Allocate Costs Better With The New AWS Cost Categories

Saturday, May 9, 2020
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Recently, there was an announcement from Amazon Web Services (AWS) about the release of a new feature called AWS Cost Categories. The people in companies that are responsible for managing the costs of AWS should pay careful attention to this new feature. The new release could mean a significant improvement in efficiency around both cost allocation and managing billing.

What are the new AWS Cost Categories?

Cost categories allow the user to create customisable groups, in a way that tags aren’t capable of facilitating. With cost categories, the user is able to structure cost allocation specifically to a company’s unique workflow, this can be around a location, team, or application group, for example.

This feature means a user is capable of writing rules as well as forming billing line items groups. These features can then be applied within AWS Budgets, Cost Explorer, the cost and usage reports, as well as other areas. Groups can be formed across multiple areas, such as charge types, service, tag, and account.

Are Cost Categories not the same as tags?

For people who are familiar with the AWS ecosystem already, they could think that the Cost Category structure is essentially a reframing of the tagging structure employed in Cost Explorer. While there are similarities, there are some important differences that set the two apart from each other.

One of the most important of these distinctions is that in cost categories, logic and rules can be set to improve organisation. This means a person can use rules to put specific services into categories and the same team. With categories, you can include elements that tagging wouldn’t allow, for example, AWS support costs and Reserved Instance charges.

How does AWS cost categories benefit your workflow?

What sets this new release from Amazon apart is that you can define your own categorization rules. Through either the Json editor, API or Cost Categories rule builder, a user can outline the rules most vital to their organisation’s unique workflow. If using the rule builder, there are functions that many will be familiar with already, making it simple to use. Some of the predefined logic steps are, ‘is, is not, contains, starts with’, and ,’ends with’.

If your organization has a lot of AWS accounts, products, applications, non-production and production, the cost categories are great at aiding you to understand what the costs are and where they should appropriately be allocated.

What is AWS cost management?

AWS pricing works differently to traditional models. With AWS, a business works on a pay-as-you-go pricing system. To help companies stay in control of their cost allocations, there is the AWS Cost Management product suite. This empowers organisations to understand, control, and organise their usage and costs associated with the cloud.

Within Cost Explorer, a user can navigate the interface to view graphics, charts and data to understand the AWS costs over time and then apply this into management strategies. Using AWS Budgets becomes very effective once trends and patterns of usage are well understood. Using AWS Budgets, overall spend and key costs can be defined. Alerts can also be set for when budgets overrun.

Tags are another key feature to the cost management system. These are labels that identify certain resources within the AWS ecosystem such as virtual machines, storage, and networking. They can be useful to monitor costs at a micro level, meaning a proper understanding of resource usage can be found.

For businesses that are able to make a one to three year commitment to the AWS service, AWS reservations is also available, which provides the organisation with a reduced cost around the hourly rate.

Amazon’s AWS is the largest web services provider in the market. Because of this, chances are your organisation is using it in some capacity. Properly understood and managed, the costs of AWS can be extremely beneficial to a business’s spreadsheet. However, to make sure the cost allocation is implemented correctly, there must be detailed organisation. The new cost categories provide a valuable feature to the AWS system. Adding this to your current workflow, utilising AWS Budgets, Cost Explorer, Cost and Usage Reports, will be vital to keeping your organisation working at optimal capacity.