AWS cloud costs: Amazon hopes these tools can help fight budget blowouts

AWS has released new budgeting tools to enable businesses to impose control on unchecked cloud costs across multiple projects.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

AWS users can now set up as many as 20,000 budgets per payer account.

Image: AWS

AWS has updated its Budgets feature with new tools to help firms rein in cloud projects before they blow the budget.

With potentially dozens of cloud projects underway at any given time in an enterprise, there's a chance that those responsible for budgets don't have a full picture of how they're tracking until it's too late.

To help them get a better grip on frequently-changing cloud expenses, AWS has released new budgeting features aimed at project, DevOps, and finance managers, including automated notifications with enough detail to see whether corrective action is needed to avoid a cost overrun.

That makes the feature more valuable than a simple cost calculator, and could help those responsible for budgets communicate with different teams, departments, or regions that are consuming cloud resources.

AWS users can now set up as many as 20,000 budgets per payer account, which are updated four times a day and can be designed to suit the perspective of the project manager, senior manager, or finance manager. The first two budgets for each account cost nothing, but additional budgets cost two cents per day.

For a top-level overview, budgets can be created for each business unit that's using up cloud resources, or the entire company, to track spending and compare usage against budgets.

Project managers might be interested in costs and resource usage within their department. They can use the reports to watch multiple services, tags, and regions, and use the tool to alert stakeholders when action is needed.

Finance managers can use the budgets to analyze historical costs by company, account, service, business unit, or project team, and use that data to inform future budgets.

Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are competing on a number of fronts in the cloud to win enterprise customers across the globe. All three have either opened or are planning to open new datacenters and occasionally battle over price and pricing models.

AWS's latest budget offering gives it an edge for those holding the purse strings in the enterprise.

As the firm noted when it launched a simpler version of Budgets and Forecasts last year, when it comes to budgeting in the enterprise, no one likes a surprise. But until it released Budgets and Forecasts, businesses had to figure out costs manually.

Microsoft is also attempting to solve the same budgeting problem in Azure. In June, when it open-sourced the Azure Usage and Billing Portal, it noted that plenty of customers wanted a simple way to see usage and billing information across multiple subscriptions.

However, Microsoft couldn't meet that demand due to restrictions on billing information, so it open-sourced the billing portal, allowing Azure customers to add multiple subscriptions to the tool.

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