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AWS Costs

AWS Cost Management: 9 Free Tools to Help Cut Your Costs

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides a range of free tools for optimization and cost management. The central and most basic tool is the AWS Cost Management interface, an integral part of the Amazon Console. But there are many more.

You should familiarize yourself with AWS tools and use them to make decisions, gain data and create automated actions and rules that may let you minimize your AWS costs.

In this article you will learn about the following free AWS cost management tools:

  1. Billing and Cost Management Console
  2. AWS Cost Explorer
  3. AWS Budgets
  4. AWS Cost and Usage Report
  5. AWS Cost Categories
  6. AWS Cost Anomaly Detection
  7. AWS Purchase Order Management
  8. Reserved Instance (RI) Reporting
  9. AWS Application Cost Profiler

In addition, you will learn about:

9 Free AWS Cost Management Tools

Amazon offers a wide range of tools you can use to manage and optimize your cloud costs.

1. Billing and Cost Management Console

The billing part of the Amazon Console allows you to view your usage of services on AWS, and to optimize their arrangement. AWS Billing and Cost Management gives tools that let you access details connected to your cost and usage, take measures to keep track of your costs, and examine your usage trends and cost drivers.

You can use tagging to organize services by department or project and combine AWS accounts to form one billing entity for every project that has an individual budget within your organization. See the official documentation for consolidating AWS billing accounts.

AWS automatically bills the credit card which you gave upon signing up for an account with AWS. Charges feature on the credit card bill each month. You may update or view credit card details, including selecting another credit card for AWS to bill, via the Payment Methods section on the Billing and Cost Management console.

2. AWS Cost Explorer

The AWS Cost Explorer interface allows you to view costs, return on investment (RoI), and usage for Amazon services. It presents data from the past 13 months and lets you forecast future spending. You can create customized views to help analyze costs and see where you can improve cost efficiency. Cost Explorer also gives an API which allows you to access the data through your analytics tools.

aws-cost-explorer-sagemaker-costsSource: Amazon Web Services

Related content: Read our guide to AWS cost optimization

3. AWS Budgets

AWS Budgets allows you to establish and enforce budgets for certain AWS services, and to get messages or emails through the Simple Notification Service (SNS) when you reach or exceed your budget. Budgets allows you to specify an overall cost budget or relate the budget to certain data points, including data usage or the number of instances. The dashboard offers views like those of Cost Explorer, depicting how services are being utilized in comparison to their budgets.

4. AWS Cost and Usage Report

The Cost and Usage Report provides the most comprehensive set of AWS usage and cost data available, such as additional metadata about AWS pricing, reserved instances, services and saving plans.

The Report itemizes usage at the organization or account level according to usage type, product code and operation. You can further organize costs by enabling Cost Categories and Cost Allocation tags. Reports can be provided at a monthly, daily or hourly level of granularity.

5. AWS Cost Categories

AWS Cost Categories is an element in the AWS Cost Management product suite that lets you group usage and cost information into useful categories in keeping with your requirements. You can develop custom categories while mapping your usage and cost information according to these categories in keeping with the rules you define—making use of various dimensions, including, charge type, tag, service, account, and more cost categories.

Once you’ve set up and enabled your cost categories, you can view your usage and cost information according to these categories. You can view costs from the start of the month in AWS Cost Explorer, AWS Cost and Usage Report (CUR) and AWS Budgets.

6. AWS Cost Anomaly Detection

AWS Cost Anomaly Detection helps you minimize unexpected costs and increase control without slowing down innovation. It uses advanced Machine Learning technologies to find root causes and anomalous spending, so you can respond quickly. Cost Anomaly Detection lets you develop your own contextualized monitor and receive notifications of any anomalous spending, through a series of simple steps.

When you have set up your alert and monitor preference, AWS can provide you with daily or weekly alerts via email or SMS. These include summary and individual alerts. You can monitor and carry out your own anomaly analysis using AWS Cost Explorer.

7. AWS Purchase Order Management

Purchase Order (PO) Management lets you manage your AWS POs in a simple, self-service way. You can minimize overhead costs in corresponding invoices with POs, centralize the management of various POs, and improve the efficiency and accuracy in the procure-to-pay procedure.

