I’m excited to tell you that I’ve been trialing a new service called Cloudability. These guys address a very critical problem that we’ve been facing ever since VMware came to exist, how to monitor cost when servers are far too easy to make.
We’ve all been there. You rat through your Amazon, Rackspace (Who if you need cloud servers I would personally recommend you signup with) or Slicehost account only to find that there are 5-10 servers that are either containing peoples names or the word “test”. Each have been running for days if not weeks and no one claims to be using them any more. Well maybe not everyone hits this problem, but when it happens, its a serious issue. You’re paying for things you’re not using!
So what do we do about monitoring costs in the cloud? For some reason the companies offering cloud services have not bothered to make this easy for us. Amazon have consolidated billing (thats kind of cool…) and Rackspace have a billing section that shows stats about currently running instances but none of these offer any of the following (Which as someone managing these costs, i need to know):
- How much am i going to spend this month?
- What am i trending? Am i spending more each month or less? I need to make a yearly budget…
- What is each department of our company spending in the cloud?
It might come as a surprise to some but the ability to “Group” servers and report on the cost of each group would be an amazing feature! While this sounds real simple, its not possible at any of the providers I’ve mentioned so far which means if our CFO says “how much did X team spend this month?” i need to whip out excel and make some nasty calculations (which will be close but not perfect)
Whats the solution? Well you could write something custom using the API of your provider and do something like:
Cost = (uptime x hourly cost) + data charges + additional services*
*additional services may be additional IP’s or storage space
Again this doesnt sound hard but who has the time to write this? We’re busy enough trying to make our product better. Cloudability comes in and offers you some help here. Not only do they monitor all of your hosting costs, they can add a range of other services to the estimations and provide detailed reporting on them too.
Check out Cloudability, they’re in Beta right now and there is a waiting list but if you’re serious about understanding your cloud costs they look like the best place to start.