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How can we use AWS tagging for audits?

Our enterprise just started applying AWS resource tags. What features are available with AWS tags, and how can they help our enterprise limit unnecessary spending?

Every business needs to keep track of money being spent -- and what each product and service costs. But this has...

been a persistent challenge with public cloud. It's easy to see which services are running and how much they cost, but it can be difficult to align resources with particular workers, projects, workloads or other business-centric designations.

AWS tagging allows admins to view spending through a cost-allocation report, which can be a valuable resource for keeping an eye on billing and managing costs. Developers apply relevant tags to AWS resources once configured, allowing business managers to filter cloud resource usage by a particular criterion, such as an administrator, workload, cost center, department or development group.

AWS generates a cost-allocation report that aggregates use and costs versus active tags. When IT teams apply cost-allocation tagging evenly and consistently, a business not only sees the total costs for every service, but they can also see how those service costs break down by tags. This enables better cost management and resource optimization. AWS also lists untagged resources, so admins can quickly see uncategorized resources and tag them.

Support for AWS tagging in AWS Directory Service started in July 2016. AWS tagging is also available for Elastic Compute Cloud instances, Simple Storage Service (S3), Elastic Block Store and Glacier storage buckets, in addition to other services in the AWS portfolio.

Enterprise IT can apply and manage AWS tagging through the Tag Editor in the AWS Management Console, but it is also possible to apply tags programmatically through API requests. Tags can also filter cost views in Cost Explorer. Admins cannot access the cost allocation tagging report through the Billing and Cost Management console. Instead, they need to retrieve reports from the S3 instance that stores billing reports -- using S3 tools such as the S3 API, AWS Management Console for S3 or the S3 command-line interface.

Next Steps

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This was last published in September 2016

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What types of tools do you use to track AWS resources?
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The hard part is getting everyone to apply cost-allocation tagging evenly and consistently. Still, once done, tagging is a veritable godsend with respect to billing.
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