Documentation and Best Practices

Learn how to use Cloudability and get the most out of our cloud cost management tool.

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Budgets & Forecasting

We're offering a suite of tools to help you understand and predict how your spending will evolve over time. At a high-level, we help you to:

  1. Create forecasts based on historical spending patterns
  2. Use forecasts to create budgets
  3. Proactive monitoring and alerting of spending relative to budgets

These tools are all based around Views, allowing you to separate out individual Business Units and manage them independently. If you're currently on a Pro plan, you'll only be able to use these features at the  organization-level. See Views API for more information on creating views programmatically.

We also natively support multiple accounting basis options, including Cash (recommended), Amortized (helpful if your organization buys Partial/All-Upfront RIs), Adjusted (reflecting any Custom Pricing agreements you have calibrated) and Adjusted Amortized.

We also make it easy to setup periodic alerting so that you can receive notifications in your inbox. We'll tell you if you're trending over or have exceeded your budget, as well as send periodic updates of your spending for the current month. Paired with our Anomaly Detection service, this means that if something changes in your cloud infrastructure, you'll be the first to know about it.

Lastly, we recognize that financial forecasts often require extensive custom manipulation, so we make it simple to export tabular data, either via the UI or the API, to a financial management tool of your choice.

Budgets

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Budgets are scoped at the View level, making it simple to tracking Business Units independently. Many customers set up multiple sets of views, for example tracking Environment with one set of views (e.g., Development, Staging and Production) and feature-level divisions with another set of views (RI planner, Rightsizing, Workload Placement, Automation). You can create multiple budgets for a given view, for example showing "Annual Budget" as well as "Quarterly Stretch Goal" for the spending covered under the Engineering view.

Budgets are also tied to a particular cost basis. Most customers will start with Cash. If your organization buys a lot of partial or all-upfront RIs, using Amortized will give you a better indication if your spending is trending differently. If you have Custom Pricing calibrated in Cloudability, you might prefer Adjusted or Adjusted Amortized.

Using the subscribe feature, you'll be able to setup notifications if you are (1) on track to exceed your budget in the current month and (2) if you have exceeded your budget in the current month.

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Current Month

Given a Cost basis, we'll put your current month into context, using the previous month as well as any budget you have selected. Using the Month-to-Date chart, you can see approximately when you're projected to exceed your budget for the month.

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We use Service Name and Usage Family to identify Spending Drivers, making it easy for technical and business users to understand what is driving any changes. You can view your Spending Drivers in terms of largest spend as well as largest change relative to the previous month. Note that in the online application, we group miscellaneous Spending Drivers under Other. Please use the API to see your Spending Drivers without any grouping.

Many vendors will systematically back-date certain types of charges. When we've noticed this pattern in your historical spending, we'll adjust the total for the previous month to reflect these late-breaking charges. You can tell this has happened by the yellow info bubble.

We also support periodic updates on your monthly spending total using the Subscribe feature. We send emails daily or weekly at the interval of your choosing.

Forecasts

We use billions of dollars of historical spending patterns to inform our models. Because you know your business better than anyone else, we also provide you with simple tools to control what goes into the models. For example, you might know that your team finished a large migration four months ago and was receiving quarterly billing credits that you don't expect to continue now that the migration is finished.

 

We also make it easy to inspect the underlying changes that are driving your forecasted spend, so that you can understand that what is expected to change. 

Many customers use the Forecast feature to create additional budgets. You might use the six month trend to create a reasonable "stretch goal" budget for your team which is less than the plan from your finance team. With Cloudability, it's easy to share this budget with your team, receive updates on your progress and see Plan vs Actual reporting on your progress to date.

We make it quick and easy to export to a financial modeling tool of your choice if you want to do additional customization to a particular forecast model.

FAQ

Why am I seeing a message about "missing cost data" for this month?

AWS typically sends updated billing files every four hours. Occasionally, particularly in the first and last few days of the month, it can take longer. We'll show you your estimate based on the most recent data, but when we haven't received a billing file from Amazon for a given month, we'll show an incomplete data banner.

 

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