Amazon ups its game in cloud cost tracking

One of the issues Amazon Web Services customers cite is how difficult it can be to track and project their cloud costs over time — there’s just so much stuff up there!
Well, Amazon apparently has been paying attention — it just announced Cost Explorer, a tool that shows a customer’s cloud spending for the current month and “automatically pre-populates your last 4 months of AWS spend so you can visualize your AWS costs, and start analyzing trends and spending patterns,” according to an AWS blog post.
One AWS partner said this is a tool AWS needs to offer.
“Cost management continues to be one of the top pain points we hear from the AWS customers we speak to. Given billing is so core to the service AWS provides, I’ve been surprised AWS hasn’t been more aggressive here,” Izzy Azeri, co-founder of Stackdriver said via email. “Based on the description to do granular filtering and event based cost analysis, I think this can be very compelling to customers. My guess is this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of spend management and optimization tools for AWS.”
Cost Explorer comes with some pre-set views — monthly spend broken out by service, monthly spend by linked account and daily spend. One AWS watcher said it was unclear how Cost Explorer differs from Amazon’s existing CloudWatch service, although the latter appears to track usage of various AWS resources but not the associated costs. Update: Indeed, CloudWatch collects EC2 resource performance metrics for developers and IT people while Cost Explorer reports back on costs and can offer predictions on fugure ost. oudWatch collects EC2 resource performance metrics, useful for developers and operations folks. Customers can use it to monitor what their using and to set alarms based on standard or custom metrics for their applications while Cost Explorer reports on costs or can predict costs, and is useful for operations or finance professionals.
A cottage industry has grown up around helping AWS customers assess, map out and cut their AWS costs — third parties like Cloudability and Cloudyn play here — but Amazon keeps adding more user-friendly dashboards, including Trusted Advisor, which helps customers optimize their use of AWS services.
amazon cost explorer
This story was updated at 2:15 p.m. with more detail on how Cost Explorer differs from CloudWatch.