Tag Explorer – Your AWS Cost Allocation Health

Cloud resource tagging and cost allocation can get complex as enterprise clouds scale. We’re introducing Tag Explorer to tackle these challenges.

When it comes to your AWS cloud bill, there are two mechanisms you have to allocate your costs across your business that can get challenging at scale: Accounts and Tags. We proudly introduce our Tag Explorer as a better way to manage this challenge for any cloud.

The majority of our AWS customers tend to use a combination of both of these strategies, and coming up with an agreed upon method that scales with your teams is critical to allow for effective allocation. We’ve invited one of our customers, Ancestry.com, to talk about the importance of maintaining cloud resource tagging health.

See our comprehensive e-book on tagging and cost allocation if you are still formulating your plans.

Why a Comprehensive Tagging Strategy Is So Important (a word from Ancestry.com)

Ancestry.com is the largest genealogy company in the world, operating a network of genealogical and historical record websites backed by serious big data analytics. Cloudability is privileged to join Ancestry.com as they’ve embarked on a remarkable journey – both in scale and thought leadership – to operating their business on AWS. It all starts with creating a comprehensive tagging strategy to make sense of cloud costs. As Darek Gajewski, Senior Infrastructure Analyst, says,

“Something we became aware of fairly early on is that proper allocation of costs is not just a dev team concern, but necessary to meet our financial reporting commitments across multiple profit centers.”

“There have been some major learning curves along the path from running our own physical infrastructure to being in AWS. But one thing is for sure: the time invested in a well thought out and communicated tagging strategy makes cost allocation across the entire organization (from accounting to development teams), easier in the end,” said Gajewski.

Visualizing Tagging Coverage

Let’s presume you’ve gone down the tagging path like most AWS customers and have a bunch of important tags for your resources. Perhaps you have a top level allocation tag like ‘business_unit’, a secondary allocation tag like ‘team’ and then a whole bunch of implementation tags like ‘service’, ‘application’, ‘role’ etc.

Here’s hoping your tagging policy is embedded into your automated systems and perhaps you even have a ‘tag or terminate policy’. Regardless, maintaining your tagging health is going to be an ongoing mission and having tools to help will make your life a whole lot easier.

We’d like to introduce you to our new Tag Explorer, which in one view will give you a clear picture of your current tagging status across the board.

Cldy emerge 2017 08 tag explorer 1
Note: This is demonstration data only and not reflective of any current AWS user.

Tag Explorer’s Main Features:

  • For each tag key you can establish exactly what proportion of your spend is untagged (the grey segment)
  • If it turns out you do have sufficient tagging coverage you’ll be able to build a great picture of where your spend is going, which business units are spending the most (and on which applications and services)
  • With our color coding system we clearly categorize what your main spending groups are and then, to aid with visibility, group all your miscellaneous spend into the ‘other’ category
  • You can drill into each tag key to see the top resources. This is especially useful for identifying expensive, untagged resources.

View across all your mapped tag keys, ordered by those with the most coverage. Here you can confirm that your top level allocation tag has the most coverage. You can identify which of your tag keys are under represented and where you need to focus energy.

“What if I Need to Dig Deeper?”

We give you a clean tabular view to see your largest tag key or tag value combinations, or to drill into the most expensive resources and related services. For example, many customers find that they want to list the most expensive untagged resources. That’s now just a single click away! If you need to drill deeper still, you can also click through to our reporting interface, where you can setup filters by account or subscribe to a report to alert you when spend without an “Environment” tag exceeds $100/day.

Cldy emerge 2017 08 tag explorer 2

An Important Note About Cloudability Views

One of the most beneficial features of Cloudability is the ability for each and every user to have a filtered view dedicated to themselves or their team. This means that as you navigate around our tool you are seeing the AWS spend and usage that is relevant to you. Our new Tag Explorer integrates completely with this view system. What this means is that you can go into our Tag Explorer and evaluate the tagging health of the resources that fall within your purview (hey maybe you can show your boss how awesome you really are). Importantly you are not going to be distracted by team X who hasn’t got their act together tagging-wise.

Getting Results from Improved Tagging Health

As a result of their steely focus on allocation, we’ve seen Ancestry achieve industry-leading tag coverage. As Darek put it, “For our most important allocation tags we are aiming for 95% resource coverage and are using various levers to make this happen. Having a tool like Cloudability to validate our approach and get quick feedback is a huge win.”

To see this new feature in action, get in touch with your Account Team if you’re a customer, or start a Free Trial.

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