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A State of the Union for Cost Governance on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

Brent Eyler
Principal Product Manager

In recent months, we’ve made improvements to help you better understand and control your bill on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. We discuss three major, already-live enhancements: our major refresh of the Cost Analysis tool, the new Cost Report, and Events Integration for our Budgets feature. Together, these new features make it easier than ever to obtain a granular view of your Oracle Cloud Infrastructure consumption and to achieve the following common goals:

  • Cross-charging

  • Invoice reconciliation

  • Custom reporting

  • Resource inventory

Cost Analysis

The Cost Analysis tool is an interface for viewing your Oracle Cloud consumption. Cost Analysis is available in the Console under the Account Management section under Governance and Administration. Before, Cost Analysis only allowed you to do basic filtering. Now, it enables much more, including the following features:
  • Group costs by cost center (through tags or compartment)

  • Visualize consumption over time

  • Export your data as .csv file or visual

A screenshot of the Cost Analysis tool page.

Using the Cost Analysis tool is simple.

  1. Select a date range.

  2. Filter, if you want to look at a specific set of tags, compartments, services, or other options.

  3. Use Grouping Dimension to choose how your data is displayed.

  4. Apply.

A screenshot depicting the pull-down menu for applying filters to your Cost Analysis.

You can view your usage displayed in a chart and a table. Both are easily downloadable. You can also adjust the size of the chart legend or the table columns to make long names fit. More information and tips are available in the documentation.

We’re continuing to enhance the Cost Analysis tool for the foreseeable future. Our top priority is to make all 2020 data available through the tool, with the ability to request any date range that you want. We’re also releasing the API, add saved reports, forecasting, and more.

Cost Report

The cost report is a daily generated comma-separated value (CSV) file that provides a detailed, per-resource, per-hour breakdown of your Oracle Cloud usage. You can use the API to feed the data from the CSV file into your data visualization tool of choice, such as Oracle Analytics Cloud. You can find an excellent walkthrough on GitHub.

A screenshot showing the spreadsheet of information in the CSV file.

You might be familiar with the Usage Report, which has historically served the same function. The cost report is the spiritual successor to the usage report with the important difference that the cost report provides unitPrice and myCost as well as usage. Both files provide relevant metadata for every resource in the tenancy, including tags, compartment, region, and more. To find the full list of fields, you can consult our documentation or navigate in your Console to Account Management, and then Cost and Usage Reports, and look at your own file.

We’re not doing away with the usage report yet, but with the Introduction of the cost report, new users no longer need the usage report.

Budgets with Events Integration

Budgets are a tool in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure that help you track forecasted or actual spending. Accessed through Budgets in the Account Management section of the Console, You can create budgets on any cost-tracking tag or on any compartment, including the root compartment. Compartment-based budgets track all spending in the target compartment and its dependents.

Budgets use alert rules, which you create to specify when to trigger that budget. Every 15 minutes, Oracle Cloud checks all budget alert rules and acts if a rule has been triggered. Historically, the only action available was to send an email to any number or specified recipients. Now, you can also trigger events on budgets, using the Events service.

The Events Integration for budgets is exciting for a few reasons. Using Events, you can now use your Budgets in the following ways:

  • Use the Oracle Notifications Service to send messages through HTTPS, PagerDuty, or Slack. As Notifications grows to offer more options, such as SMS, Budgets automatically has these options available.

  • Trigger Functions to run in response to a budget event. This capacity allows you to automate a proactive response to a budget, such as setting a compartment quota to temporally set limits to zero.

  • View your Budget Alerts in the Metrics Explorer.

A screenshot of the Create Rule window in the Application Integration section of the Console.

While we’re proud to have added Events Integration to budgets, it’s only one milestone on a longer journey toward making budgets an effective Cost Management tool for all users and use cases. We’re prioritizing offering budgets for custom and billing periods as a specific feature on the Budgets feature roadmap. Currently, budgets map to calendar months, and we look forward to the day when we get to announce more optionality.

Cost Management Best Practices

These new cost management features in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure build on the fundamentals that have long existed in our service. We recommend the following best practices for managing costs:

  • Use the cost report to analyze costs and drive custom solutions.

  • Use the cost analysis for spot checks of spending trends and for generating reports.

  • Create a budget that matches your commitment amount and an alert at 100% of the forecast. This plan gives you an early warning if your spending increases and you’re at risk of getting an overage. Use Events and Notifications to ensure that the notification reaches the right people in the channels that they most closely monitor.

  • Use compartments as an access-control mechanism, but you can also see cost per-compartment. In practice, many enterprise customers set up one compartment per department, and having one compartment per department works well for cross-charging.

  • Use tags to allocate cost in more granular ways. To automate tagging resources, take advantage of tag defaults.

  • Enable monitoring. You can merge monitoring data with cost data to gain powerful insights on how to improve resource utilization.

Conclusion

Interested in learning more? Check out our service documentation:

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Comments ( 1 )
  • Ram Srinivasan Monday, July 13, 2020
    Good set of features and well articulated. Looks like there are more exciting things to come in this regard.
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