AWS Purchase Order Management lets you specify and oversee purchase orders according to the needs of your organization. You can configure several POs, control your PO details via the PO dashboard found in the AWS Billing Console, and create the rules as to the way they map to the AWS invoices.

You can also monitor the balance and status of your PO on your Purchase Orders dashboard. And you can also receive email alerts when the POs’ balance finishes or are about to expire.

8. Reserved Instance (RI) Reporting

AWS offers reporting for Reserved Instance Utilization and Coverage. These reports can be accessed out-of-the-box via AWS Cost Explorer. You may utilize these reports to establish custom RI coverage and utilization targets, see how effectively you are making progress towards your aims, and access details connected with your cost savings in contrast to On-Demand prices.

You can also refine the basic data through the filtering dimensions available (such as instance type, account, scope and more) to achieve better understanding of your reservations.

9. AWS Application Cost Profiler

Application Cost Profiler allows tracking of the consumption of AWS resources that are shared by multiple software applications. It also provides a granular cost breakdown or the tenant base. This enables economies of scale in relation to the shared infrastructure model, while providing a clear view of in-depth resource consumption data over multiple dimensions.  

With the cost insights provided by shared AWS resources, organizations that run applications can create the information foundation for a precise cost allocation framework. Vendors that provide applications can achieve greater insight into profitability, allowing them to customize pricing strategies for their customers.

Starting with AWS Cost Management in the Amazon Console

Billing and Cost Management, part of the Amazon Console, is the central interface you use to see your expected costs for Amazon services. You can combine Billing and Cost Management with any of the Amazon cost management tools listed above to gain additional insights.

To access the Billing and Cost Management console:

  1. Sign into the AWS Management Console go to the Billing and Cost Management console at
  2. The Dashboard is displayed. There you can view your up-to-date, month-to-date usage graphs.
  3. On the navigation pane, select one of the following:
    • Cost Explorer—analyzes and tracks your AWS usage
    • Budget—controls your account’s budgets
    • Bills—displays details about your current costs
    • Orders and Invoices—displays your past payment movements

Cost Explorer

cost-management-home-dashboard-1024x629Image Source: AWS

Cost Explorer lets you examine, in greater detail, your cost and usage details to isolate trends, cost drivers, and find anomalies. AWS Cost Explorer can be accessed through the AWS Management Console - you use the service link via the AWS Cost Management service heading or via search. You can also use the AWS Billing Console to access Cost Explorer.  


Screen-Shot-2019-11-19-at-7.19.58-PM-1024x457Image Source: AWS

AWS Budgets lets you establish custom budgets to keep track of your cost and usage from the most straightforward to the most intricate use cases. With AWS Budgets, you may opt email or SNS notification alerts to warn you when forecasted or actual cost and usage go over your budget limit, or when your actual Savings Plans’ and RI usage or coverage goes lower than the threshold you want.

With AWS Budget Action, you can configure certain actions to react to the usage and cost status of your accounts. This ensures that if your usage or costs go above (or are forecasted to go above) your threshold, measures will be taken either automatically or with your consent to minimize unwanted over-spending.


bills-page-ec2-1024x568Image Source: AWS

At the time you decide to pay a one-time fee or when a billing cycle ends, AWS charges the payment card you have specified and provides you with an invoice as a PDF.

Order and Invoices

SS8-PO-details-w-invoicesImage Source: AWS

The Billing and Cost Management console allows you to deal with your purchase orders and decide how they are influenced by your invoices. This gives you an opportunity to place additional purchase orders with several line items. Your configurations determine which purchase order lines up best with your invoice. You can deal with purchase orders whether you have a typical AWS account or an AWS Organizations management account.

AWS Cost Management with NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP capacity can scale into the petabytes, and it supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload, with a strong set of features including high availability, data protection, storage efficiencies, Kubernetes integration, and more.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides storage efficiency features, including thin provisioning, data compression, and deduplication, reducing the storage footprint and costs by up to 70%.

Learn more about how Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps cost savings with these Cloud Volumes ONTAP Storage Efficiency Case Studies.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager