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10 top cloud cost management tools to save your cloud budget

With up to 32% of cloud budgets at risk of wastage, effective cloud cost management is essential for businesses navigating the complexities of cloud-native technologies like microservices, containers, and Kubernetes. However, without proper tools, gaining visibility into resource usage and associated costs becomes daunting. Traditional methods to manage cloud costs often result in obscured cost data buried within dense billing statements, compounded by the limitations of many existing management tools.

This opacity leads to inefficiencies, as businesses struggle to identify the specific drivers behind their cloud expenditures. This comprehensive guide addresses these challenges by exploring cloud cost management principles, highlighting their advantages, key criteria for choosing the right cloud cost management tools, and a curated selection of tools.

What is cloud cost management?

Cloud cost management is a crucial business practice centered on overseeing, analyzing, and optimizing an organization’s expenditures on cloud computing resources. It offers increased visibility into resource utilization, enabling the identification and elimination of redundant or overprovisioned services. Additionally, it facilitates the prediction of future cloud costs, aiding in the development of precise budget forecasts.

Cloud cost management software tools play a critical role in this process by tracking and categorizing all cloud-related expenses, and attributing them to respective teams accountable for their consumption. This ensures accountability and incentivizes prudent resource usage while discouraging wasteful practices. By implementing effective cloud cost management strategies and utilizing appropriate tools, organizations can achieve greater financial efficiency and strategic alignment with their business OKRs.

Advantages of using cloud cost management tools

Outlined below are a few key advantages provided by cloud cost management tools:

1. Predicts unexpected surges in spending

Cloud cost management tools facilitate precise forecasting of cloud computing requirements, preempting unforeseen increases in expenses that might disrupt free cash flow. Additionally, they empower organizations to capitalize on cost-saving opportunities, such as early bird discounts offered through Reserved Instances (RIs) and Savings Plans (SPs).

2. Fosters strategic budgeting

Cloud cost management tools empower IT, teams, to monitor cost data and understand usage patterns. Armed with these insights, teams can strategically shape their approach to cloud management, product development, and pricing strategies.

3. Drives innovation with cost optimization

Using cloud cost management tools enables IT teams to efficiently optimize cloud expenditures, releasing resources for innovation. This facilitates prompt allocation of funds towards product roadmap prioritization or marketing ideas. Confidence in the return on investment from cloud spending streamlines approval processes for additional expenses, expediting the advancement of organizational objectives.

4. Scales cloud infrastructure for future needs

Cloud cost management tools streamline and enhance your cloud architecture, facilitating future expansion and adaptation. A well-optimized cloud infrastructure establishes a robust foundation for seamless growth and scalability, empowering your organization to evolve with agility and efficiency.

5. Enhances visibility and security

Cost management tools offer comprehensive visibility into all utilized cloud resources and services, aiding security teams in the detection and monitoring of potential risks. This visibility optimizes budget allocation for essential security measures, ensuring robust protection and risk mitigation across the cloud environment.

Key criteria to look for when choosing a cloud cost management tool

When choosing a cost management tool, it’s essential to prioritize features that streamline cost analysis and enhance decision-making. Here are key criteria to consider:

  • Data collection: A robust cloud cost management solution seamlessly integrates with cloud providers and platforms through APIs, enabling comprehensive data gathering on resource usage, billing, and expenditure across virtual machines, databases, storage, networking, and other cloud services.
  • Data aggregation and consolidation: Centralizing data from multiple cloud accounts, regions, and services provides a unified view of costs and spending, facilitating better oversight and control.
  • Cost allocation: Effective cost management requires detailed breakdowns by department, project, and team, ensuring accurate attribution of expenses and informed budgeting decisions.
  • Historical data analysis: By analyzing historical data alongside real-time statistics, organizations can identify trends and patterns, enabling proactive capacity planning and optimization of resources.
  • Data visualizations: Intuitive visual representations, such as graphs, charts, and dashboards, offer clear insights into cost trends and areas for improvement, enhancing understanding and facilitating communication, particularly with executive stakeholders.
  • Spending comparison: Comparing expected versus actual spending enables organizations to assess budget accuracy and set informed spending limits based on historical data.
  • Custom report generation: The ability to generate and export custom reports detailing specific metrics and projects empowers informed decision-making and facilitates internal communication.

Selecting a cloud cost management tool that excels in these criteria ensures efficient resource allocation, cost optimization, and strategic planning in cloud environments.

10 top cloud cost management tools

Here are the top cloud cost optimization currently on the market, designed to help you minimize, streamline, and understand your expenditure.

1) AWS Cloud financial management tools

AWS cloud financial management tools offer a comprehensive suite of resources to efficiently organize and monitor cost and usage. With features like consolidated billing and access permissions, budgeting, forecasting, and pricing optimizations, users can gain enhanced control and drive cost-reduction initiatives. Leveraging tools such as the AWS Cloud Value framework, Pricing Calculator, budgets, and Billing conductor, organizations can optimize their AWS expenditure effectively, resulting in significant cost savings.

