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

Note: Not every feature described here will be available in the Beta

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) and Adjusted (reflecting any Custom Pricing agreements you have calibrated).

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, but if you have Custom Pricing calibrated in Cloudability, you might prefer Adjusted. 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.

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. (Coming Soon!)

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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.

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

Given a Cost Basis and a Forecast Range, we'll put your forecast into context, using previous month(s) as well as any budget you have selected. Note that if you select a budget that doesn't encompass the Forecast Range, you'll see partial data in the budget comparison box.

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We will generate several models that you can use to compare different growth scenarios and decide which is most predictive of the coming months. These models are informed by billions of dollars of historical spending patterns, taking different historical periods, different approaches to outlier detection and various modeling techniques. We plot the Spending Range, including Low, Expected and High values for each month.

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 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.

Why is my estimate different from Widgets/Daily Mail?

Daily Mail and Dashboards use an older version of the forecasting algorithms. We're in the process of transitioning to the new algorithms but in the meantime, you may see differences in legacy applications.

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