Q: Who should use the AWS Cost Management products?

We have yet to meet a customer who does not consider cost management a priority. AWS Cost Management tools are used by IT professionals, financial analysts, resource managers, and developers across all industries to access detailed information related to their AWS costs and usage, analyze their cost drivers and usage trends, and take action on their insights.

Getting Started

Q: How do I get started with the AWS Cost Management tools?

The quickest way to get started with the AWS Cost Management tools is to access the Billing Dashboard. From there, you can access a number of products that can help you to better understand, analyze, and control your AWS costs, including, but not limited to, AWS Cost Explorer, AWS Budgets, and the AWS Cost & Usage Report.

AWS Cost Explorer

Q: What are the benefits of using AWS Cost Explorer?

AWS Cost Explorer lets you explore your AWS costs and usage at both a high level and at a detailed level of analysis, and empowering you to dive deeper using a number of filtering dimensions (e.g., AWS Service, Region, Member Account, etc.) AWS Cost Explorer also gives you access to a set of default reports to help you get started, while also allowing you to create custom reports from scratch.

For more information about the breadth of AWS Cost Explorer features, please click here or refer to the Managing your Usage and Costs user guide.

Q: What kinds of default reports are available?

AWS Cost Explorer provides a set of default reports to help you get familiar with the available filtering dimensions and types analyses that can be done using AWS Cost Explorer. These reports include a breakdown of your top 5 cost-accruing AWS services, and an analysis of your overall Amazon EC2 usage, an analysis of the total costs of your member accounts, and the Reserved Instance Utilization and Coverage reports.

To access these default reports, please access Cost Explorer.

For more information about the RI Utilization report and the RI Coverage reports, please reference the Reserved Instance Reporting FAQ section.

Q: Can I create and save custom AWS Cost Explorer reports?

Yes. You can currently save up to 50 custom AWS Cost Explorer reports.

Q: What can I do with the AWS Cost Explorer API?

The AWS Cost Explorer API is the low-latency, ad-hoc query service that powers AWS Cost Explorer, and is accessible via a command-line interface and supported AWS SDKs. Using the AWS Cost Explorer API, you can build custom, interactive cost management applications without having to set up and maintain any additional infrastructure.

The AWS Cost Explorer API incurs a charge of $.01 per request. Please note that if your result set is paginated each page counts as a separate request.

To learn more about the AWS Cost Explorer API, please reference the technical documentation.

Q: When should I use AWS Compute Optimizer and when should I use AWS Cost Explorer?

You should use AWS Cost Explorer if you want to identify under-utilized EC2 instances that may be downsized on an instance by instance basis within the same instance family, and you want to understand the potential impact on your AWS bill by taking into account your RIs and Savings Plans. Cost Explorer offers recommendations for all commercial regions (outside of China) and supports the A, T, M, C, R, X, Z, I, D, H instance families.

You should use AWS Compute Optimizer if you want to look at instance type recommendations beyond downsizing within an instance family. You can use AWS Compute Optimizer to get downsizing recommendations within or across instance families, upsizing recommendations to remove performance bottlenecks, and recommendations for EC2 instances that are parts of an Auto Scaling group. AWS Compute Optimizer provides you additional capabilities to enhance recommendation quality and the user experience, such as using machine learning to identify workload types and automatically choose workload-specific recommendation methodology for them. You should also use AWS Compute Optimizer if you want to understand the performance risks and how your workload would perform on various EC2 instance options to evaluate the price-performance trade-off for your workloads. AWS Compute Optimizer is available in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), EU (Ireland), and South America (Sao Paulo), and supports the M, C, R, T and X instance families.

AWS Cost & Usage Report

Q: What is the AWS Cost & Usage Report?

The AWS Cost & Usage Report is your one-stop shop for accessing the most detailed information available about your AWS costs and usage. The AWS Cost & Usage Report can be generated at an hourly and/or daily level of granularity.

For more information about the exact information available in the AWS Cost & Usage Report, please reference the Cost & Usage Report Data Dictionary. You can enable the AWS Cost & Usage Report from here.

