Cloud bills are thick. Every individual item is charged, sometimes by the millisecond, and the charges vary month-to-month, too. As a result, it may be tempting just to pay the bill, rather than trying to understand the details. To manage cloud costs properly, though, and to appropriately allocate charges to business units, it’s necessary to take the time to analyze the expenses, understand where they came from, and who’s responsible for paying for them.

Chargeback in the Cloud is Complex

There are two main reasons understanding cloud bills to properly determining chargebacks and manage cloud spending is harder in the cloud than it was in the data center.

First, cloud expenses are highly variable. As they’re based on usage, they vary with the ebb and flow of business each month. They also vary because the services businesses use vary. Since clouds are self-service, it’s easy for employees to bring new services online. Shutting them off when no longer needed isn’t as obvious.

Second, cloud expenses can be scattered across various clouds. Each cloud provider creates their own bill in their own format, and billing cycles may not be synchronized. This makes it more difficult to understand the total usage picture, as well as potentially hiding trends in usage if services are shifted between platforms.

Making Chargeback in the Cloud More Effective

Coincidentally, just as there are two main reasons cloud bills make chargeback hard, there are two main steps businesses can take to make understanding and allocating cloud expenses easier.

The first fix makes it easier to allocate charges by tagging every cloud resource. Tagging means labeling every cloud resource with identifiers that associate it with the department or project that’s responsible for it. By using tagging, billing details can be allocated to the appropriate responsible unit. However, tagging doesn’t resolve the problem of self-service resources, though if there’s only a small number of untagged resources, tracking down the owners becomes a manageable task.

Tagging also doesn’t help with identifying trends and managing costs, unless a unit does further analysis. That analysis is made easier using tools like the cost optimization features in  Vast View. With Vast View, your cloud bills from all your cloud providers are consolidated and fed into analytics. You can easily identify changes in your services and monitor trends in your expenses, helping you manage your IT budget better.

Cloud spending needs to be carefully managed, and that requires using tools like VAST View to monitor spending trends. Contact VAST IT Services to get started with VAST View and improve your cloud spending and chargeback processes.