A common concern for a lot of clients using AWS as their hosting solution provider, is the variable invoices they get each month. Most organization appropriate fixed budget for hosting and this may impact their planning adversely. Keeping an eye on the budget manually is both cumbersome and prone to human error. So is their a solution to this problem? Thankfully yes. Our newest client using AWS had the cap limit of $1000 as their hosting budget. In order to avoid tipping over and also to avoid the manual labor of having to check the bill till date each day, we used the AWS in built mechanism to set alerts for the billing.
AWS provides 2 separate monitoring mechanism where you can set up the billing threshold limit.
OPTION 1: Budgets. This is a newer feature in AWS.
Step 1: Login to your AWS console as the user with billing rights.
Step 2: Go to the Budgets section
Step 3: Create a budget
For this use case, we only wanted to set up alert for the COST for the current ongoing month. We wanted to be notified if the forecasted cost is greater that $700. In case that threshold limit is reached, notifications will be sent over email to the target audience in the Email field. Once we receive those notifications, our system-admins and our solution architect get in to inspect/review the resource utilization and make appropriate decisions based on the client feedback.
As you see you could also set up alerts for the USAGE of your instances or the RI UTILIZATION. RI refers to the Reserved Instance Utilization. If you have any reserved instances in your account, you could set up alerts to be sent if the Utilization drops below a threshold limit.
Read more here.
P.S: You can create up to 20000 budget per account. The first 2 are free but the subsequent are charges up to $0.02/day which is about 60cents per month. (Pretty reasonable I think 😛 )
OPTION 2: Billing dashboard alert and Cloud Watch
STEP 1: Go to the billing dashboard
Step 2: Click on “Enable now” under the Alerts and Notification section
Step 3: Check on the Receive Billing alerts checkbox
P.S: Once enabled you cannot disable this preference. You can however delete all your associated alerts.
Step 4: Click on Manage Billing alerts visible in the previous step. This will take you to the CloudWatch service of AWS which is primarily responsible for setting up monitoring and notifications.
Step: Create Billing Alarms as needed
I hope this helps in you being proactive about your AWS bills than being reactive.