One of the main benefits of moving to cloud is cost effectiveness, but a misconfigured and incorrectly sized cloud infrastructure can cost you sometime more than the on-prem resources. Every time we have got customer complains about cloud being expensive as compared to on-prem our cost optimization assessment findings were their cloud was mis-configured or was incorrectly sized. In every assessment we found Outbound data costs to be higher than it should be due to mis-configuration of outbound traffic path.

Below we are going to discuss some of the tools AWS provides to manage your AWS costs and keep them under control.

1. AWS Cost Explorer

AWS Cost Explorer is our favorite service to visualize our costs by service or linked accounts. The AWS Cost Explorer comes with few predefined view or you can come up with own configuration depending on the cost or timespan you want to see. It lets you drill down to even few cents that were spent during a time window which is very powerful.

You can create your own custom reports and save them for future use, use these reports to get birds eye view of your total AWS spend or magnify every cent that is spent by setting time interval and granularity level to detect where the cost increased or went out of your budget.

You can filter by AWS account and then dive deeper to see the cost of services in that account, which makes it very powerful in a multi-account AWS Organization setup.

2. AWS Cost Anomaly Detection

AWS Cost Anomaly Detection is another great service by AWS which uses machine learning to detect anomalies in your AWS Spending. The best thing about AWS Cost Anomaly detection is its watching your AWS spend even when you are sleeping or focusing on other important tasks. AWS Cost Anomaly Detection does an automated root cause analysis to let you know what caused the cost anomaly.

3. AWS Budgets

Use AWS Budgets to set custom budgets for your business, this is one of the great tools to set your Cloud spending budgets and forecast. Forecasting being the important factor because of the nature of Cloud costs. AWS Budgets integrate with other AWS services as well to send you alerts and notifications. For example you can integrate AWS Budget with AWS Chatbot to send you alert via Slack or AWS Chime.

AWS Budget can also be used to monitor your Reserved Instances or Saving Plans usage. You can also configure actions to be triggered when a certain threshold is reached, for example when the cost goest beyond your specified threshold it can trigger an action which can stop that increase in cost immediately either by stopping or removing the resource.

4. AWS Cost & Usage Report

AWS Cost & Usage Report is a service that allows to configure automated reports for hourly, daily or monthly granularity. It allows you to see a comprehensive cost and usage information which includes information about services as well. AWS Cost & Usage report can integrate with other Analytical tools and you can use AWS Quicksight to get analytical reports from this data.

AWS Cost & Usage report can also be configured for member accounts in your organization to allow them to view their account level cost and usage reports which reduces the operational overhead for your finance department.

5. AWS Cost Categories

AWS Cost Categories is the simplest service that allows you to group your organization’s cost and usage information based on your business needs. You can defined rules which map AWS accounts or resources to departments or projects in your organization which is a powerful tool for chargeback or showback scenarios.

AWS Cost Categories also integrate with AWS Budgets, AWS Cost & Usage Report and AWS Cost Explorer  to allow you to use those tools and see information based on your business needs.

6. Cost Allocation Tags

Cost Allocation Tags allow you to use your custom tags from resources to get cost reports and associate costs with custom cost center or projects, the cost allocation tags also uses AWS generated cost allocation tags which are only visible in the billing console.

7. AWS Billing

AWS Billing console allow you to see your monthly AWS bills. You can see how much are you are charged for which service and in which AWS Region. This helps you keep track of your invoices in pdf and CSV format which can be utilize to integrate with other third party tools and custom reports.


All of the above AWS services are very powerful and can be customize as per your business requirements, some of the features in the services may have an overlap. But with right knowledge and experience these services can be used to greatly benefit your business in saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in mis-configured resources.

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