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Understanding Cost & Usage from AWS Cost Explorer

With only admins and/or FinOps team(s) having access to Cost Explorer, I thought giving some high level views & explanations will help people with no access to "Cost" services, will bring in more knowledge & background on picking services. So let us start !

AWS Cost Explorer has one amazing report called "Cost & Usage Report" which is referred as CUR. Well, this is to give us a break down of whatever resources is being used in AWS accounts will have pricing attached to it. But the monthly bill is total amount consumed for the month. CUR report is here to give us detailed report at various granular levels at different dimensions in a graphical representation.

Few pointers on AWS CUR Report

  1. CUR report is available in "AWS Cost Management" service under "Cost Explorer" menu
  2. People/Teams need access reports under this service
  3. CUR report & break down details are downloadable as CSV and can be used for predictions or could be shared with other teams for planning & strateizing
  4. Cost & Usage Graph gives the widest coverage of services Vs cost comparison with many filter options like Region, Platform, AZ, Linked Account level, to quote a few
  5. Prices given are in USD
  6. Yes, it is cost & usage report, but what can be done is, put some thorough analysis on reports against where the money is being consumed and think about how best the service(s) are used & billed for. If not justifiable, create optimization strategies best suited your needs
  7. If 'All is Well' with services & usage, then create AWS Budgets to keep track of spend & to be on the mark

With that in mind, let us see a couple of views that CUR report provides.

View 1

(i) Below is the home page view of AWS Cost Management -> Cost Explorer screen. Here the overall monthly cost so far along with predicted "End of Month" cost is displayed

(ii) Day wise bar chart gives an idea of cost & usage over a period of time and thus

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View 2

(i) This is view which breaks down the graph at services Vs cost. At the very glance, we will know the most expensive or in other words, most utilized are identified
(ii) If you are wondering about the category "EC2-Others" it denotes multiple services related to EC2 like EBS Volumes, Elastic IP addresses, snapshots and/or data transfer etc.

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View 3

(i) Overall view with just "Monthly Cost" & "Average Monthly Cost" with last 2 months split

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View 4

(i) Region-wise dimension filter applied and this shows which region is the most consuming one
(ii) again at month level

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View 5

(i) "Usage Type Count" dimension filter has been applied and if you observe top-right corner of the below image, you can see "Usage Type Count: 174". Utilize the different usage type as dimension filter to read & draft your optimization strategies accordingly
(ii) Dimension is basically the category against which the data has to be grouped for plotting the graphical view
(iii) Further, you can filter out under "Apply Filter" section for more in-depth view/filters

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From getting an overview to more granular level of analysis can be performed using CUR report and with this new cost & budgeting strategies can be developed for your AWS accounts. Try this !!

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