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Amazon is the largest cloud infrastructure provider in the world, and it’s having to keep innovating on many fronts. It’s latest new feature: detailed billing reports that show usage by the hour to help customers control cloud costs.

Cloud services can cost your company a lot of cash if you don’t use them properly. Startups such as Newvem and Cloudability have already done a great job of starting to address this issue. Newvem has several tools, including a slick iPhone app, while Cloudability offers a variety of analytics tools for tracking costs.

Now Amazon is taking inspiration from these other player and will help its many users better understand their cloud usage. Jeff Barr, Amazon Senior Manager of Cloud Computing Solutions, writes on the company’s AWS blog:


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We’ve had a number of requests for better access to more detailed billing data. We took the first step earlier this year when we announced Programmatic Access to AWS Billing Data on this blog. That data, along with the AWS Billing Alerts, provided you with additional information about your AWS usage, along with a notification if your spending for the month exceeded a particular amount.

Today we are going a step further, providing you with new AWS Detailed Billing Reports. You now have access to new reports which include hourly line items. If you use a combination of On Demand and Reserved Instances, you will now be able to ensure that you have enough Reserved Instances to meet your capacity requirements for any given hour.

As part of this release, we are also making it easier for you to track and manage the costs associated with Reserved Instances when used in conjunction with AWS Consolidated Billing. This report provides an additional allocation model for linked accounts, with two key features — RI Affinity and Unblended Rates:

• With RI Affinity, the allocated benefit of the less expensive hourly rate for a Reserved Instance is now prioritized to the linked account that purchased the RI first.
• Currently the consolidated bill uses a blended rate (the average of On Demand, Free Usage Tier, and Reserved Instance) when allocating costs to linked accounts. The detailed billing report will continue to include blended rate and cost information, but will now be supplemented with unblended rate and cost as additional columns.

You can turn on detailed billing in Amazon on the AWS Billing Preferences page.

Newvem VP of Marketing Cameron Peron told VentureBeat via email that Newvem appreciates the new feature and thinks it will help attract steer more people to use Newvem for even deeper analytics.

“We applaud AWS’s new feature,” Peron said. “Anything that can help AWS users improve their usage is a win for AWS users, AWS, and Newvem. Cost is a function of usage … so any tool that will give users better visibility into cost structure is a great benefit and means to improve over all usage.”

Businessman looking at cloud via Shutterstock

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