Keeping track of your monthly cloud computing bills isn’t easy. While it is great that cloud providers usually charge you on the resources you consume, the various elements of your bill are very complex and made up of dozens of different factors, such as CPU core, storage units, RAM size and data transfers. Fortunately, there are a number of online services that can help you save money by using a series of clever choices. I have looked at 8 different services and will show you around what they offer.
Well, doesn’t each cloud provider have a cost calculator? Most do – although some, like IBM, you have to first sign up for their service before they will reveal their prices. Even so, they aren’t very usable.
Here is just one page of the Azure pricing calculator. The issue is that these pages don’t necessarily show you what you want to know. Azure, like AWS and some of the others, has dozens of different services.
CloudSpectator has 7 service for its interactive pages, and other reports that cover more of them. Cloudyn starts at $229 a month
Different business models: Cloudorado only lists those clouds that have paid to be listed; CloudSpectator, CloudHealth, Cloudyn, Cloudability and PlanForCloud all sell their analysis and reports; and Datapipe sells a cloud management tool
Google vs AWS, at least according to Google. http://googlecloudplatform.blogspot.com/2015/01/understanding-cloud-pricing.html
getting a simple answer, such as how many hours are included in your monthly calculations (the actual calendar days multiplied by 24) isn’t always a safe assumption: some cloud calculators assume a 720-hour month.
Amazon introduced the concept of reserved instances, so you can save a little money if you can plan ahead. The other cloud players have also jumped on this bandwagon. You pay something upfront and less over the lifetime of the running instance. There are different choices on when these payments are made just to make things more complicated. Amazon has a nice explanation on their site here: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AWSEC2/latest/UserGuide/using-spot-instances-history.html
Cloudorado has a nice collection of providers and allows you to distribute workloads to find the optimal cost scenario, they also try to normalize the CPU data too.
Instead of bringing up a particular CPU instance for a particular workload, it might make more sense to split your workload among several different and smaller instances that are cheaper to run.
Cloudorado: they have a very nice way to do this. You go to the Cloud Hosting comparison page and you’ll see three “distribute” check boxes to the right of the CPU, RAM, and storage resources (as you can see in the screen shot below). As you select each of these boxes, note how the pricing information changes for the providers that are listed here. For example, for Atlantic.Net for an 8 CPU configuration, we were able to drive our monthly cost for $39 down to $10 by distributing the CPU workloads to smaller VMs.
CloudSpectator presents a lot of its information in these graphs that aren’t all that useful.
CloudSquare has the largest collection of cloud providers and categorizes its costing information into a few basic categoris.
CloudHarmony also produces a regular series of in-depth reports on various items, such as managed DNS or compute services. There are done for a particular moment in time but are very comprehensive and are worth examining if you are going to get more involved in a particular provider or if your current provider isn’t delivering what they promised in terms of these services.
More from the CLoudHarmony 100+ page report that was done last year.
PlanForCloud allows you to cost out various resources for a small number of cloud providers. One nice feature about PlanForCloud is that it allows you to assemble deployment scenarios by mixing and matching across their preferred six providers. That is an interesting twist that none of the other costing services can offer.
PlanForCloud. As you select your cloud instance, you can select the particular purchase option in a pull-down menu choice, as shown here.
For PlanForCloud, you click on the support comparison tab and can get details about the support plans that each of its six covered clouds offers. It goes into some rather explicit details about these plans.
For example, it might make sense to purchase a more expensive and thorough support contract if you have multiple developers that are building some complex installations. Or to knock things down to a cheaper plan if you have the kind of folks that don’t need as much handholding.
DataPipe has this overall dashboard, it is sold as part of its managed hosting services for AWS.
Cloudability, which has a special reserved instance planner tool.
There is also CloudHealth, who also has a report that can illustrate what instances could benefit from additional reservations. Here you see this dashboard that can break down the various AWS offerings and what you have spent over the past months
Cloud costing comparison services
Cloud Costing Services
Copies of presentation:
Why bother with these services?
• Find the cheapest cloud provider for a
particular workload size and duration
• Plan ahead by using reserved instances
• Optimize your spend
• Use a burstable CPU rate or distribute your
• Find a more cost-effective support plan
What you can rent these days
• Azure G5: 48 GB RAM, 6.59 TB SSD, 32 cores
• AWS c3: 60 GB RAM, 640 GB disk, 32 cores
• Google n1: 208 GB RAM, 32 cores
• Rackspace compute optimized: 240 GB RAM
So what next?
• Examine your past year’s cloud bills carefully
• Try out the free services first, both online and
download their reports
• Go wide or go deep, depending on your needs
• Run a lot of sensitivity scenarios