Cloudability vs AWS Cost Explorer: Which Tool is Best for Managing Cloud Costs?


Last updated 20 May, 2024

9 mins read

Cloudability vs AWS Cost Explorer: Learn which tool is best for cloud cost management?
Cloudability vs AWS Cost Explorer: Learn which tool is best for cloud cost management?

Cloudability vs AWS Cost Explorer are two prominent tools that help tackle the challenge of effective cloud cost management. These tools provide granular insights into spending and support informed decision-making to maximize cloud investment returns. However, when choosing between the two to determine the best fit for your needs, it is vital to understand the in-depth features, offerings, pricing, and benefits of each. Read on for a detailed comparison of Cloudability vs AWS Cost Explorer and discover which tool is the right fit for your organizational needs.

What is  Cloudability: Basics, Features and Benefits

Cloudability, an offering from Apptio, is a comprehensive cloud cost management and optimization tool. It’s designed to help with cloud financial management, catering to organizations that need a robust framework for monitoring, managing, and optimizing their cloud spend in alignment with FinOps principles. By providing detailed insights into cloud spending, Cloudability enables a consolidated view for more informed decision-making, ensuring investments are both effective and aligned with business values.

Image Source: Cloudability by Apptio

Key Features and Benefits:

Here’s how Apptio Cloudability can help you with cloud cost management:

  • Tagging: 
    Cloudability’s tagging system allows users to assign tags to their cloud resources, facilitating a granular tracking and categorization of costs. This feature supports precise cost allocation and helps in identifying spending trends across different resources or departments.
  • Views: 
    This capability allows users to customize and configure the presentation of their cloud usage data and spending data. By creating specific views, users can focus on the information that matters most to them, enhancing the analysis and monitoring of cloud expenditures.
  • Business Mapping: 
    Cloudability enables organizations to automate and map their cloud spending directly to different business units. This alignment helps in accurately tracking and reporting costs based on organizational structures, which is critical for effective chargeback and showback processes.
  • Dashboards & Reports: 
    This feature provides comprehensive dashboards and detailed reporting functionalities that give insights into cloud costs and usage. Users can easily access pre-built reports or customize their own to monitor spending patterns, forecast future costs, and identify savings opportunities.
Image Source: Cloudability by Apptio
  • Budgets & Forecasting: 
    Cloudability helps businesses manage their financials by setting budgets and forecasting future spending based on historical data. This feature is crucial for AWS cost management and ensuring that cloud spending aligns with financial goals.
  • Scorecards: 
    Scorecards in Cloudability offer performance metrics and health checks for cloud services, providing essential insights into the effectiveness of cloud spending and operational efficiencies. This helps teams to optimize their cloud environments continuously.
  • True Cost Explorer: 
    This advanced tool provides a comprehensive view of the total costs of cloud services, including hidden or indirect expenses. The True Cost Explorer ensures that all aspects of cloud spending are visible and accounted for, aiding in more accurate budgeting and financial planning.

Pricing Model and Sign-Up Process:

Cloudability offers custom pricing tailored to the size, complexity, and specific needs of each organization. You typically need to contact the sales team for in-depth pricing details. To get started, potential users should initiate contact by talking to sales or scheduling a free demo.

What Is Cloudability Used For?

Cloudability is essential for organizations seeking comprehensive financial management of their cloud resources. It extends beyond basic cost management to support a wide range of financial operations and strategic planning in cloud environments. It is especially valuable for organizations that require detailed financial oversight and cost allocation across various departments and projects. 

It enables precise cost tracking and optimization for large enterprises, which is particularly useful in environments where cost allocation and accountability are critical. With its robust capabilities, Cloudability facilitates not only cost tracking and optimization but also financial compliance and governance, making it ideal for enterprises with a wide range of use cases, ranging from undergoing significant changes like mergers or extensive scaling.

What is AWS Cost Explorer: Basics, Features and Benefits

AWS Cost Explorer is a native AWS tool designed to analyze and manage cloud spending effectively within the Amazon Web Services ecosystem. It simplifies the financial management of cloud resources by providing clear visibility into your AWS account and usage data patterns, enabling data-driven decision-making that aligns with business strategies and budgetary requirements.

