In the ever-evolving world of cloud computing, optimizing costs has become a key concern for businesses. Managing expenses efficiently in the cloud can be challenging, but AWS offers a robust suite of native cost management tools that can help you stay on top of your cloud spending. In this blog, we will explore the top 10 native AWS cloud cost tools that empower businesses to enhance their cloud financial operations (Cloud FinOps) and achieve greater cost-effectiveness.
- AWS Cost Explorer
The AWS Cost Explorer provides cost analysis and visualization of your AWS usage. It lets you view, understand, and monitor your spending patterns over time. With features like custom date ranges, filtering, and forecasting, you can accurately identify cost trends, make data-driven decisions, and predict future expenses.
It’s easily accessible, and has gotten a lot better in recent years (for example adding UsageType), but still doesn’t provide granular visibility. For example, in Cost Explorer, you can’t see the cost of a specific S3 bucket.
- AWS Budgets
AWS Budgets allows you to set custom cost and usage budgets for your AWS resources. By defining budget thresholds and receiving alerts when costs exceed these limits, you gain better control over your cloud spending. AWS Budgets keeps you informed about your expenses and helps you avoid unexpected overages.
- AWS Cost and Usage Reports
For a deeper dive into your AWS cost data, the AWS Cost and Usage Reports (CUR) deliver detailed billing information in a machine-readable format. By exporting the data to Amazon S3 or other destinations, you can perform advanced custom analysis and gain valuable insights into resource usage and cost allocation.
Any third-party cloud cost management tool uses the CUR as a source of truth and the CUR can also be visualized in the CUDOS dashboard.
- AWS Cost Anomaly Detection
Introduced to identify unexpected cost fluctuations, AWS Cost Anomaly Detection utilizes machine learning algorithms to recognize irregular cost patterns. By detecting anomalies early on, you can investigate and resolve any cost-related issues promptly.
- AWS Cost Allocation Tags
Managing costs across various projects or departments becomes more accessible with AWS Cost Allocation Tags. You can categorize resources using user-defined tags, allowing you to allocate expenses accurately and understand which areas of your organization are consuming the most resources.
Tagging is a prerequisite to cost attribution and creating a good tagging strategy early will pay dividends as you grow.
- AWS Savings Plans
AWS Savings Plans enable you to save money on your cloud spending by committing to a consistent usage volume over a period, typically one or three years. This pricing model offers significant discounts compared to standard On-Demand rates and provides cost stability for predictable workloads. Compute Savings Plans apply to EC2, ECS Fargate, and Lambda.
- AWS Reserved Instances (RIs)
Reserved Instances (RIs) are another cost-saving mechanism that allows you to reserve EC2 capacity for a specific term. RIs offer substantial discounts over On-Demand pricing and are suitable for long-term, steady-state workloads. There are RIs for EC2, RDS, ElastiCache, OpenSearch, Amazon Redshift, and Amazon DynamoDB.
- AWS Instance Scheduler
The AWS Instance Scheduler helps you save costs by automating the start and stop times of your EC2 and RDS instances. By running instances only when they are needed, such as during business hours, you can avoid unnecessary charges for idle resources.
- AWS Compute Optimizer
AWS Compute Optimizer analyzes historical usage patterns and recommends ~8 savings recommendations focused on rightsizing. By right-sizing your instances, you can eliminate underutilized resources and potentially reduce costs.
Compute optimizer is free. One issue with Compute Optimizer is that its savings don’t account for enterprise discounts or service reservations your organization has.
- AWS Trusted Advisor
In addition to performance and security recommendations, Trusted Advisor provides insights on cost savings. Trusted advisor, unlike Compute Optimizer, is not free and can cost 3%+ of your bill. One issue with Trusted Advisor is that its savings don’t account for enterprise discounts or service reservations your organization has.
How Cloudthread can help?
While native tools are a helpful starting point, Cloudthread’s suite of cloud cost-savings tools can help augment your FinOps strategy to ensure efficient cloud costs as you grow. Specifically, Cloudthread provides below benefits over native AWS cloud cost tools:
- Savings Opportunities Breadth: While AWS Compute Optimizer finds ~8 savings recommendations, Cloudthread computes ~60+ savings recommendations in your environment. See the full list here.
- Savings Analytics: With the Savings Dashboard Cloudthread provides FinOps and leadership with insight into any waste in an environment segmented by difficulty and analytics on waste and savings over time.
- Engineering workflow integrations: Savings opportunities can be organized into workflows with Threads that integrate with Slack and Jira to convert savings opportunities into engineering action.
- Chargeback / Showback: Cloudthread maintains a customer-specific CUR file that can be edited and manipulated to accommodate chargeback/showback scenarios. This includes the ability to assign rules to spend so that it matches finance attribution requirements.
- Unit Economics: Cloudthread provides a lab to construct unit metrics, segmenting AWS costs in the numerator that are production costs for a given customer product and custom denominator metrics relevant to your company.
- Turnkey Costs and Savings Reporting: reporting on cost overviews, anomalies, and waste build-up for any segment of infrastructure via email and Slack.