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How to use AWS cost explorer to monitor and analyze AWS service costs effectively?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers many services, making tracking its usage and costs hard. This is where AWS Cost Explorer comes in. It is a powerful tool that allows you to monitor and analyze your AWS service costs effectively. 

In this article, we’ll dive deep into how to use AWS Cost Explorer to achieve this.

What is AWS Cost Explorer?

AWS Cost Explorer is a cost management tool that helps you to visualize, understand, and manage your AWS spending. With AWS Cost Explorer, you can explore your AWS cost and usage data using customized reports and interactive graphs. You can also set up cost and usage alerts to get notified when your costs exceed a certain threshold.

AWS Cost Explorer provides detailed insights into your AWS usage, so you can optimize and control your costs. With this tool, you can:

  • View your AWS cost and usage data in various dimensions, such as by service, region, or account.
  • Analyze your data using different time ranges, filters, and grouping options.
  • Create custom reports and dashboards to track specific metrics.
  • Set up cost and usage alerts to monitor your spending in real time.
  • Identify cost optimization opportunities and implement changes to reduce your AWS costs.

How to use AWS Cost Explorer?

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use AWS Cost Explorer to monitor and analyze AWS service costs effectively:

Step 1: Choose the right time range

Source: AWS

When you open AWS Cost Explorer, you’ll be prompted to select a time range for your analysis. This time range determines the data in your reports and graphs. When selecting a time range, remember that the longer the time range, the more data you’ll have to analyze, so identifying specific trends and patterns may be more challenging.

Step 2: Choose the right filter

Source: AWS

The next step is to choose a filter for your analysis. A filter helps you focus on specific data you’re interested in analyzing. You can filter your data by different dimensions, such as by service, region, or account. You can also apply multiple filters to your analysis.

For example, if you want to analyze the cost of your EC2 instances in the US West (Oregon) region, you can apply filters for the EC2 service and the US West (Oregon) region.

Step 3: Choose the correct grouping

Source: AWS

After selecting a filter, choose a grouping for your analysis. A grouping helps you organize your data in a meaningful way. You can group your data by different dimensions, such as service, instance type, or tag.

For example, you can select the Instance Type grouping if you want to group your EC2 cost data by instance type.

Step 4: Choose the right visualization

Source: AWS

Then choose a visualization for your data. AWS Cost Explorer provides several visualization options, including line graphs, bar charts, and tables. The visualization you choose will depend on the type of data you’re analyzing and the insights you want to gain.

For example, if you’re analyzing your EC2 costs over time, a line graph may be a useful visualization option. A stacked bar chart may be more helpful if you compare the costs of different services.

Step 5: Create custom reports and dashboards

Source: AWS

One of the most powerful features of AWS Cost Explorer is the ability to create custom reports and dashboards. Custom reports and dashboards allow you to track specific metrics and gain deeper insights into your AWS costs.

To create a custom report or dashboard, select the time range, filters, grouping, and visualization you want to use. Then, click on the “Save as” button and select “Save as report” or “Save as dashboard.”

A custom report allows you to save your analysis for future reference. You can customize the report name, add a description, and choose to share the report with other AWS accounts. A custom dashboard lets you visually display your AWS costs and usage data. You can add multiple widgets to your dashboard, such as cost breakdowns by service, usage trends, and cost forecasts.

Step 6: Set up cost and usage alerts

Source: AWS

Another powerful feature of AWS Cost Explorer is the ability to set up cost and usage alerts. Cost and usage alerts notify you when your AWS spending exceeds a certain threshold. This allows you to take action and prevent unexpected cost spikes.

To set up a cost or usage alert, select the time range and filters you want to use. Then, configure the alert settings on the “Create alarm” button. You can set up alerts for specific services, regions, accounts, and even for specific cost or usage metrics.

Step 7: Identify cost optimization opportunities

Finally, once you’ve analyzed your AWS costs using AWS Cost Explorer, the next step is identifying cost optimization opportunities. Cost optimization is the process of reducing your AWS costs while maintaining or improving the quality of service.

AWS Cost Explorer provides several cost optimization features, including recommendations, budgeting, and forecasting. Recommendations provide specific suggestions for reducing your AWS costs, such as using reserved instances or eliminating underutilized resources. Budgeting allows you to set spending limits for your AWS account, while forecasting helps you to predict your future AWS costs based on your historical data.

The Takeaway

AWS Cost Explorer is a comprehensive tool that helps you to monitor and analyze your AWS service costs effectively. Following the steps outlined in this article, you can gain valuable insights into your AWS usage and costs, create custom reports and dashboards, set up cost and usage alerts, and identify cost optimization opportunities. With AWS Cost Explorer, you can optimize your AWS costs and achieve better cost control and management.

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