Key features

  1. AWS Cost Explorer
  • Granular cost analysis: Dive deep into cost data across services, regions, accounts, and tags for detailed insights.
  • Cost trends and forecasts: Gain historical cost trends and projected future costs based on usage patterns.
  • Customizable reports and dashboards: Tailor your view with custom filters, group by dimensions, and export reports.
  1. AWS Budgets
  • Set and track budgets: Define budgets for specific periods, services, or accounts to prevent overspending.
  • Receive alerts and notifications: Stay informed about budget breaches with customizable email, SNS, and CloudWatch alarms.
  • Identify cost drivers: Analyze budget reports to understand which services or resources are driving costs.
  1. AWS Cost Allocation Tags:
  • Allocate costs to departments or projects: Assign tags to resources to track costs by specific teams or projects.
  • Enable cost chargeback: Facilitate internal cost allocation for transparency and accountability.
  • Filter and group by tags: Easily analyze and report on costs associated with specific tags.
  1. AWS Reserved Instances:
  • Purchase reserved instances: Upfront commitment for specific resources at discounted rates.
  • Optimize reserved instance utilization: Monitor usage and identify opportunities to switch to more suitable reservations.
  • Savings plans: Purchase flexible plans offering discounts on compute, memory, and storage resources.
  1. AWS Cost Anomaly Detection:
  • Identify unusual spikes in costs: Utilize machine learning to detect potential fraud, waste, or misconfiguration.
  • Receive notifications for anomalies: Be alerted when costs deviate significantly from expected patterns.
  • Investigate and take action: Quickly identify the cause of anomalies and take corrective steps.

2) Azure cost management + billing

Azure Cost Management + Billing, part of Microsoft’s suite, empowers businesses to optimize their cloud investments by enhancing visibility and accountability. Through the Azure portal, users can monitor and report on cloud usage and expenses, aided by Azure Advisor’s tailored cost optimization suggestions. Integration with Microsoft Power BI connectors and Cost Management APIs allows for personalized cost management approaches. Recently, AI functionalities have been integrated to provide deeper insights, forecasting, and reporting features. This aids in implementing governance policies and promoting cost-efficient practices, ultimately maximizing the return on cloud investments while fostering a culture of accountability and efficiency.

Key features:

  • Cost analysis and insights: Drill down into cost data by resource, department, subscription, and other dimensions for a granular understanding of your cloud spending.
  • Budgeting and forecasting: Set budgets and receive alerts when approaching limits, along with cost forecasts based on usage patterns to proactively manage spending.
  • Reserved instance and savings plan optimization: Identify opportunities to purchase reserved instances or savings plans for predictable costs and significant discounts on frequently used resources.
  • Cost anomaly detection: Utilize AI to detect unusual spikes in spending that might indicate potential fraud, waste, or misconfiguration, allowing for quick investigation and corrective action.
  • Integration with other Azure tools: Seamlessly integrates with other Azure services like Azure Advisor for personalized recommendations and Azure Resource Manager for managing resources effectively.

3) Google cloud cost management

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) offers a robust suite of approximately a dozen tools for effective cost management, accessible through the Cloud Console. Within the console, users can access two primary cost-related pages: Cloud Billing Reports and Cost Tables.

Cloud Billing Reports enable users to preview usage costs, facilitating the identification and analyzing resource consumption trends. Using charts, users can easily discern which products and locations contribute most to expenditure. Additionally, cost management can be structured according to organizational hierarchy, such as projects, folders, or labels.

Meanwhile, the Cost Table report provides a detailed, tabular breakdown for each invoice month, facilitating reconciliation of statements. Through dynamic filtering, sorting, and grouping, users gain insight into the cost of each invoice entry.

Key features:

  • Cost recommendations: Google Cloud Cost Management provides recommendations for optimizing your cloud costs, based on your usage patterns and best practices.
  • Budgeting and alerts: You can set budgets and receive alerts when your spending is at risk of exceeding your limits.
  • Cost reports: Google Cloud Cost Management offers detailed cost reports that break down your spending by project, resource type, and other dimensions.
  • Reserved instance management: You can easily manage your reserved instances and ensure you’re getting the most value out of them.
  • Integration with other Google Cloud tools: Google Cloud Cost Management integrates seamlessly with other Google Cloud tools, such as Cloud Billing and Cloud Monitoring.

4) IBM Turbonomic

IBM relies on Turbonomic to provide an AI-powered solution for effectively managing deployment, aligning application demand with infrastructure. The tool automatically initiates, halts, and relocates applications in response to demand, utilizing data stored in a warehouse to train AI for future decisions. The latest version introduces a new dashboard and reporting framework based on Grafana.

