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Amazon Cost Explorer Provides Deeper Insight Into Cloud Spending

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Amazon Web Services has introduced Cost Explorer, a tool for managing spending on its cloud computing platform. It features reporting, analytics, and visualization tools to help Amazon users track and manage their costs. Pre-configured views and filters give customers control over how they view their spending and also offers an opportunity for further cost cutting through optimizing, right after the recent big overall price cuts.

Cost Explorer is integrated with the AWS Billing Console launched in November. It will be a welcome addition, as it’s not always transparent for some customers as to how much they’re spending, where the spending is coming from, and ways to cut those costs – unless they use third party tools.

  • Monthly Spend by Service: See where money is going, helps identify opportunity to save by changing usage patterns, or taking advantage of  service-specific pricing options
  • Monthly Spend Linked by Account: This is not just a clever name, it helps you track spending by your linked accounts. The master paying account sees where all the money is going while the linked accounts see only their spending
  • Daily Spend: Let’s you see spending as it happens. Good for tracking key areas or projects proactively without waiting for the monthly spend.

Custom filters let you get granular with your cost exploration. You can check out information around your launch date to see what the initial spend from the resulting traffic is like. It lets you examine a specific time frame, the total cost for a particular application, or functional group regardless of the AWS resource (compute, storage, etc.). Cost Explorer, allows you to collect data from isolated resource pools, reconciling vendor-specific reporting formats, and estimating how to allocate shared resources.

What might be noteworthy is that this is a lot of functionality that was previously offered through third parties. One example of a cloud cost monitoring solution is Cloudability. Rightscale offers this feature set as well, addition to other features, so it won’t impact the AWS ecosystem posterboy.

Once again this is a release of a feature set that will have mass appeal, and Amazon does a pretty good job not stepping on any toes by sticking to necessary functions with mass appeal.  It does mean that some third parties on the AWS cloud providing price tracking solutions might have to sell their value proposition a lot harder, most likely by offering more data or spanning disparate clouds.

This also means that Amazon’s  cloud rivals now have a feature that needs to become a default offering in their clouds as well. Many of the major cloud competitors don’t offer this level of granularity in pricing, but instead point to third parties that offer these capabilities. Consider cost exploring a mandatory cloud feature now.

About the Author

Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.

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