Summary:

Cloudability says its analytics can cut your overall cloud services cost. Available now for Amazon Web Services, support is coming for other major cloud service providers, A raft of companies have sprung up to help companies get a better grip on their cloud spend.

Amazon Web Services
photo: Flickr/Will Merydith

Cloudability, which helps users ascertain costs of a wide range of cloud-based services, is now making its analytics broadly available for Amazon Web Services with support to come for an array of other cloud  services.


The Portland, Oregon-based startup says its new analytics provide a picture of actual AWS use and generates reports of actual use, recommending actions to save money.

“We focus on continuous IT improvement — the ability to enable cloud users to put IT where they want it,” company co-founder and CEO Mat Ellis told me in an interview. “As a company, we know who’s wasting money because we track the costs — we take the bills.”

The biggest problem with true cost assessment is finding out what developers and others are actually doing in Amazon. Cloudability’s solution is to push company finance chiefs  to deny any spending that happens outside Cloudability’s reporting structure. If you buy X number of EC2 instances and this much S3 storage on your expense account, you won’t be reimbursed for it unless you use Cloudability.  (That sounds good in theory but I’d like to see it in practice. Developers are notoriously hard to wrangle.)

Cloudability Pro analytics  offers a dozen or so configurable reports and allows custom views of infrastructure use using more than 30 metrics

Because Amazon offers such a wide — and ever-changing — array of services with shifting prices, getting a handle on projected as well as actual cost is difficult . A raft of companies — Newvem, Cloudyn, UptimeCloud — have sprung up to ease this load while incumbents like Rightscale are adding similar cost and workload assessing tools. Even Amazon itself is taking a stab at making its costs more trackable and predictable.

One longtime AWS user speaking at an AWS Meetup in Cambridge, Mass. last night said buying into Amazon Reserved Instances — the priciest types — incurs its own risk. When you lock into a Reserved Instance — for one or three years — you get a lower per hour rate, but you may not use the whole period. Amazon may lower the price during your allotted period, or it may roll out a better instance type in that period. Still, given the relatively low cost compared to deploying servers in house, he doesn’t see much of a downside.

Tools like Cloudability claim they’ll let you wring the most possible value of whatever instance types you buy. Unlike many of the other vendors mentioned, Cloudability says it will, at some point, offer its super-duper reporting and analytics across all the major clouds, not just Amazon. However right now, the tool only works with Amazon.

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