Segmenting Cloud Costs in Multi-Tenant Environments



In the cloud, a multi-tenant environment refers to where there are multiple customers of a cloud vendor, for example AWS, using shared resources. Multitenancy is a crucial component of cloud computing due to potential cost savings but it can introduce challenges related to properly accounting and billing tenants for their resource costs.

Why a multi-tenant environment?

First and foremost, lower costs. If your cloud environment is one where multiple customers are sharing resources, the cloud vendor can offer its services at lower costs compared to each customer creating their own dedicated resources. That also means the vendor needs solutions in place to assist with cost reporting, especially when you have many teams and applications in the same space – there needs to be an innovative way to separate them.

What is Cloud Cost Segmenting?

Simply put, this means separating the costing between and among teams. Imagine putting up dividers between teams so when the bill comes, you know who got charged and for what.

Why is this important?

Having the ability to chargeback the teams that are actually using the resources is critical to fostering an efficient and cost-effective cloud environment. The number one priority here is ensuring cost allocation is correct. Cost segmentation solutions allow for accountability, so business leaders are keenly aware if a certain team is going over budget, while making it clear what the costs are.

What are the benefits?

  • Allows businesses to allocate costs correctly
  • Helps business leaders stay within budgets; driving efficiency

There are tools available natively in the cloud to see cost structures, however, IT professionals can also tailor solutions to reduce costs. Specific cost saving solutions ideal for use in a multi-tenant, cloud environment include:

  • Custom Tags – IT professionals can create scripts designed to shut down/stop resources that are incorrectly tagged. So, if someone tries to create a resource without the proper billing tag, a script will automatically shut it down or prevent creation all together. In this scenario, the customer’s billing report relies on the billing tags so that if a resource such as a web server, is not tagged properly, the script stops the instance.
  • Permissions – The use of permissions determines how teams gain access to certain resources. For example, in AWS this is known as Identity Access Management (IAM) permissions. Using IAM, based on permissions and/or tags, teams are only allowed access to certain resources. With this, managers can keep billing secure and accurate as teams cannot change the resources of other teams/applications because they simply don’t have access.

Business leaders who need the ability to scale while keeping cloud management costs low will benefit from the aforementioned multi-tenant cloud cost management solutions. It affords them the efficiency they need while uniquely positioning them to achieve the full benefits of the cloud ecosystem.

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