May 4, 2015

Written by Jim L.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides a robust capability to organize, report, and manage resource costs. By default, AWS enables spend visibility by high level services, such as EC2, S3, VPC, and AWS Support, but AWS provides a powerful capability to create tailored utilization reports that provide enhanced information for your particular business context.

Business and technical stakeholders that manage projects utilizing AWS have information and reporting needs that are as diverse as the projects themselves. As ActioNeter’s delivering AWS services, we need to respond to information requests and be prepared to tailor financial and utilization reports to meet the information and planning needs of our customers. The AWS Management Console provides the ability to define, manage, and report on specific resource types and project defined aggregates based on specific implementations and interest. In this example, the customer wants to track, and potentially forecast, monthly costs associated with three system development lifecycle environments.

All AWS service resources can be classified and aggregated by creating a “tag”. A tag is nothing more than a label that is created through the AWS Management Console and consists of a label key and a label value both of which are user defined. AWS uses these tags to organize resource costs on the Cost Allocation Report. Examples of a key are Environment, Cost Center, or Application and values for the Environment key could be Production, UAT, or Development. As the example graphic shows, using this type of tag enables cost resource reporting by each environment within the infrastructure. Up to 10 unique tags can be applied to an AWS resource so there is a lot of flexibility in resource reporting. For more information about planning and creating AWS resource tags follow this link AWS Resource Tag Description.


Getting started is a relatively simple four step process:

  1. Identify reporting needs and plan tag definition support.
  2. Define and create the tags using the AWS Management Console Tag Editor at the account level.
  3. Associate tags to AWS resources at the account level.
  4. Request tag activation at the ActioNet master account level. Contact Jim L., AWS Operations, at [email protected]

Finally, some experience considerations. First, tags are case sensitive so plan your tags carefully and execute your plan. Second, tags are not retroactively applied to the Cost Allocation Report and will not be visible until activated at the ActioNet (company) master account level. Finally, if you have additional questions or need assistance please contact Jim L. at [email protected].