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The Kubernetes Cost Features You Need in 2024

In the rapidly evolving Kubernetes ecosystem, managing costs effectively is as critical as ensuring operational efficiency. To make the most of your shift to cloud native technologies in 2024, you need a roadmap to Kubernetes cost optimization, including how to right-size resources, centralize cost management, align teams, and eliminate wasted cloud spend. For platform engineering and development teams, that means getting a better understanding of cloud costs across multiple clusters and teams. So what Kubernetes cost features do you need to manage K8s cloud usage more effectively in the year ahead while still ensuring reliability and security?


  1. Use actual cloud spend and workload usage to analyze historical costs across clusters, aggregations, and time periods

  2. Evaluate your applications individually to find opportunities to reduce costs without negatively impacting application performance

  3. Maximize your CPU and memory utilization by setting resource requests and limits appropriately

  4. Report Kubernetes usage costs to the finance team, broken down by dev team and application

  5. Analyze cluster capacity and usage across multiple clusters

  6. Integrate with cloud provider’s building to calculate Kubernetes costs by workload, namespace, or label to improve cost analysis

  7. Improve Quality of Service (QoS) controls to improve efficiency and performance

Centralize Kubernetes Cost Management

Centralizing the management of Kubernetes costs is the first step toward creating effective financial oversight in K8s environments. To make informed decisions about what’s working (or not working), you need a clear, unified view of cloud spend. This allows teams across your organization to see the big picture of Kubernetes spending and gain insight into the costs of individual apps and services, helping devs make decisions that optimize cloud spend. Centralized cost management ensures that you can quickly identify and address discrepancies and possible overspending.

Align Costs Across Teams

In an ephemeral, cloud-native environment, different teams may have their own unique approaches to resource usage, leading to inconsistencies in overall cost management. Standardizing cost management practices across teams ensures a unified approach, reducing the risk of budget overruns and fostering a self-service culture that includes financial visibility and accountability.

Minimize Kubernetes Cost Waste

Excessive or inefficient resource utilization is one of the most common sources of wasted cloud spend in Kubernetes environments. Look for tools that identify underutilized resources to significantly reduce your costs, such as Goldilocks. Goldilocks is an open source tool that helps you set your resource requests and limits correctly.

Optimize K8s Costs Across Clusters

As organizations increasingly adopt Kubernetes, most start operating multiple Kubernetes clusters. And as the number of clusters grows, it becomes more important than ever to understand and optimize the cost of each cluster. To do this, you need to analyze cluster usage, identify over or under-provisioned clusters, and adjust your resource allocation accordingly to deliver optimal cost efficiency.

Allocate Workload Cost 

Tracking costs at a granular level, including workload-specific analysis, is the key to accurate cost allocation. Providing a detailed view allows your dev teams and organization to understand where cloud spend is going — and which workloads are the most resource-intensive. This enables more informed budgeting decisions.

Optimize Kubernetes Costs 

Assessing the cost efficiency of individual applications and workloads is a key component of Kubernetes cost optimization. You can achieve this by evaluating whether resources are being used effectively and then making adjustments. Using solutions that deliver accurate, up-to-date data can help you reduce costs without compromising application performance.

Rightsize Kubernetes Workloads

Rightsizing involves adjusting your CPU and memory resources allocation to match the actual usage requirements of your applications. This can not only improve overall efficiency but also help you ensure that your apps have the resources required to perform optimally. Rightsizing can help you avoid both overprovisioning (and therefore waste spend) and potential performance problems (resulting in frustrated users of your app or service).

Implement Cost Showback in Kubernetes

Cost showback requires reporting usage costs back to the teams or departments responsible for building and maintaining the apps and services consuming the cloud spend. The transparency provided by cost showbacks encourages accountability, helping teams understand their impact on the overall budget and motivating them to optimize resource usage as needed.

Analyze Multi-Cluster Cost and Usage

Analyzing the cost and usage of multiple clusters provides insights into overall spending patterns, including the cost of idle resources and the efficiency of node scaling. This level of analysis is critical if your organization is seeking to optimize cloud spend in your Kubernetes environments across multiple operational areas.

Integrate Cloud Billing

Integrating cloud billing data ensures that your cloud cost calculations are based on actual usage, providing more accurate and in-depth visibility into expenses. This integration is a key way that you can align Kubernetes spending with overall business goals.

Quality of Service and Cost Controls

Balancing cost optimization with quality of service (QoS) is essential because QoS determines how pods are scheduled and evicted (Kubernetes assigns the QoS class to pods). 

Implementing controls and recommendations for application right-sizing (using Goldilocks or Fairwinds Insights) are another way that you can ensure that cost savings do not come at the expense of application performance and reliability.

Adopt the FinOps Framework

All of these cost features can help you manage your Kubernetes costs and tie directly to adopting a FinOps approach. This aligns financial management with the dynamic nature of cloud computing. A FinOps framework encourages continuous optimization and financial responsibility, helping your organization make the most of its Kubernetes investment. With the right solutions in place, FinOps can: 

  • Enable teams to take ownership of Kubernetes cloud usage

  • Make data-driven decisions even in ephemeral environments

  • Leverage the autoscaling capabilities of Kubernetes to meet demand without incurring excessive cloud costs

If your organization is looking to enhance its Kubernetes cost management, adopting these practices can help you optimize workloads, balancing cost with performance and security to build a sustainable cloud native future.

Fairwinds Insights can help you rightsize container workloads, automate security, simplify compliance, and ensure compliance by automating policy enforcement. Get started today!