AWS Taps Kubecost to Help Rein in EKS Costs

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is making available a cost monitoring tool for Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS) based on a tool created by Kubecost at no additional charge.

Alex Thilen, head of business development at Kubecost, said while AWS customers can track their approximate costs using AWS cost and usage reports, the Kubecost tools more accurately track Kubernetes costs by namespace, cluster, labels or pod.

Kubecost is built on OpenCost, an open source software project that is now being overseen by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). It enables IT teams to allocate costs by applications to either chargeback or showback the cost of the Kubernetes infrastructure being consumed by specific applications.

The challenge with allocating Kubernetes costs is that the dynamic nature of container application environments requires a tool that is specifically optimized for collecting data via Kubernetes application programming interfaces (APIs), says Thilen. Since the clusters are increasingly running multiple applications, tracking costs has become a bigger issue, he adds. In contrast, legacy applications are tied to specific virtual machines that are easier to track.

In the wake of the economic downturn, there is naturally a lot more interest in the cost of cloud infrastructure. Organizations may not necessarily be looking to reduce the overall size of their cloud bills as much as they are trying to gain a predictable understanding of how much funding to allocate for Kubernetes infrastructure.

The primary issue that OpenCost addresses, of course, is overprovisioning of Kubernetes infrastructure. Out of an abundance of caution, many developers will overprovision infrastructure to ensure maximum application performance, The issue that creates is that much of that infrastructure goes unused; costs rise steadily as each new Kubernetes cluster is provisioned. Kubecost estimates organizations can reduce Kubernetes-related cloud spending by 60% to 80% without impacting application performance.

Many enterprise IT organizations take advantage of cloud service providers’ contracts that guarantee discounted pricing if they run a certain number of workloads per month but there is still a need to track costs by individual business units. IT teams are also typically evaluated by how well they can control costs by optimizing the consumption of cloud resources.

Overall, finance teams are asking tougher questions about IT spending than they did at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when the primary focus was shifting as many workloads to the cloud as possible. The challenge today is organizations simply lack visibility into cloud costs until a bill is presented at the end of the month. By that time, it’s too late to change the outcome.

Developers in the cloud era have not typically been all that concerned about costs. As centralized IT teams take more control of the cloud, the lack of cost-containment discipline has become more apparent. It may take some time, however, for developers to get used to that new reality. In the meantime, everyone should expect a lot more scrutiny of cloud bills in the months ahead.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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