Key Features and Benefits:

Here’s how AWS Cost Explorer can help you with AWS cost management:

  • Granular Analysis: 
    AWS Cost Explorer provides a high level of granularity through numerous filters, allowing users to analyze Cost and Usage Reports (AWS CUR) using specific parameters like time, services, and regions. This feature supports detailed AWS cost optimization efforts.
  • Visualization and Graphs: 
    The tool offers graphical representations of your AWS cloud costs over time, displaying costs by service, linked accounts, and usage types. This visual breakdown helps clarify spending patterns, making it easier to identify areas for cost reduction.
  • Custom Usage Reports:
    Users can generate custom reports to scrutinize costs based on criteria such as time range, services, and regions. This capability supports time-based analysis and custom tagging, enabling detailed tracking of spending trends and alignment of costs with specific projects or teams.
  • Forecasting: 
    AWS Cost Explorer includes forecasting capabilities that estimate future AWS cloud costs based on historical data. These predictions are invaluable for budget planning and resource allocation, aiding in informed strategic decisions.
  • Recommendations and Insights: 
    The platform offers recommendations and insights that identify potential savings opportunities and suggest ways to enhance efficiency. This feature helps optimize spending without compromising on necessary resources.
  • Reserved Instance and Savings Plan Recommendations: 
    By analyzing usage patterns, AWS Cost Explorer suggests Reserved Instances (RIs), which can lead to substantial savings over on-demand pricing. The tool also helps manage AWS Savings Plans, providing recommendations on how to adjust these plans to maximize savings across AWS usage. Check out our deep dive on AWS Savings Plan vs Reserved Instances for a more in-depth breakdown.
  • API Access: 
    AWS Cost Explorer features an API that allows for automated queries and integration with other platforms, extending its functionality for sophisticated data analysis.

Pricing Model and Sign-Up Process:

AWS Cost Explorer is available at no additional charge for basic usage, with more detailed analysis features available for a fee based on usage. Users can access AWS Cost Explorer directly from their AWS Management Console, making it straightforward to start analyzing costs immediately without the need for external sales contact.

What is AWS Cost Explorer Used For?

AWS Cost Explorer is ideal for AWS users needing detailed insights into their cloud spending. The tool is particularly beneficial for organizations with fluctuating demands, offering predictive features to scale resources efficiently. It is the best fit for organizations searching for a granular visibility tool, as it helps you understand the granularity of what was spent, why, where, and by whom. Moreover, AWS Cost Explorer helps businesses optimize their spending through tailored recommendations, enhancing cost-effectiveness across AWS environments.

As a native AWS tool, it integrates seamlessly, requiring no additional setup, which simplifies its adoption for existing AWS users. This tool is particularly suited for organizations that prioritize straightforward, detailed insights into their cloud expenditures without the need for extensive external tool integration. AWS Cost Explorer’s focus on analytical depth helps businesses effectively manage and forecast their cloud budgets and spending patterns.

Cloudability vs AWS Cost Explorer – What’s the Difference?

CriteriaCloudabilityAWS Cost Explorer
Primary PurposeComprehensive cloud cost management and optimization.Visibility and monitoring of AWS-specific costs.
Key FunctionalitiesDetailed financial management, Cost allocation, and chargeback, Optimization recommendationsUsage and cost tracking, Budget forecasting, Reserved Instance recommendations
StrengthsExtensive financial management tools, Support a wide range of cloud services, In-depth cost analysis, and reportingSeamless integration with AWS, Real-time data access, User-friendly interface
WeaknessesIt may require integration effort for non-AWS environments, Complex setup for full functionalityLimited to AWS services, Less comprehensive than some third-party tools
Data FocusBroad scope across multiple cloud providers, detailed breakdowns of spending by service, department, etc.Focused on AWS services, providing detailed analysis of AWS usage and expenditure
Best Suited ForLarge enterprises with complex cloud infrastructures across multiple cloud platforms.Organizations primarily using AWS, need detailed insights into AWS spending and cost optimization.

Considerations for Choosing Between Cloudability and AWS Cost Explorer!

When choosing between Cloudability and AWS Cost Explorer, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure the tool aligns with your organization’s cloud cost management strategies:

