Documentation and Best Practices

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

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Utilization Analytics

Utilization Analytics lets you build reports that drill into your usage trends. 

In this article, we'll discuss:

  1. When to use Utilization Analytics vs. Cost Analytics
  2. Building your first Utilization report
  3. Filtering reports
  4. Charting multiple lines
  5. Time period comparisons


1. When to use Utilization Analytics vs. Cost Analytics

Cost and Utilization Analytics are both powerful reporting tools to help you drill into your cloud data. Here's what each one is best at: 

Cost Analytics: Use Cost Analytics for all financial reporting where you need to see what you are actually spending.  Cost Analytics uses data from the AWS Detailed Billing Reports (DBR) and Cost and Usage Report (CUR) files, Azure Enterprise Billing API, and Google Compute Platform Billing,  presenting accurate cost data based on what your cloud provider bills you.  It factors in any discounts or credits you receive such as volume discounts or any custom pricing.  

Utilization Analytics: Use Utilization Analytics to determine how instances are behaving. Usage Analytics uses data from AWS CloudWatch presenting instance-level details such as CPU, Bandwidth, and Disk I/O.  

Cost metrics available in Utilization Analytics are calculated in Cloudability using on-demand rates and cover only the compute portion of your bill (i.e., the billable hours but not bandwidth/storage/etc).  As such, and should be used for trending only, not financial reporting.

In order for Utilization Analytics to access this data, a proper IAM policy needs to be added for each linked account. Detailed instructions are available in How to Set Up Amazon IAM (Identity Account Management).


2. Building your first Utilization Report

Custom reports can be created using up to ten dimensions and ten metrics. A report must have at least one dimension and one metric. Custom reports can either be created from scratch or existing reports can be modified and saved. 

Dimensions and Metrics

The building blocks of usage reports are dimensions and metrics. In a simple sense, dimensions describe data and metrics measure data. Although dimensions and metrics and can stand alone, typically the relationship between dimension and metric values are what create the most meaning in your data. In Cloudability reports, one or more dimensions are measured through multiple metrics. Filters can be applied to further narrow results.

Metrics are individual elements of a dimension that can be measured as a sum or a ratio. For example, the dimension Instance Type can be associated with a metric like Total Invoiced Costs, which would display the total invoiced costs accumulated by each instance type.

You can learn about some of our most popular dimensions and metrics here. For a comprehensive list of all available dimensions and metrics, check our Glossary

Creating a new report

To create a new report click on the "Create New" button in the left column. You'll then have to click to add dimensions and metrics. After you've selected up to 10 dimensions and 10 metrics, you can generate the report by clicking "Apply."

To walk through building some basic Cost Analytics reports, click here

Modifying existing reports

Any report can be modified by clicking on the "Customize Report" button.  Cloudability can display up to ten columns of dimensions and ten columns of metrics. 

To remove columns from an existing report, click on the x button to remove the column. 

To add a column, click on the + button in the header for either dimensions or metrics. 

Saving reports

To save a report, click on the report name field above the chart and type in a name. Then, click the Save button. The date range is also saved with the report. If a value such as yesterday, last week, or last month is selected then the report will dynamically update when viewed to always show data relative to the current date. If a custom date range with a specific start and end date are defined then the saved report will preserve the custom date range.

Saved reports will appear in the left menu by default, and can be removed by de-starring the report by mousing over it in the menu. You can access a full list of all of your starred and un-starred reports by clicking the "Manage Reports" button at the bottom of the sidebar. 


3. Filtering Reports

Filtering enables you to only show results that match specific criteria.  For example, you may want to only report on a specific tag value or type of cloud service. 

To add a filter click on the + button next to the Filter label. 


Reports can be filtered by both dimensions (e.g. a tag) and metrics (e.g. CPU). Select either button to display filtering categories for either Dimensions or Metrics.

Click on a filter to then define the filter criteria.


[Load this report in Cloudability]

The following criteria are available for all filters:

  • equals
  • does not equal
  • less than
  • less than or equals
  • greater than
  • less than or equals
  • contains
  • does not contain

Select the desired criteria and value. For example:

  • time since launch less than 48 hours
  • size equals m5.xlarge
  • CPU utilization greater than 50%
  • tag contains projectcode

AND & OR Operators

Adding two filters for the same dimension or metric will result in an OR operator.  Adding a filter for an additional dimension or metric will result in an AND operator.

For example:


4. Charting multiple lines

If you're trying to identify why your cloud bill went up or down, you can use Cloudability's multi-line graphing abilities to see how each line item changes over time.


It's easy; just click the checkboxes next to each line in your report. 

You can use multi-line graphing to split out tags, business units, linked accounts or anything else you pulled into your Cloudability report.


5. Time period comparisons

Time Period Comparisons allow you to graph multiple time periods on a single report.

Compare date ranges with the time period picker:


Choose from our pre-selected date ranges or customize your own to compare the precise date ranges that you need. If you'd like, you can compare time periods of different lengths. 

Compare trends graphically


Once you've picked your time periods, you'll see both compared visually on a graph of both time periods on one chart.  

View Percent and Net change across any metric:


You can drill down into your comparison by Percent or Net change with the line items below. As with any standard Cost or Usage report, you can filter these data points by the metrics and dimensions that interest you. 

For more information on Utilization Analytics, check out these resources: 

Glossary of dimensions and metrics

Top Cloudability dimensions and metrics

Dimensions for understanding instance usage

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