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Cloud Cost Management BI: Getting Started

Heather Munro
Marketing Content Specialist

As companies move to the Cloud, an increasingly important concern is to manage expenses and save money. For example, using Cloud storage means you’re paying just for what you use, but if you aren’t watching closely your Cloud Costs creep up quickly. The foundation to getting started with Cloud Cost Management is having full visibility into all of your Cloud resources, then develop the ability to forecast future spending. In this blog, we introduce how to get started with Cloud Cost Business Insights in order to easily identify cost savings.

Step One: Develop a Cloud Cost Strategy

For any business initiative, you need to know what you want to achieve long term so that you can track your progress. Every business is unique, and their Cloud needs/strategy will be unique as well. Strategy can vary based on:

  • Storage size needs
  • Location (International or National Storage)
  • Development Processes (Temporary VM’s)
  • Resource Type (How often will it be accessed)
  • Number and Size of Development Teams

Your best bet when starting is to appoint a Cloud Cost Management leader or team that is committed to creating the strategy, implementing it, enforcing it and maintaining it long term.

Step Two: Cloud Account Setup

Many businesses move to one of the Big 3 Cloud Platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure without taking advantage of all these platforms have to offer. While smaller and more affordable Cloud platforms exist, the Big 3 are attractive as they provide many cutting edge tools and resources.

If you’re using any of the big 3 Cloud Platforms they each have their own cost savings tools. As a Premier AWS Partner Indellient knows the ins and outs of all the cost savings tools provided by AWS. When Indellient takes on a client here are the tools we will set and configure for them:

Cost and Usage Report (AWS CUR)

The AWS CUR gives complete insight into your Cloud Resources costs. The CUR report can be scheduled to export up to three times a day. (Why does Indellient set up AWS CUR and what do we use the report for? Do we send it to another tool?)

Amazon QuickSight

Amazon QuickSight allows you to create customized Dashboards that can use Machine Learning to provide long-term business insight. (Can CUR reports be automatically imported? Do we have any other information going in?)

AWS Cost Explorer

AWS Cost Explorer allows you to create customized Dashboards that will allow you to keep track of your Cloud Resources with a glance. This provides an “out-of-the-box” solution to tracking costs, as opposed to using a customized QuickSight dashboard, depending on the complexity of your cloud environment and the sophistication of your cost management process.

AWS Generated Cost Allocation Tags

AWS Generated and User Cost Allocation Tags are set up to identify and keep track of all of your Cloud Resources. User generated tags are more meaningful in the context of the organization, but AWS generated tags provide a valuable failsafe for when manually labelling resources isn’t feasible or gets missed.

Step 3: Design and Apply a Cloud Tagging Strategy

Tagging your Cloud Resources is the foundation of any cloud cost optimization initiative. If your cloud resources aren’t tagged correctly they won’t show up in the specific reports you’ve set up. It’s important to set out a Tagging Governance in advance as inconsistent tagging structure and tagging limits set by Cloud Platforms make it a complex process.

Creating a cloud tagging strategy is important but not easy. Tagging strategies can vary based on teams, industry, and resources. If you are creating a strategy in-house you will want to designate a specific team that will create a sound strategy and enforce it across all teams and resources.

Report Ready!

Once you have followed these steps, you will access total visibility into your cloud spending through reports and dashboards. This visibility will allow you to identify high-cost resources and resources you are not using. While your Cloud Cost Management journey has begun, remember it is a process and strategy that needs to be reviewed, enforced, and maintained consistently. When you create a strategy you are not only creating guidelines, but hoping to implement a work culture dedicated to keeping Cloud costs down.

As an AWS Partner, Indellient is ready to help you no matter what stage you are in your cloud cost management journey. Our experts will work closely with your team from strategy to implementation in four weeks. Detailed documentation will allow you to continue to use and maintain your reports in-house.

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About The Author

Hi my name is Heather Munro! I'm a Content Marketing Specialist at Indellient. I work with the Marketing team to maintain Indellients organic social and search engine presence. I love working with all the Indellient SMEs to develop engaging and informative content.