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You Can Now Accurately Measure Application Costs on Kubernetes Using Your AWS Bill

Why measure costs in Kubernetes?

As a fast growing startup, we needed a way to better understand the cost of our microservices, especially as customers began adopting various features of Fairwinds Insights. Step one wasn’t actually measuring cost just yet; instead, we developed our open source tool, Goldilocks, to ensure our workloads were properly configured with the right CPU and memory allocations. This step was critical in guaranteeing we weren’t over or under provisioning resources to our most used microservices.

Once we had our requests and limits set, we found our traditional cloud cost tools did not provide a breakdown by Kubernetes workload, namespace or label. This realization made it difficult to understand which microservices or features were driving the most resource utilization in the cluster—and whether or not those features were profitable for us.

In our customer and community conversations, we realized we weren’t alone. We developed a Kubernetes Cost Allocation feature within Fairwinds Insights, allowing us to configure a blended price per hour for the nodes powering our cluster. With that information, and tracking actual pod and resource utilization using Prometheus metrics, we were able to generate a relative cost of our workloads. This move helped us track our cloud spend, while also determining which features were impacting cost.

Platform engineering teams, especially those who have embraced Kubernetes service ownership, were also asked about the cost of individual teams and products. These requests ultimately come from finance leaders who need visibility into the marginal cost of running different products. Service owners can also use this information to make their own decisions about resource utilization—and find ways to save resources and cost along the way.

Billing-level Accuracy for AWS customers

Accurate Kubernetes cost allocation becomes increasingly complex when Kubernetes is used as a multi-tenant / share computing environment. Different teams may use different node types, and workloads are constantly changing, making the price per hour of a node a moving target. 

We’re excited to announce that Fairwinds Insights now supports AWS billing integration, allowing teams to use their real cloud bill for calculating costs by workload, namespace or label. With labels, platform engineering teams can “slice-and-dice” accurate workload costs by multiple business dimensions, satisfying the needs of service owners and finance without questioning the underlying node pricing assumptions. 

You can tour Fairwinds Insights via our sandbox environment, read our documentation or start a trial for Insights at any time.  

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