AWS Cloud Financial Management

Announcing Data Exports for FOCUS 1.0 (Preview) in AWS Billing and Cost Management

Starting today, you can create exports of your AWS cost and usage data with the FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS) 1.0 schema as a preview feature. For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the FOCUS standard, FOCUS is a new open-source cloud billing data specification that provides consistency and standardization to simplify cloud cost reporting and analysis across multiple sources. With Data Exports for FOCUS 1.0 (preview), you can configure recurring delivery of your AWS cost and usage data with the FOCUS 1.0 schema to your designated Amazon S3 bucket, and use these exports for your desired FinOps activities, such as cost reporting and allocation.

Why are we excited for the launch?

One of the advantages of operating in the cloud environment is cost and usage transparency. However, this transparency can only be achieved if you have a process in place to access and analyze the cost and usage data and have a clear understanding of what the data represents. Today, you can access detailed billing and usage data via AWS Cost and Usage Report (CUR) to help you understand your resource consumption and spend pattern. This detailed data enables you to identify cost savings opportunities and allocate costs back to their owners. Yet, it takes time to normalize cost and usage data across multiple sources (e.g. cloud, SaaS providers), which distracts your FinOps resources from other higher impact initiatives. FOCUS, supported by the FinOps Foundation, reduces complexity in processing and normalizing cost and usage datasets, so Cloud Financial Management professionals can have the data faster to drive decision-making and maximize the business value of cloud.

We’re excited to contribute to the FOCUS initiative and provide our customers the ability to receive AWS cost and usage data with the FOCUS 1.0 schema. Data Exports for FOCUS 1.0 (Preview) is based on the same cost and usage data that creates the AWS Cost and Usage Report (CUR). The summed billed costs of FOCUS 1.0 should always be equal to your invoiced costs. The export is available in hourly granularity and includes resource-level granular data. In addition, Data Exports for FOCUS 1.0 (Preview) provides the following three main benefits:

  • Standardized cost columns: With FOCUS 1.0, you will see your costs in standardized columns, such as ListCost, BilledCost, and EffectiveCost. It ensures each type of billing data appears in a consistent column that can be reliably referenced within or across sources. You can validate your discounts with a single calculation (e.g. EffectiveCost/ListCost).
  • Consistent schema for all columns: FOCUS 1.0 uses a standardized schema, so each type of billing data (cost or non-cost related) appears in the same column across sources. Data Exports for FOCUS 1.0 (Preview) also includes 5 AWS-specific columns for proprietary billing data, such as AWS usage types and cost categories.
  • Common set of values: FOCUS 1.0 uses a common set of values for fields, such as service category and usage quantity. For example, it only allows the value “Hours” to describe a line item that is charged by the hour, without variations of “hr”, “hrs”. Therefore, mappings or conversions aren’t required for aggregations on certain columns.

“Many customers use our console-based tooling to accomplish FinOps goals. However, customers who need to export cost and usage data for more sophisticated FinOps tasks may find it time-consuming to reconcile billing data from multiple sources. FOCUS solves these issues by using a standard schema with columns for displaying costs using consistent definitions and a common set of values for fields like usage units. FOCUS makes it simple for you to combine your cloud cost data from multiple into a single view.”

John Phillips, General Manager of Cloud Financial Management Engineering and Product Management

How can you get started?

Log into the Billing and Cost Management console and click on “Data Exports” on the left-side navigation bar. Select the table “FOCUS 1.0 with AWS Columns (Preview)” and create an export from either the console pages or using the export creation workflow CLI or SDKs (see user guide “Creating data exports“). Once the export is created, Data Exports starts to deliver data according to your specified frequency.

Figure 1. Sample screenshot of Data Exports for FOCUS 1.0

Figure 1. Sample screenshot of Data Exports for FOCUS 1.0

You can control access permission to the FOCUS exports using ‘bcm-data-exports:create-export’ IAM action with either the ‘FOCUS’ table or ‘*’ resources defined in AWS IAM. The user must also have permissions to the ‘cur:put-report-definition’ action to ensure that legacy permissions blocking access to cost and usage data are respected. For those of you who have enabled Consolidated Billing setting in your AWS Organizations, your FOCUS export will contain cost and usage data for the management/payer account and all the member accounts in the organization. You can create up to 2 free exports of the FOCUS table per AWS account.

How can you understand the “FOCUS 1.0 with AWS Columns” table?

You will find 48 columns in the FOCUS 1.0 with AWS Columns table. The first 43 columns are based on the FOCUS 1.0 specification, and the last 5 are AWS-specific columns with the prefix “x_” in the column names, e.g. “x_UsageType”, “x_CostCategories” (see definitions of these columns from this user guide “FOCUS 1.0 with AWS columns (preview) columns”). These AWS-specific columns enable you to complete many of the FinOps activities you can perform with Cost and Usage report (CUR).

To make it easier to understand, we will use a basic example. If you purchase a 1-year no upfront Compute Savings Plans that has $1 recurring fee every hour, the EffectiveCost column shows that $0.3 was used to cover your eligible usage and $0.7 was left unused.  The chart below shows how these data will be displayed in the FOCUS 1.0 with AWS Columns table.

Figure 2. Illustrative sample of FOCUS 1.0 export

Figure 2. Illustrative sample of FOCUS 1.0 export

Anything else you should pay attention to?

Our FOCUS 1.0 export is still in preview. We will be iterating it, as we work towards a Generally Available (GA) release. You can find details in our documentation here. AWS customers who’re not yet on discount automation will not be able to use the FOCUS export, as AWS needs discounts to be automatically included to correctly produce two columns, BilledCost and EffectiveCost.

If you’re looking for a quick way to get started visualizing your FOCUS 1.0 data, check out the FOCUS Dashboard (Preview). It contains a guide and CloudFormation template to deploy a pre-built Amazon QuickSight dashboard of your FOCUS 1.0 data.


Data Exports for FOCUS 1.0 (preview) enables you to create exports of your cost and usage data with the FOCUS 1.0 schema, so you can save time normalizing and maintaining cost calculations across cloud providers. Get started with Data Exports for FOCUS 1.0 today and simplify your process to get a complete picture of your total cloud spend.

Bowen Wang

Bowen Wang

Bowen is a Principal Product Marketing Manager for AWS Billing and Cost Management services. She focuses on enabling finance and business leaders to better understand the value of the cloud and ways to optimize their cloud financial management. In her previous career, she helped a tech start up enter the Chinese market.

Zach Erdman

Zach Erdman

Zach Erdman is a Sr. Product Manager at AWS working on Data Exports for Billing and Cost Management in the Commerce Platform. He is focused on building tools to help data engineers and FinOps specialists be able to more easily ingest, process, and understand their cloud cost and usage data.