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Creating budget alerts by tag with Cloudability

By Leah Weitz on May 5, 2015

With numerous AWS resources being turned on, turned off, allocated and reallocated across your infrastructure on a daily basis, it can be easy to lose track of how many dollars your instances are racking up. Checking your Cloudability dashboard is a great way to get an update on your spending and usage across tags, accounts, and more—but when it comes to catching spikes before they happen, setting up budget alerts can be an instrumental fail-safe.

You can can use the Report Subscription feature in Cloudability Cost Analytics to ensure that you’re not at risk of exceeding your desired budgets for departments, environments, and more. Here’s how.

Decide on a budget

The first step of using budget alerts is deciding what you want your budget to be. Do you plan to scale this quarter? Has your departmental budget grown? Should you expect to trend the same way as last quarter? Whether it’s your call or someone else’s, make sure you answer these questions and decide how much spending you’re able to allocate to the departments, products, products or teams that you’re planning to set budget alerts for.

Build the report

To build a report that’ll serve as a budget alert by tag, generate a new Cost Report. Select “Account Name” and “X” as your Dimensions, where X is your desired tag key. Then select “Total Invoiced Costs” as your Metric. Finally, apply these filters where X is once more your desired tag key, Y is your desired tag value, and Z is the monetary value that indicates you’re in danger of going over budget.

You likely won’t want Z to be your spending cap; rather, you might want to set this value to 80% of your total budget, or whatever value will best serve as a timely warning that you’re nearing your limit. Considerations in choosing this value might include whether your budget is flexible, and how much reaction time you’d like to adjust your spending patterns once you’ve received a warning.

Here’s an example of what the filters might look like once you’ve filled in these values:

AWS budget alert

The result is a report that will only display any spending that you’ve generated for your chosen tag (X = Y) that’s in surplus of your set limit (Z):

Cloudability budget alert

Until you’ve gone over your Z value, this report will remain empty.

Set up the subscription

You can use this report as a budget alert using the Subscribe feature.

Frontend budget alert

Depending on how urgently you’d like to be alerted to any excess spending, you can choose between hourly or daily delivery—that is, whether you want to be notified that you’ve gone over your spending limit within an hour, or within a day. We recommend hourly for most effective and time-sensitive alerting.

Cloudability report subscription

In addition to selecting your alerting frequency, be sure to leave the “send report even if there is no content” box unchecked. This means that you will only receive an email when the report contains content; that is, when spending occurs that exceeds your allotted budget.

Sleep easy

Now that you have your report built and subscription set up, you can rest easy that unless you receive an email, you have remained under budget.

Putting these budget alerts in place will allow you to spend less time worrying and wondering about your bill, and more time planning and implementing best practices. Ready to set up some alerts of your own? Log in or sign up for a free 14-day trial of Cloudability to get started.

Being in the know feels great