Amazon AWS or how to run up the company credit card without noticing
We have been recently doing a fair amount of prototyping and development with Amazon EC2, as the cost of hosting additional ESX servers and disk in our colo has been an exercise in power cost control to stay within our rack quotas.
Last year we looked into moving many of our services to Amazon EC2, but it didn't take long for our finance guy to ask questions about new charges to the amazon bill in his name. To our surprise we had been billed for images that everyone else thought was due to another team but instead was a left over project doing nothing. We looked at the usage reports and they seem to make no sense apart from lots of activity. Later we were asked to predict how much a new project we were proposing was going to cost. Everyone looked at each other, trying to guess how much server usage was required. Trying the amazon calculator gave some costs that just didn't make any sense, they were way too high.
Finding out that other people had some of the same issues we have extended our virtualization management center to have an amazon billing analysis mode. Its free and available at http://awswatch.spikesource.com Just by logging in you will see your previous bill mapped to the usage reports, predict your current burn rate and you can even create alerts to be notified on costs spikes, for example if the daily burn rate is over normal usage or if your burn rate will exceed last months cost.