Definition

AWS Cost Explorer

Contributor(s): Alex Gillis

AWS Cost Explorer is a tool provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS) that allows users to visualize their AWS usage and bills by service. AWS Cost Explorer allows users to document and manage AWS expenses through cost, usage and Reserved Instance (RI) reports. Information included in these reports includes charts, graphs, total costs and usage in all accounts or individual instances. AWS Cost Explorer allows an organization’s AWS costs to be more predictable.

With Cost Explorer, users can view data from up to 13 months prior and view a forecast prediction of how much they will spend in the next three months. Cost Explorer is also able to identify trends and display historical data for up to 12 months so users can further understand their costs over a larger time period.

When a user signs up for Cost Explorer, data on costs for the  last three months, the current month and a calculated forecast of costs for the next three months is prepared. The data available to organizations is typically updated once every 24 hours.

Features of AWS Cost Explorer                                     

Popular features of AWS Cost Explorer include:

  • Filters and grouping of data.
  • Ability to access data programmatically through the ad-hoc analytics engine that powers Cost Explorer.
  • Forecasting of usage and costs, which utilizes machine learning and rule-based models to predict charges.
  • Data is segmented based on charge types such as RI usage or on-demand usage.
  • Access to AWS RI purchase recommendations.
  • Access to EC2 RI purchase recommendations from the Cost Explorer API.

Types of reports available in AWS Cost Explorer

Users can choose to view a variety of default and specific reports for service costs and usages. Default report types include:  

  • Monthly Costs by AWS Service- Which provides a view for costs and usages over the previous six months, grouped by the five most cost-occurring AWS services (additional services used are grouped into a single bar). This report will also provide a breakdown on each service in a table format.
  • EC2 Monthly Cost and Usage- Which provides a view for AWS costs over the last two months and the current month. This report also allows users to view cost and usages with linked accounts, tags and regions.
  • Monthly Costs by Linked Account- Which provides a view for distribution of costs among an organization through grouping linked accounts.
  • Monthly Running Costs- Which provides a view for all costs over the past three months and forecasts the next month’s costs.

Additional report types include:

  • AWS Marketplace- Which allows users to view costs through the AWS Marketplace.
  • Daily costs- Which allows users to view costs in the time period of the past six months with a one month forecast.
  • Monthly EC2 Running Hours Costs and Usage- Which allows users to view the costs and usage of active RIs.
  • RI Utilization Reports- Which allows users to view their usage of RIs in Amazon EC2, Redshift, RDS, Elasticsearch Service and ElastiCache. This report also shows how much the user saves or overspends by using RIs .
  • RI Coverage Reports- Which allows users to view AWS services instance hours provided by RIs.
This was last updated in April 2019

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