  • Primary Objective: 
    Opt for Cloudability if your organization requires a comprehensive solution for cloud financial management across various platforms, not just AWS. It’s ideal for detailed cost tracking, optimization, and reporting. Choose AWS Cost Explorer if your primary focus is on gaining insights into AWS-specific cloud spending for more informed AWS budgeting and spending strategies.
  • Complexity of Analysis Required: 
    Cloudability offers a robust set of features for complex, multi-dimensional financial analysis across different cloud services and business units. This is suitable for large enterprises with diverse cloud infrastructure. In contrast, AWS Cost Explorer is tailored for simpler, AWS-specific analysis, focusing on usage patterns and cost efficiency within AWS services.
  • Integration and Setup: 
    Cloudability, while powerful, might require more effort to integrate and set up, especially in multi-cloud environments. AWS Cost Explorer, being a native AWS tool, offers seamless integration and a straightforward setup process, making it an easier choice for organizations deeply embedded in AWS infrastructure.
  • Forecasting and Budgeting Needs: 
    If extensive forecasting capabilities and sophisticated financial planning tools are crucial, Cloudability’s advanced budgeting and forecasting features are invaluable. AWS Cost Explorer provides essential forecasting tools but is more focused on past and present spending analysis.
  • User Expertise and Accessibility: 
    Cloudability is suitable for organizations with a dedicated FinOps team or those with a need for detailed financial oversight. It provides extensive data that can require more expertise to interpret. AWS Cost Explorer is more accessible and user-friendly, making it suitable for teams with varying levels of cloud financial management knowledge.
  • Overall Cost Management Strategy: 
    If your strategy involves detailed chargeback and showback processes, or if you need to manage and optimize costs across multiple cloud platforms, Cloudability is the preferred choice. For organizations primarily looking to enhance their understanding and management of AWS-specific costs, AWS Cost Explorer is more appropriate.

These considerations help pinpoint which tool better suits your organizational needs, depending on the complexity, scope, and scale of your cloud cost management requirements.

Cost Management Tools Best Practices 

To manage cloud costs effectively using Cloudability and AWS Cost Explorer, it’s important to understand their unique capabilities and implement best practices tailored to their strengths. Here’s a guide to the best practices:

Cloudability Best Practices

  • Implement Comprehensive Cost Tracking: 
    Start by setting up Cloudability to track all cloud spending across different platforms, not just AWS. This holistic view is essential for organizations using multi-cloud environments – AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and hybrid cloud.
  • Utilize Rightsizing Recommendations: 
    Cloudability provides detailed rightsizing recommendations for various cloud services. Regularly review these suggestions to ensure your resources are optimally configured for both performance and cost-efficiency.
  • Customize Views for Stakeholder Reporting: 
    Use Cloudability’s customizable views to generate reports tailored to different stakeholders. Whether it’s for finance, engineering, or executive teams, ensuring each receives relevant information simplifies decision-making.
  • Engage in Proactive Budgeting and Forecasting: 
    Leverage Cloudability’s robust budgeting tools to forecast future spending and set budget alerts. These forecasts can help in adjusting your spending in real time, avoiding overruns and anomaly detection.
  • Adopt a Chargeback Model: 
    Implement chargeback mechanisms within Cloudability to allocate cloud costs back to respective departments or projects. This not only increases accountability but also enhances budget adherence across the organization.

AWS Cost Explorer Best Practices

  • Deep Dive into AWS-Specific Costs: 
    Focus on the granular details of AWS-specific spending with AWS Cost Explorer to understand spending trends across different services and operational areas.
  • Regularly Update Cost Allocation Tags: 
    Ensure all AWS resources are tagged properly and tags are regularly reviewed and updated. This ensures that AWS Cost Explorer can provide accurate and detailed insights.
  • Optimize Costs with Reserved Instances and Savings Plans: 
    Use AWS Cost Explorer to analyze your usage and determine if Reserved Instances or Savings Plans can offer cost savings. The tool’s recommendations can guide you to make cost-effective decisions.
  • Set Custom Alerts for Budget Monitoring: 
    Configure custom alerts in AWS Cost Explorer to keep track of budget thresholds. This immediate feedback can help prevent unexpected cost overruns.

Common Best Practices for Both Tools

  • Strategic Resource Tagging: 
    Effective tagging is crucial for both tools. It ensures that the costs are segmented and analyzed correctly, aiding in better resource management and cost allocation.
  • Continuous Education and Training: 
    Regular training sessions for all teams involved can enhance understanding and effective use of these tools. Knowing how to leverage their functionalities fully can lead to significant cost savings.
  • Cross-Functional Collaboration: 
    Foster a collaborative environment where finance, IT, and operations teams work together to review and manage public cloud costs. This collective approach helps in aligning strategies across different departments.

Final Thoughts

Effectively managing cloud costs requires choosing the right tools tailored to your specific needs. Cloudability is excellent for comprehensive financial management across multiple cloud platforms, while AWS Cost Explorer excels in detailed AWS-specific spending analysis. Utilizing both tools can enhance your cost management strategy, allowing you to leverage Cloudability for broad financial oversight and AWS Cost Explorer for targeted AWS insights. Together, they provide a robust approach to ensuring that your cloud spending is efficient and aligned with your business objectives.

Muskan is a freelance technical writer, who specializes in creating content focused on cloud computing and AWS concepts. Leveraging her expertise, she assists organizations in developing informative and SEO-optimized content to generate leads.

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