New Amazon toolset tracks cloud spending

Cost Explorer lets companies track what Amazon charges using pre-configured and customized reports

Amazon Web Services' Cost Explorer aims to make it easier for organizations to view and analyze their historical spending on the company's hosted services.

As the use of cloud-based services grow within a company, keeping costs under control isn't always easy. To help, the free Cost Explorer comes with a number of preconfigured reports. These show monthly spending broken down by service or linked account and total daily spending.

For example, the daily spending report lets administrators check on spending as it happens, so they can track key areas or projects without waiting until the end of the month. More preconfigured reports will be added over time, according to Amazon.

Cost Explorer also lets users define custom filters based on time period, accounts, services and tags, and then use them to analyze spending. The service is activated from the AWS Management Console's billing section by clicking on "Cost Explorer" in the navigation pane to the left, and then clicking on the "Enable Cost Explorer" button.

Once Cost Explorer has been turned on, Amazon prepares information for the current month and the last four months of underlying data. The current month's data is available for viewing in about 24 hours. The rest of the data takes a few days longer. It is then updated at least once every day.

To help users get better acquainted with Cost Explorer, Amazon has given the service its own section on the AWS Documentation website.

There are alternatives for companies that prefer to rely on third parties to see what Amazon is charging. On Tuesday, Cloudyn announced Enterprise Chargeback Edition, a tool that aims to make it easier for large companies to keep track of costs as well as usage so they can apply appropriate chargebacks. The new tool also offers recommendations on how to lower costs.

The management console can, for example, show an aggregated view with reports on the cost of each service, potential cost savings, the number of virtual servers used, and how much each business unit spends on a service.

The tool is compatible with Amazon Web Service and Google's Cloud Platform. A free trial is now available. The company didn't say what it will cost when the trial period ends.

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