or RDS, etc.

cg-data-transfer-4

We hope this feature will further simplify and help better understand your cloud spend by different dimensions on the bandwidth cost. Please write to us with your feedback on what we can do better and where we can improve it. If you are not using Botmetric already, then signup today for 14-day free trial.

Do read the  expert blog post  by Botmetric Customer Success Manager, Richa Nath, to unearth several other new features available in the new release. Stay tuned with us on  Twitter,  Facebook, and  LinkedIn  for other interesting news from us!

Expert Speak: What’s New in Botmetric 2.0?

Editor’s Note: This exclusive blog post is by our zealous Customer Success Manager, Richa Nath. Includes featured excerpts of an interview by her with Amarkant Singh, Head of Product, Botmetric.  

2017 is the year the cloud will zoom like a rocket, says an IDG  report. To that end, organizations, big or small, will have to be ready for challenges in getting the processes, technology, and people required to proceed in the cloud-driven and cloud-first journey. This is where Botmetric has been helping cloud users manage their public cloud as a unified cloud management platform, since 2014.

As a Customer Success Manager at Botmetric, my team and I have put our best foot forward (and will continue) to help several customers manage & optimize public cloud easily. From the time Botmetric launched till date, we have not shifted our focus a tad in achieving what we have believed — “We want to be the best friend in managing your cloud.’

On the occasion of Thanksgiving day, we released a new version of Botmetric. Our previous blog post, a cover story by Botmetric CEO Vijay Rayapati, already threw light on why the new Botmetric was built when the platform already had good feedback from the customers.

Today, I would like to share few excerpts of an exclusive tech talk I had arranged with Amarkant Singh, Head of Product, Botmetric, on the day of launch. These excerpts will spill more beans on what’s new in Botmetric 2.0!

Here it goes:

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The new Botmetric platform now has three applications: Cost Management & Governance, Security & Compliance, and Ops & Automation. What else should our customers know about the new Botmetric?

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Amar: The new Botmetric is ingrained with cutting-edge cloud intelligence that will further help manage, optimize, and govern the cloud in the easiest way possible. Moreover, it is now customer centric. As you already know, a CIO will rarely be interested in Ops and Automation, while a CISO always wants to look into only security and compliance. In short, I can say that the new Botmetric is now user-targeted within a company, it is unified, and an intelligent cloud management platform.

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There is a new feature called Smart RI Management in the Botmetric Cost Management & Governance app. And under this feature, there is Confidence Score. How does this matter in RI planning for businesses on AWS?

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Amar: The new Smart RI Management is the GenNext of the previous RI management module. This new feature is built with intelligence and has the Confidence Score. This Confidence Score is a wise metric that adds more insights in decision making while reserving cloud capacity for the businesses. We always wanted to give our customers the opportunity to make intelligent RI decisions to increase their Cloud ROI. The Confidence Score is that number calculated considering multiple factors like number of days a server was used, CPU usage, network I/O, etc. In essence, the Smart RI Management allows customers to filter confidence score accordingly to suit their RI planning.

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The new Cost Management & Governance app has EC2 Cost Analysis. How does it help Botmetric customers in understanding their AWS Cloud utilization?

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Amar: In my experience, EC2 is the highest contender towards a customer’s AWS expenses. And it’s hard to analyze various related items in EC2 cost for customers. With the launch of EC2 Cost Analysis app, Botmetric customers can now find out various insights like which instances they are spending the most, what is the split cost for various sub services like EBS/EIP, etc. In addition, there are other involved costs such as subscription, NAT-Gateway and more. These costs needs to be taken care of too. We are very excited to offer EC2 cost analytics to our customers for simplifying their analysis.

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I’ve several customers asking me, if there is anything Botmetric can do about Data Transfer cost insights? Now that it’s included in the new Botmetric, can you throw some light on it? And tell our customers how does data transfer analysis help in cost reduction?

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Amar: This is one of the most requested feature by our users because Data Transfer is a gray area for even AWS cloud power users. If you are a business with high data transfer nature in your infrastructure, then you would definitely want to realize which services contribute more towards data transfer expenditure and how it’s spread across different bandwidth costs of AWS. This realization of data transfer cost analysis through AWS bills is a tedious and manual task. With Botmetric’s new AWS Data Transfer Analysis feature, customers can understand their bandwidth costs at ease.

