Leah Weitz - February 24, 2015

What should your cloud cost dashboard look like?

UPDATED: July 23rd, 2018

From product to finance, decisions are being made every day across your org that rely on access to cloud spending and usage data. Businesses are asking themselves: “Should we re-budget any of our departments?” “Is this service tier cost-effective?” “Are our resources provisioned correctly?” But while access to basic spend numbers is a common need, the question of which numbers to use will vary widely depending on your role and responsibilities.

That’s where the cloud cost dashboard comes in: a customizable display of all of the KPIs that matter to you, so you can spend less time wading through the data and more time taking informed action.

There are millions of combinations of cost and usage metrics to choose from — and you want to make sure you’re looking at the right ones. So, what should your dashboard look like? That’ll depend on your role.

Ops manager

As an ops manager, chances are that while you do care about cost, you have higher priorities: stability, uptime, and meeting the needs of the applications you’re serving. Looking into those patterns, understanding them, and making decisions based on that information will be key to maintaining a rock solid infrastructure.

With that in mind, you’ll likely want a dashboard that tracks such KPIs as “Running Instances by Date and Hour,” “Utilization Hours vs. Running Instances vs. Average CPU Utilization,” and “Total Invoiced Cost by Usage Type” to maintain good oversight of your usage at all times.

Track daily instance counts by hour, utilization by service, and view your overall utilization.

Product owner

As a product owner, your life likely revolves around the project. You’ll want to know the costs that your team is accruing, influences on that cost, and how your team’s spending fits in as part of the bigger picture.

You can track these KPIs on your dashboard with widgets such as “Total Invoiced Costs Last 7 Days,” “Total Invoiced Costs This Month,” “Monthly Estimated Spend,” and “Running Instances by Date and Hour.” These can be filtered according to the tag value that represents your project (such as by “Environment is Production”). Add an additional widget with “Monthly Spend by X,” where X is the tag key to the tag value that you selected earlier, (in our example, we’ll use “Environment Tag”) and you can see how your team’s spending compares to others’ in your org.

See daily instance counts by hour, check easily digestible cost summaries, track spending trends, and visualize reserved instance usage.


As a member of your org’s finance team, you’re all about monitoring and optimizing spending. As such, you’ll need insight into monthly budget-adherence, spending patterns, and savings efforts across your cost centers.

You can monitor these KPIs with a dashboard that features widgets such as “Daily Spending Last 60 Days,” “Month to Date Spend,” “Monthly Estimated Spend,”  “Top Accounts,” and “Monthly Spend by Department” to visualize spending across your org, and “Usage Hours - Reserved vs. On Demand” to monitor your Reserved Instance coverage.

Monitor for daily cost spikes, project out your monthly spending, see your costliest accounts, and identify your big spenders.


As an executive, you’re probably interested in the big picture: how much your org’s cloud use is costing, how that spending trends quarter-to-quarter and month-to-month, and how your cloud investment is paying off across your infrastructure.

You can bring that information to the forefront with a dashboard featuring widgets like “Total Invoiced Costs This Quarter,” “Top Accounts,” “Monthly Invoiced Costs by Business Unit,” and “Invoiced Costs by Business Unit: This Quarter vs Last Quarter.”

Check on your total costs, see which departments are increasing their monthly spending, track your costliest accounts, and see whether your business units are spending more or less than they did last quarter.

You can take your visibility into the business value of your cloud use a step further by calculating and regularly checking your business’s unique unit cost using the Cloudability API. By introducing unit cost, you can see how your cloud spending translates into valuable business metrics and deliverables.

Personalize your dashboard

These dashboards are a great starting point for tracking the fundamental metrics that we’ve seen our users return to again and again. But every org is different—and chances are, you have additional KPIs that matter to you. That’s why our custom cloud cost dashboards feature dozens of different cost and usage metrics, to combine and display in thousands of different ways: so you can build, customize, and iterate on the perfect cloud cost dashboard for your needs.

To get started customizing your own dashboard, log in or sign up for free trial of Cloudability today.

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