AWS billing tools

Money

There are plenty of AWS billing tools, both free and paid, out there. I’ve not (yet) tried them all but this post details ones that I am aware of with some commentary on those I have used.

This post was last updated January 2017.

Tagging tools

For enforcement of volume and snapshot tagging I have used Graffiti Monkey. This looks at instances and propagates the instance tags to all associated EBS volumes. It also propagates EBS volume tags to snapshots.

I have heard good things about the tagging tool auto-tag from GorillaStack - this uses Lambda and Cloudtrail to automatically tag resources with the creator’s IAM account name.

Capital One have open sourced their Cloud Custodian tool which monitors your AWS environment for compliance and can also remediate failures. One of their examples is stopping and terminating EC2 instances which are not correctly tagged.

Resource cycling tools

Fairfax have open-sourced two tools in this area, Cloudcycler and Flywheel. I’ve previously written a post on how to use these tools.

Other resource cycling tools that I am aware of but have not used:

There are also plenty of EC2 cycling projects on Github but IMO Cloudcycler is the best one. You can also use native autoscaling scheduled actions.

Cost analysis tools

Free tools

  • Evan Crawford (billing guru at AWS) has some templates to help import your DBR files to Redshift for further analysis and to create dashboards. Take a look at his other repos while you are there.

  • Another AWS staffer, Javier Ros, has a reserved instance balancer tool. This looks at your current RI purchases and instance usage and recommends splits, joins or AZ moves so usage matches purchases more closely. It can optionally automatically apply the recommendations. This is a rather finicky tool to get running and is a tad buggy particularly if you have a lot of instances and reservations (and hence a large DBR file).

  • AWS supply Trusted Advisor however you need a business or enterprise support contract to get the most useful cost checks and recommendations.

  • If you have an enterprise AWS support contract your TAM should be supplying you with RI recommendation reports, billing reports etc, reviewing them with you regularly, and providing other ways to save costs.

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  • CloudCheckr has modules for cost, security and inventory and can be used to cross check the Trusted Advisor RI recommendations and for RDS, Elasticache and Redshift RI recommendations (which TA does not supply). I have used and currently recommend CloudCheckr.
  • I have previously used Cloudability and they do have a better looking product (the dashboards are particulary pretty) - best in class for cost but no inventory or or security features.
  • CloudHealth have a strong product on the billing side, including automated actions for RI balancing and other corrective actions, and is building up more security checks. Definitely one to watch.
  • CloudConformity started from the security monitoring and compliance side but is rapidly adding cost features too.

Most paid SaaS tools offer a free trial of around 14 days then you can expect to pay 1% - 3% of your monthly AWS bill.

  • Parquantix offer to manage your reserved instance purchases, modification and sales on your behalf.
  • SpotInst have an application which mixes spot and non-spot instances and manages bidding for you. They bill based on a percentage of the money they save you.