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RI recommendations was one of the most favorite feature of our customers. The new Botmetric has ‘Smart’ RI recommendations. How do you think it will add more value than the previous RI recommendation feature?

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Amar: Yes, we received a lot of good feedback for the AWS Reserved Instance planning module in Botmetric. With the new Smart RI recommendation, like its predecessor, is also a process defined within Botmetric to simplify the cloud capacity purchases by businesses. It starts from identifying the capacity to be reserved (EC2 RIs in term of instances) and then identifing what kind of RI financial model provides the best ROI for the customers. It computes an intelligent Confidence Score to help customers take decisions for their AWS RI purchase. Within the detailed RI planner, customers can now filter in the Confidence Score, view type of RIs that are lined up for recommendations and add them to the plan. This plan can then be downloaded as CSV report and can be consumed offline to get approvals and plan budget. We are working on further simplifying this task so our customers with large cloud infrastructure can do this quickly.

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Before I move to other questions on Security & Compliance, do you want to talk about any other cool features available in the new Cost Management & Governance app?

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Amar: Yes. We have also included Eliminate feature in Cost Management and Governance app, where customers can perform multiple clean-ups in their cloud account with 0% error, that too with just one click. This will definitely save hours of manual work and save money for our customers.

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In the new Security & Compliance app, we have introduced Health Score there. How does it help customers in understanding the security of their infrastructure?

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Amar: Our thought of creating Health Score was to help our customers to reach a score of 100 for a fully secure and compliant infrastructure. This score is computed based on our security and compliance analysis with respect to customer known history from previous audits & our recommended best practices for securing infrastructure on the cloud. In essence, it will help customers keep track of their cloud security compliance.

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Many customers who tried Beta have asked me about the custom policies for audits. So, how does custom policies help customers in Security & Compliance?

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Amar: We created various categories in audits to make it easy for customers to understand their network security and disaster recovery compliance, etc. If a customer feels that the pre-defined policies are not tailored to their needs, then Botmetric provides an opportunity for them to create custom policies by selecting various audits related to security and compliance with specific configuration suited for their business. It is not as complicated as it sounds at least for cloud security engineers 🙂

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In Security & Compliance app, there is an exclusive Security Group(SG) audit? What is it?

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Amar: AWS Security Group (SG)  is the most used network services in AWS infrastructure for defining the access security (using virtual firewall) for a customer’s cloud infrastructure.  Most of the network access rules are  handled by it. The SG determines network access rules to define the inflow/outflow traffic and also regulates the access to specific IPs in a customer’s cloud infrastructure. Since the security groups are at the core of network security in AWS cloud, a dedicated audit section for such a critical service was much required so that our customers have a higher vigilance and easy way to locate any critical vulnerabilities quickly.  I strongly recommend this feature for network engineer responsible for managing the access security for their AWS cloud.

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Under the Ops & Automation app, there is a Resource Analyzer, which has a new visual map-view feature. What is the thinking behind it and how it will help?

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Amar: Many customers have asked for a single view of their global cloud infrastructure in AWS. With Resource Analyzer, a customer can get an aggregated view of cloud resources distribution across the globe, discover various key cloud services consumed by them, and eliminate unused resources. We are working on making this much more intelligent to pinpoint problems and detect issues in customer cloud environment. Many of our beta customers have heavily used this feature to download reports by 1st, 2nd, and 3rd most utilized regions.

[mk_mini_callout title=”Richa: “]

What are the major features in the new Ops & Automation application that you think customers should be aware of?

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Amar: Firstly, the new Ops and Automation application has an execution history feature that tracks every action taken by Botmetric on your behalf for automating operational jobs and handling any alert events. It is one of our most requested feature by our customers, as many wanted to view the previous executions and track the changes in Automation. This feature will help a lot of our customers who are performing internal audits & need to have visibility into their cloud automation changes. Secondly, we have included extensive filters in Resource Analyzer to help customers explore all resources across various cloud accounts and regions. Moreover, it will help customers drill down details to a cloud availability zone and their custom tag, and then allow them to download the report so that they can consume it offline.

If you’re on AWS, then do explore the new Botmetric platform for intelligent cloud management, for free, with an exclusive 14-day trial, and do give us a shout out on TwitterFacebook, and  LinkedIn  to tell us what you think about it. Stay tuned for other interesting news from us!

 

The September Roundup @ Botmetric: Enhancing AWS Cost Management And Much More

We understand the fast-paced life, and believe in all things quick! We know, nothing matters more when you can catch up with important news in few clicks and scrolls amidst a busy schedule. That’s why: here is the first post contemplating what happened at Botmetric in the month of September. And it was mostly about Botmetric further helping you with more AWS Cost Management features.

New feathers in the Botmetric’s cap:

Enhancements are essential part of growth. While there was so much of happening in the cloud arena, Botmetric’s product engineering team had rolled up their sleeves and were busy adding more user-centric enhancements to the platform. Here are the two featured additions made this month :

1) A Handy RDS RI Portfolio Management for the Wise Cloud Managers

What is it about: Managing reserved RDS portfolio in AWS

How will it help:  It provides the right data-points to help today’s cloud managers make the right purchase decisions on RDS RI and manage their reserved RDS instances portfolio with minimal effort.

Where can you find this feature on Botmetric: Under RI Planner console.

Read the blog on this feature here.

2) Capability to Search Cost Items based on Linked Accounts

What is it about: Searching cost associated with linked accounts in AWS.

How will it help: It helps categorize and track the costs aggregated by linked accounts. In essence, users can filter cost items for linked accounts for singular view in cost allocation of allocated/unallocated objects.

Where can you find this feature on Botmetric: Under Cost Allocation Console.

Read the blog on this feature here.

Knowledge Sharing @ Botmetric

We believe in sharing is caring, and we care for our customers immensely. So, we continuously provide support by various means, including blogs! Do check out some of the trending blogs posted on Botmetric this month.

Managing the Cost Turbulence in Cloud

Even though cloud is the new norm across industries, predicting and forecasting cloud spend has become an incessant challenge. If you are a business owner or a finance executive seeking to take control of the cloud cost turbulence, then this blog is a must read.

Top 6 Challenges in Cloud Computing That Still Prevail Across Industries

Innovations in cloud computing are happening at an exponential rate, thus opening the gates of increased opportunities. However, they have opened up new challenges which IT decision makers should not (NEVER) ignore. Bookmark this blog page, if you are an IT decision maker facing challenges in your cloud infra.

6 AWS Cloud Security Best Practices for Dummies

In today’s IT threat landscape, keeping pace with the attackers and ensuring security is more important than ever. By 2018, 60% of enterprises that implement appropriate cloud visibility and control tools will experience 1/3rd fewer security failures says Gartner. Read this blog to know how you can hack proof your AWS cloud with few best practices.

There are many more insightful blogs populated on cloud and cloud management. Do read them here.

Finally, continued excitement with 5 star reviews for Botmetric

Get a sneak-peek here.

aws-cloud-audits-devops-task-automation-cost-analysis-and-aws-cost-management-botmetric

If you have missed rating us, you can do it here now. If you haven’t tried Botmetric, we invite you to sign-up for a 14-day trial.

Rain or shine, Botmetric will continue to provide many more cloud management features. Until the next month, stay tuned with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Managing the Cost Turbulence in Cloud

“Cloud is the new normal” for businesses around the world. The advantage of OPEX model over CAPEX is accelerating the cloud adoption across large enterprises. But as businesses are migrating to cloud, one of the key challenges faced by them is predicting and forecasting their cloud spend. This is due to the on-demand infrastructure and pay-as-you-go  business model offered by cloud providers. Managing the ‘Cost Turbulence’ in the cloud is becoming a bigger challenge, besides data security and cloud automation.

The on-demand availability, ability to launch infrastructure using CLI command or via APIs,  easy to design applications that can auto-scale & provide fault-tolerance are causing disruption to financial teams in the businesses in understanding and managing their cloud spend easily while adhering to business wide budgeting controls.

The following changes in the IT process due to cloud adoption are causing major challenges to business owners & finance controllers responsible for managing the business budgeting:

Elasticity over Control – In Cloud, there is a no control process required for engineers to launch servers & infrastructure once they have required identity access. Also there is no easy way to restrict number of servers or duration as one of the basic premises of cloud is elasticity, on-demand availability and auto-scaling to engineer next generation applications.

Agility over Approval – In the Cloud era, the focus is on agility over approval mechanisms for engineering/product/application teams. The agility offered by Cloud will help engineers to develop, build and manage their infrastructure at a remarkable speed rather than being subjected to approval processes like on-premise (floating procurement process for hardware acquisition). While this is a great choice for businesses, the financial forecasting will be a challenge resulting in budgeted cost spikes & over runs.

So how does finance departments and procurement teams deal with the cost spikes, budget over runs causing cost turbulence to their business budgeting in the Cloud era?

In a nutshell it requires new processes and applications like Botmetric to aid in managing the business budgeting & spend forecasting.

Enforce Tagging – While not compromising either the elasticity or agility, you need to encourage and enforce tagging for infrastructure and services used by your teams. You can also define a shutdown or stop policy for the infrastructure that doesn’t follow the tagging compliance using automated programs.

Chargeback & Report – By having an ability to chargeback the respective spend to specific teams, departments or groups in the company will give finance teams a relief to identity who caused the cost spikes & over runs while making the teams accountable for their spend.

Track Idle Infrastructure – Tools like Botmetric will help you in identifying idle infrastructure based on resource usage rules to notify users about idle infrastructure in their cloud environments. This idle infrastructure can be stopped or servers can be downgraded to minimum size for reduction in the spend.

If you are a business owner or finance executive looking to control of the cost turbulence caused by cloud, then try Botmetric  to see how we can help you. As they say, change is the only constant thing in business so you need to learn to adapt your processes for the cloud world.

How to Forecast Financial Catastrophe with AWS Cloud Cost Management

AWS cloud cost management, the science behind tracking and controlling cloud spends, is like tight surfing through the many tides of AWS cloud. If you know how to balance and glide through the waves while also foresee the rising financial storm, then nothing like it.

Of course, there is forecasting capability in AWS’ Cost Explorer module that allows you to view forecasted costs together with historical costs. However, will this module alone suffice to manage and control costs? Will it avoid ‘cloud sprawl phenomenon’the risk of paying for unused instances? No. You need much more than that.

Know your AWS cloud capacity needs

Knowing your cloud capacity requirements, even before it is bought, is very crucial. Yes! However, if you are one of those CIOs who has already bought ‘n’ number of AWS instances for your business, then don’t worry.

The first step towards optimal AWS cloud cost management and optimization is preparing a  capacity plan. This plan should take into account of several features of your service, such as service-level agreement, usage patterns, storage size, and environment configurations. Additionally, the plan should be based on business performance, including the projected user-base growth and new services that are going to be released.

With a pertinent capacity plan in place, instances can be provisioned or shut down as and when the need arises. Eventually, this strategy leads to cost optimization and will  help you control the surge in cloud spend. This just doesn’t end here. There’s more.    

Evaluate the peak time

To gain maximum throughput and to better forecast financial storm, you need to evaluate the peak time of the application. With an apt evaluation report in hand, you will be able to foresee the amount of instances required for a particular time. Thus, making way for a successfull forecast.

In the AWS console, there are two useful widgets, namely Budgets and Forecasts. These widgets will help with AWS cloud cost prediction and AWS cloud cost management.

The AWS Budgets provides usage trends and determines the sudden spikes in the cost and sends alerts. Whereas the Forecasts widget on AWS Cost Explorer provides cost predictions based on resource allocation, location, and API operation. In addition, Forecasts allows users to forecast costs three months ahead.

However, these facets of AWS alone are not enough to forecast financial catastrophe. Orchestrating various dynamics of AWS at the right time, and placing the right things in the right place, should be your call of the hour to avoid a catch 22 situation!  

Fine track current use and analyze past trends to predict future bills with Botmetric

The Botmetric cloud management suite provides cost analytics, reports, and visual graphs to help regulate AWS expenditures. The reports not only include detailed cloud spend information but also includes comprehensive monthly spend reports and actionable summary reports.  

Together, these feature help you fine tune AWS cost tracking, forecasting, and save costs intelligently.  

Without even touching the AWS Cost Explorer’s Forecasts widget in the AWS console, you can track, visualize, forecast, and optimize your cloud costs from  Botmetric’s Cost Analytics dashboard. This dashboard helps you to keep your spend in control by acting upon smart, predictive recommendations based on more than 80 AWS best practices.

With Botmetric Cost Analytics dashboard, you can identify potential savings and optimize cost. You can also get regular updates on latest trends, which can help you plan your monthly/annual budget. It allows you to get break up of cost per account/cost center for better spend management without even looking into Advanced Cost Explorer in AWS console.