Amazon adds billing alerts to cloud services menu

A raft of startups have built their businesses around tracking pay-as-you-go cloud costs for customers. Amazon(s amzn), king of the cloud, has been paying attention.

The company just added alerting capabilities that will flag unexpectedly heavy usage of Amazon Web Services.  For customers that enable them, that could mean avoiding unpleasant surprises when the bill comes due.

The existing Amazon Cloudwatch service already tracked usage for customers, but users had to check their portals for this info. Now, if they so choose, they can get proactive alerts about total AWS usage across the board — and their usage tallied by AWS service.  Those with consolidated billing across multiple AWS accounts can also get alerts on charges across those linked accounts.

Here’s how the alert dashboard looks:

According to the AWS blog post announcing the news:

You can start by using the billing alerts to let you know when your AWS bill will be higher than expected. For example, you can set up an alert to make sure that your AWS usage remains within the Free Usage Tier or to find out when you are approaching a budget limit.

Amazon has made a practice of adding more services atop its infrastructure stack — which puts it into contention with its own partners. This alerting service is just the latest example of this. The third parties that also monitor AWS usage — companies like Newvem, Cloudability, and Cloudyn — some of which offer their own alerting services — are doubtless watching this space very carefully.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user stevendamro