Q: How can I get started using the AWS Cost & Usage Report?

You can enable the AWS Cost & Usage Report from the Cost & Usage Reports page in the Billing Console. Please note that in order to receive the AWS Cost & Usage Report, you will need to create and configure an S3 bucket.

Q: How frequently is the AWS Cost & Usage Report updated?

The AWS Cost & Usage Report is updated at least once per day. An updated version of the report is delivered to your S3 bucket each time an update is completed.

Q: What else can I do with the AWS Cost & Usage Report?

You can configure your Cost & Usage Reports to integrate with Amazon Athena. Once Amazon Athena integration has been enabled for your Cost & Usage Report, your data will be delivered in compressed Apache Parquet files to an Amazon S3 bucket of your choice. From there, you can use an out-of-the-box AWS CloudFormation template to perform a one-time configuration of an AWS Glue crawler. This will ensure that your latest cost and usage information is always available to Amazon Athena – with no additional work required to prepare your data for analysis.

The AWS Cost & Usage Report can also be automatically uploaded into Amazon Redshift and/or Amazon QuickSight. In order for this to work, ensure that you select the option for receiving an Amazon Redshift and/or Amazon QuickSight manifest file when setting your report preferences.

Reserved Instance (RI) Reporting

Q: How can I use AWS Cost Management tools to better understand the costs and usage associated with my Reserved Instances (RIs)?

There are three main ways to gain insight into the costs and usage associated with your RIs: the default RI reports in Cost Explorer, the reservation-related data in the Cost & Usage Report, and AWS Cost Explorer's RI purchase recommendations.

Q: What are some of the insights you can glean using the RI reports in Cost Explorer?

AWS Cost Explorer provides two reports out-of-the-box--the RI Utilization and RI Coverage reports--to help you understand how you are using your RIs. The RI Utilization report visualizes the degree to which you are using your existing resources and helps you identify opportunities to improve your RI cost efficiencies. The RI Coverage report allows you to discover how much of your overall instance usage is covered by RIs, so that you can make informed decisions about when to purchase or modify an RI to ensure maximum coverage.

Q: What kind of RI-related information can you gain from the Cost & Usage Report?

The Cost & Usage Report gives you access to a wealth of RI-related information, including the ARN of the Reserved Instance that received the RI discount, the total reserved units in a reservation, and pricing information. This can help you trace your RI discounts, understand how well you are using your RIs, and analyze your savings compared to the On-Demand instance usage prices.

You can learn more about the Cost & Usage Report here. You can enable the Cost & Usage Report here.

AWS Budgets

Q: What is AWS Budgets and how does it work?

Using AWS Budgets, you can set a budget that alerts you when you exceed (or are forecasted to exceed) your budgeted cost or usage amount. You can also set alerts based on your RI Utilization and Coverage using AWS Budgets.

Learn more about AWS Budgets here, or reference the Monitoring your Usage and Costs user guide.

Q: What kinds of dimensions can be used to create a budget?

AWS Budgets gives you access to a number of filtering dimensions (i.e., AWS Service, Availability Zone, and Member Account), and allows you to create budgets that are tracked on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly cadence.

Q: How many budgets can I create?

You can create up to 20,000 budgets. If you would like to increase your limit, please reach out to Customer Support.

Q: How many alerts and subscribers can I add for each budget?

For each budget, you are allowed to create up to five alerts. Each alert can be sent to 10 email subscribers and/or be published to an SNS topic.

Q: Is there a cost associated with using AWS Budgets?

You can create 2 budgets for free. Any additional active budgets accrue a cost that can be reviewed here.

AWS Cost Anomaly Detection

Q: What is Anomaly Detection and how does it work?

Anomaly Detection helps you detect and alert on any abnormal or sudden spend increases in your AWS account. This is possible by using machine learning to learn your spend patterns and trigger alert as they seem abnormal.

Learn more about Anomaly Detection here, or reference the Detecting Unusual Spend with Anomaly Detection user guide.

Q: How can I customize monitors to evaluate for anomalies?