Turbonomic seamlessly integrates with various software, tools, processes, and workflows, maximizing its capabilities. It offers full-stack visualization, providing a comprehensive view of entity interactions and impacts across all layers, facilitating cost-effective resourcing decisions. Additionally, intelligent analytics offer actionable insights, optimizing application performance through dynamic resourcing. The platform supports cloud migration planning, assisting businesses in devising tailored, cost-effective strategies to meet their specific cloud service requirements.

Key features:

  • AI-driven optimization: Leverages machine learning to analyze resource utilization and automatically scale workloads to optimize cost and performance.
  • Multi-cloud support: Manages costs across various cloud providers, including AWS, Azure, GCP, and on-premises infrastructure.
  • Continuous cost optimization: Continuously monitors and adjusts resource allocation to ensure you only pay for what you use.
  • Compliance automation: Enforces cloud governance policies and automates compliance tasks to reduce security risks and costs.

5) Harness

Harness, a CI/CD platform, serves as a tool for managing cloud costs by prioritizing cost transparency, optimization, and governance. Its suite of features includes Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Feature Flags, Cloud Cost Management, Service Reliability Management, Security Testing Orchestration, and Chaos Engineering. Harness offers workload optimization suggestions for cost savings and automates the shutdown of idle cloud resources. However, it lacks certain key cloud automation features like spot instance utilization, autoscaling, and rightsizing.

Key features:

  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC): Provisions and manages cloud infrastructure using code, enabling consistent and repeatable deployments.
  • Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD): Automates the software delivery pipeline, reducing manual effort and accelerating time to market.
  • Cost optimization features: Identifies and eliminates idle resources, automates scaling based on demand, and provides cost allocation reports.
  • Multi-cloud support: Supports deployments on various cloud providers and on-premises infrastructure.
  • Cloud spend visibility: Provides real-time insights into cloud spending and helps identify cost-saving opportunities.

6) Flexera one

The Flexera One cloud management suite efficiently addresses various cloud management tasks, including asset tracking and governance organization for streamlined control. Notably, it includes a robust budget control feature, offering multi-cloud accounting for detailed spending tracking across teams and projects. Flexera One provides optimization suggestions to mitigate wasteful allocations and implements automated systems accordingly. Leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence, it analyzes consumption patterns across multiple clouds to enhance efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Key features:

  • Unified view of cloud costs: Aggregates cost data from multiple cloud providers into a single dashboard for easy tracking and analysis.
  • Granular cost allocation: Allocates costs to specific departments, projects, or workloads for chargeback and cost optimization.
  • Cloud security and compliance: Provides tools to identify and mitigate security risks and ensure compliance with regulations.
  • Cost optimization recommendations: Offers actionable recommendations to reduce cloud spending based on historical data and usage trends.

7) CloudHealth by Vmware

CloudHealth by VMware offers users a unified interface for managing cloud costs, usage, performance, and security. Following its acquisition by VMware, the CloudHealth Partner Program empowers VMware partners to optimize cloud costs, enhance efficiency, and capitalize on their public cloud ventures. Notable features include a comprehensive toolkit for managing, analyzing, and optimizing cloud infrastructure and spending, along with its multi-cloud capabilities. However, some users critique its reporting capabilities for lacking customization and granularity.

Key features:

  • Multi-cloud cost management: Manages costs across various cloud providers, including AWS, Azure, GCP, and Alibaba Cloud.
  • Automated cost optimization: Identifies and eliminates idle resources, recommends cost-saving actions, and automates cost optimization tasks.
  • Resource optimization: Recommends optimal resource configurations to reduce cloud spending without impacting performance.

8) Denisfy

Densify specializes in automating the identification and monitoring of cloud resource usage and spending, striving to achieve the optimal balance between performance and cost. Leveraging a blend of machine learning and deep analytics, Densify analyzes workload patterns to determine the most efficient setup and configuration. This systematic approach mitigates application performance issues, boosts utilization, and reduces costs by preventing overallocation. Seamlessly integrating with deployment pipelines, the platform automates instance type selection and scaling parameters for cloud infrastructure, minimizing errors and ensuring continuous alignment with application requirements.

Key features:

  • Automated rightsizing: Densify uses AI and machine learning to automatically identify and rightsize underutilized cloud resources, optimizing costs without sacrificing performance.
  • Granular cost visibility: Densify provides detailed cost breakdowns by resource, department, project, and tag, enabling precise cost tracking and allocation.
  • Reserved instance management: Densify simplifies the management of reserved instances, helping you identify opportunities for savings and ensure optimal utilization.
  • Cloud agnostic: Densify supports multi-cloud environments, including AWS, Azure, GCP, and Alibaba Cloud, providing a unified view of your cloud costs.
  • Customizable reporting: Densify offers customizable dashboards and reports, allowing you to tailor cost insights to your specific needs.

