A Guide to Cloud Billing Management Tools for MSPs and Resellers
Since the emergence of cloud services, the choice of billing options has been one of the key advantages of cloud services over on-premises deployments. Instead of investing funds in hardware infrastructure and software licenses, regardless of whether they will be used or not, cloud billing offers you a “pay-as-you-go” model. This means that cloud customers only pay for services they use at any point in time. While it is an attractive payment model for customers, it can be complicated to monitor and predict costs. Without effective cost monitoring, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) balancing cloud spend for dozens of customers may end up with surprise bills at the end of the month.
Public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure offer several tools for tracking and reporting costs. In addition to the cloud itself, a cloud management platform can also hold the key to cost savings for MSPs and resellers. Here’s how managed services can simplify cloud billing management with a mix of native and cloud management tools:
Amazon Web Services
One of the first and most popular cloud providers, AWS offers numerous cloud billing management tools for calculating, reporting, and monitoring costs. Here are a few AWS resources that can help MSPs and resellers manage their cloud billing and invoicing:
Simple Monthly Calculator: AWS provides a Simple Monthly Calculator with which you can check how much Amazon will charge to run services on their platform. AWS Pricing Calculator: For more complex configurations, there’s also the AWS Pricing Calculator to estimate an overall yearly cost.
AWS Billing and Cost Management: Using AWS Billing and Cost Management, you can easily download your costs, in PDF or CSV, and analyze them according to service on a monthly basis. AWS Cost Explorer: If you need a more detailed spending breakdown and report, including charts, AWS Cost Explorer will give you what you need. Amazon QuickSight: Using QuickSight, you are able to import your billing information from AWS and gain deep insights, custom filters, dashboards, and analytics on your AWS spending. QuickSight is available for an additional cost.
Billing alarms: You can configure billing alarms or budgets for more control over your current spendings. You can even setup actions to take when budget thresholds are met. AWS Trusted Advisor:AWS Trusted Advisor can monitor and collect information on your AWS infrastructure and provide you with guidelines on how to optimize your online services and manage costs more efficiently. To access all of the AWS Trusted Advisor features you need a support contract or must be an AWS Enterprise customer.
Like AWS, Microsoft’s cloud offering includes several cloud billing management tools, applicable to different phases of your cloud deployment. Examples of Azure billing tools include:
Azure Pricing Calculator: The Azure Pricing Calculator can immediately familiarize you with Azure prices. This tool also allows you to predict the costs of running your workloads.
Azure Portal Cost Management: For some services, prior to deployment, logging in to Azure Portal will display your estimated cost. You must pay close attention to the amount. Estimates are often based on monthly costs for a specific service running 24/7 but do not include the costs of resources the service depends on. Invoicing: After running your workloads in Azure for some time, you will be able to navigate to your Subscriptions blade in the portal and download invoices for the previous period. Detailed reporting: You will also be able to create and analyze more detailed dynamic reports or predictions for future usage and parse details to PowerBI if you want colorful dashboards and a deep cost breakdown.
Billing alerts: Azure provides billing alerts or spending limits to apply to your subscriptions. Azure Advisor:Azure Advisor offers some advice for optimizing your infrastructure in terms of performance, availability, and costs and Azure Security Center can help as well.
The native tools in AWS and Microsoft Azure are helpful resources that MSPs and resellers can use to calculate and track their cloud costs. However, they aren’t the only tools that cloud service providers have at their disposal. CloudCheckr brings added simplicity to cloud cost and expense management for enterprises, MSPs, and CSPs. The CloudCheckr CMx platform provides total visibility public cloud management and offers actionable insights and immediate results, including a number of features focused on cloud billing management for MSPs and resellers. The robust CloudCheckr CMx platform helps enterprises and MSPs save time and money when it comes to their cloud expenses. MSPs and resellers with 25 or more customers report that CloudCheckr Partner Tools have helped them reduce their average monthly invoice processing time from 6.5 days to under 12 hours. Compare for yourself: See how CloudCheckr stacks up against native cloud tools from AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.
In addition to the tools in your public cloud environment, CloudCheckr provides:
Total Visibility: Among the many cloud management and monitoring features CloudCheckr offers, cloud cost and expense management provides resellers with a single interface for managing multi-cloud environments, whether they are hosted by the same or different vendors.
Predict and analyze cloud costs: CloudCheckr provides sophisticated cost allocation that gives you full visibility of cloud hosts to easily predict, analyze, and automatically charge back costs across all cloud subscriptions you or your customers are using.
Billing and invoicing: CloudCheckr helps MSPs and CSPs easily attribute cloud bills to the appropriate customers, simplifying invoicing, using programmatic bill re-rating to dramatically increase profit margins and more. Cost changes: The Cost Changes Report in CloudCheckr enables instant visibility into your spend across disparate cloud services and providers. Right sizing: CloudCheckr’s Right Sizing Report offers actionable insights with opportunities for right sizing cloud resources. Automation: CloudCheckr offers an extensive automation mechanism for generating reports and invoices based on tags related to cost centers, as well as internal or external user groups. This mechanism can be automated monthly, weekly, or even daily.
Cost best practices: CloudCheckr’s Best Practice Checks are dedicated to optimizing cloud infrastructure and billing to identify idle resources, unused instances and VMs, EC2 Reserved Instance mismatches, and more. Warnings and alerts: In CloudCheckr, you can set up spending alerts or warning notifications to keep costs under control and accounted for.
Reseller tools: Service providers often want to build their brand. CloudCheckr provides white label capabilities, so the provider’s logo and color scheme are shown throughout the app and on invoices generated by the app. Indeed, thousands of enterprises use CloudCheckr without knowing it, benefiting from industry-leading cloud management capabilities while only seeing their service provider’s logo and brand.
What MSPs Have to Say About Cloud Billing Management from CloudCheckr
Denver-based MSP Eplexity was able to save their customers an average of 15% to 25% per month on their AWS bills using CloudCheckr. The cost management, security, compliance, and utilization tools in CloudCheckr help Director of Operations Shiley Johnson and his team get the information they need all in one simple dashboard. Johnson says:
“CloudCheckr is beneficial from cost, security, and performance perspectives, and it has simplified the process of onboarding customers. It gives us all the services we need, so that we don’t have to use multiple tools to find the same information.”
Simplify Your Cloud Billing
Managed service providers trust CloudCheckr to help boost margins, increase billing accuracy, reduce invoice processing time, and provide recommendations to help their customers save money, too.
See CloudCheckr’s cloud billing management tools in action with a free Cloud Check Up.
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