Anomaly Detection allows you to segment your spend by different dimensions (AWS Services, Linked Accounts, Cost Allocation Tags, and Cost Categories). This segmentation allows Anomaly Detection to detect more granular anomalies and customize alerting preferences.

Q: How many monitors can I create?

Anomaly Detection allows you to create up to 101 monitors. There is a limit of 1 AWS Service monitor (which evaluate all used AWS Services separately) and up to 100 monitors for a combination of Linked Accounts, Cost Allocation Tags, and Cost Categories monitors.

Q: How many subscribers can I add to each monitor?

For each monitor, you can have up to 10 email recipients or 1 SNS topic.

Q: Is there a cost associated with using Anomaly Detection?

This service is provided free of charge.

AWS Purchase Order Management

Q: What is AWS Purchase Order Management and how does it work?

AWS Purchase Order Management gives you the ability to define and manage your purchase orders (POs) for AWS services in a way that meets your unique business needs. You can configure multiple POs and define the rules of how they map to your invoices through PO line item configurations. You can define separate POs for different time periods, invoices, and AWS seller entities. You can also track the status as well as balance of your POs, and configure email contacts to receive PO balance tracking and expiration notifications. You have complete control to update your PO configuration at any time.

Learn more about AWS Purchase Order Management here, or reference the Managing your Purchase Orders user guide.

Q: What are purchase order line items?

Purchase order line items give you the flexibility to define various PO configurations according to your needs. By selecting different line item start and end periods, as well as line item types, you can define multiple configurations to match your POs to invoices, as well as track balances over different time periods and invoice types. To learn more, see Setting up purchase order configurations.

Q: How does purchase order balance tracking work?

Purchase order balance tracking is a feature that enables you to report and track the balance of your POs against your invoiced amounts. When adding/editing your PO details, you have the option to enable balance tracking and input amounts for your PO line items. Whenever an invoice is generated and matched with your PO, the balance of the corresponding line item as well as your PO will be reduced. If you have configured contacts on your PO, they will receive email notifications when the PO line item balance falls below a 75% threshold.

Q: Will my purchase order no longer be used for invoices once it runs out of

Your invoices are matched to your POs based on various criteria, such as effective and expiration periods, AWS seller entity (“Bill from”), line item type (e.g. AWS subscription, AWS Marketplace, AWS Monthly usage, or ALL), and line item start and end periods. PO balance is not an important criteria used for determining invoice association. When your PO runs out of balance, and in case you have not taken any action, such as updating the balance or adding a different PO, your PO will continue being associated with the same types of invoices as before.

Q: What are purchase order notifications?

You can configure contacts on your POs to receive email notifications for your POs running out of balance or nearing expiration. PO notifications enable you to proactively take actions to ensure the validity of your POs, and achieve on-time and accurate payments.

Q: What is purchase order status management?

You can easily track the status of your POs on the Purchase Orders dashboard. When adding/updating your PO, you can input its effective and expiration periods. Your PO is Active during this time period and is used for matching with invoices. Once your PO is past its expiration date, it’s status is automatically updated to Expired and it is no longer used for your invoices.

If you want to pause using an Active PO for your invoices, you can update its status to Suspended at any time by choosing Change status from your Purchase Order Details page. Suspended POs are not used for invoice association. You can change the status back to Active at any time to activate the PO for invoicing. This feature is helpful if you want to use a one-time PO for a specific purchase. You can do so by adding your one-time PO and suspending your other active POs. Once your purchase is complete and invoice is generated with your one-time PO, you can again activate your other POs, and suspend (or delete) the one-time PO.

Q: How many purchase orders can I add?

You can add up to 100 active purchase orders with up to 100 line items for each purchase order.

Q: How many email contacts can I configure to receive PO alerts?

You can add up to 10 email contacts for each purchase order.

Q: Is there a cost associated with using this feature?

No, the feature is provided free of charge.

Q: Can I update my invoicing and payment terms using this feature?

AWS Purchase Order Management is provided by AWS for your convenience. Any use of AWS Purchase Order Management does not modify the agreement between you and AWS governing your access or use of AWS services. For any questions related to payment terms, please reach out to Customer Support.

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