9) Morpheus cloud cost optimization

Morpheus Cloud Cost Optimization is a sophisticated analytical tool tailored to empower FinOps teams in efficiently managing hybrid cloud expenses. By integrating with hypervisors or cloud platforms, it systematically inventory assets, enabling advanced automation, meticulous logging, and precise analytics. This ensures reliable monitoring of cloud expenditure and usage patterns, with the platform synchronizing with public cloud pricing daily, considering different currencies and pricing adjustments. Morpheus’ analytics engine facilitates thorough comparisons of utilization and costs across multiple clouds, empowering informed decision-making. Additionally, it provides detailed cost comparisons and analytics, simplifies budget management, and seamlessly integrates with third-party tools for comprehensive cloud cost analysis and allocation.

Key features:

  • Resource optimization: Morpheus identifies and recommends opportunities to optimize resource utilization, including rightsizing, scheduling, and auto-scaling.
  • Budgeting and forecasting: Morpheus helps you set budgets and forecasts cloud costs, allowing you to proactively manage spending and avoid surprises.
  • Integration with third-party tools: Morpheus integrates with existing IT management tools, streamlining your cloud cost management workflow.

10) Cloudzero

CloudZero’s platform delivers a comprehensive analysis of your company’s cloud expenses, providing detailed insights into spending breakdowns and facilitating informed decision-making. It fosters collaboration between engineering and finance teams by offering clarity on expenditures, enabling precise ROI assessments. Notably, it distinguishes between essential and wasteful spending, empowering swift corrective actions. The tool requires no tags, ensuring seamless integration with existing workflows. With visibility across containerized and non-containerized environments, CloudZero consolidates spending information for easy access. Additionally, its SOC 1 and SOC 2 compliance guarantee data accuracy and security. CloudZero serves as a dependable solution for tracking costs across teams, projects, and features, providing stakeholders with real-time financial updates and alerts on potential budget overruns.

Key features:

  • Cost anomaly detection: CloudZero uses AI to detect unusual spikes in cloud spending, helping you identify potential areas of waste or fraud.
  • Reserved instance optimization: CloudZero helps you optimize your reserved instance purchases, ensuring you’re getting the best value for your money.
  • FinOps integration: CloudZero integrates with FinOps tools and processes, enabling you to align your cloud costs with your business objectives.
  • Multi-cloud support: CloudZero supports AWS, Azure, and GCP, providing a unified view of your cloud costs across different platforms.
  • Customizable dashboards: CloudZero offers customizable dashboards and reports, allowing you to track and analyze your cloud costs in the way that matters most to you.

Leverage DigitalOcean to optimize your cloud costs

DigitalOcean is an advantageous solution for optimizing cloud costs, especially tailored to meet the needs of small to medium-sized businesses. With a focus on simplicity and cost-effectiveness, DigitalOcean offers a range of services aimed at significantly reducing monthly expenses without the need for complex cost-saving strategies.

  • Transparent pricing model: DigitalOcean has a straightforward pricing structure, charging a flat rate of $0.01 per GB for data transfer. This transparency improves budgeting efforts, providing businesses with a predictable cost landscape.
  • Generous bandwidth allowances: Businesses can benefit from monthly outbound bandwidth allowances ranging from 500 GiB to 11,000 GiB, depending on the selected Droplet plan. Bandwidth is pooled between Droplets, accommodating businesses of varying sizes with diverse requirements.
  • Competitive overage rates: In cases where data transfer needs exceed the allowances, DigitalOcean imposes a competitive flat rate of $0.01 per GiB for additional outbound data transfer over the public network.
  • Mitigation of vendor lock-in: DigitalOcean addresses the challenge of high egress fees associated with vendor lock-in by offering low and predictable egress pricing. This facilitates seamless data transfer and provider switching without incurring exorbitant costs.
  • Bandwidth pooling: Through the operation of multiple Droplets, DigitalOcean consolidates bandwidth allowances. Deploying more VMs increases the collective bandwidth cap, providing greater flexibility and potential cost savings.
  • Free internal data transfer: Internal data transfers between DigitalOcean Droplets via a virtual private network do not impact bandwidth allowances or result in additional charges, benefiting businesses with substantial internal data traffic.
  • Advanced offerings: DigitalOcean offers Premium CPU-Optimized virtual machines tailored for CPU-intensive applications, along with Managed Kubernetes, Managed Databases, and diverse storage options—all competitively priced.
  • Support and resources: DigitalOcean provides SMB-friendly customer support, extensive documentation, and tutorials, simplifying navigation for users, particularly those new to cloud computing.

By utilizing DigitalOcean’s offerings, businesses can effectively manage and optimize their cloud costs while enjoying reliable services and support tailored to their needs.

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