The CloudZero Explorer is our powerful way to view and explore your cloud bill by allowing you to filter and group your charges based on different dimensions.



The Explorer is part of our Essentials Package.

Your Cloud Bill

The AWS bill is a large data file that lists every charge you accrued. Each charge is a line item, a single line of the bill, which specifies the time period that the charge originated from as well as the service, resource and consumption type that precipitated that charge. The time period is generally one hour (it cannot be less than an hour in the AWS billing, for services that charge for granularities less than an hour, AWS will consolidate those charges for the entry onto your bill) except for some things like Taxes, Reserved Instances, etc.

So an example of a line item might be: you were charged for EC2 network costs, on February 25th from 9:00-10:00 UTC against the EC2 machine with ARN xyz, for a cost of $5.00.

If you have another cloud provider like Snowflake connected to CloudZero, line items from your bill will be treated similarly.

The CloudZero Explorer

The CloudZero Explorer is a visualization of your bill. While at first glance it may seem similar to the AWS Cost Explorer, our aim is to augment the AWS tools by giving you more context that is relevant to your business via dimensions, accessible from an interface that is simple and intuitive to use and focuses on helping you understand how your cloud costs changed over time and crucially, what is driving those costs.

Cost Graph


The main part of the Explorer shows your cost graph: a graphical representation of your cloud costs (y-axis), over a span of time (x-axis.)

The top left displays your total cost represented in the data you are viewing. Below that we represent how much the cost has changed when compared to the same filtered dimensions in the previous time period.


Key Concept: Cost of Change

Below your total cost in the upper left of the graph is an amount (displayed both in absolute and percentage change,) telling you how much your cost has changed compared to the same time period previously.

For example: If you are viewing all of your EC2 service charges for the last 7 days, CloudZero will show you how this cost compares to your EC2 service charges for the 7 days preceding that time.

Please note that the previous time period is not represented on the chart visualization!
This feature allows you to quickly understand if the data you are viewing represents an increase or decrease in spend.

Cost Types

There are seven different Cost Types which can be viewed: Billed Cost, Discounted Cost, Discounted Amortized Cost, Amortized Cost, Invoiced Amortized Cost, Real Cost, and On-Demand Cost.

Billed Cost

Billed Cost reflects the exact prices you'll be invoiced for from AWS. It is the simplest Cost Type with discounts, RI, and Savings Plan charges represented as distinct line items.

Discounted Cost

Discounted Cost is similar to Billed Cost except that any discounts are assigned to the applicable resource and operation usage charges instead of being distinct line items. This includes EDP Discounts, Private Rate Discounts, RI Volume Discounts, etc.

Discounted Amortized Cost

Discounted Amortized Cost starts with Discounted Cost but also amortizes any upfront or recurring RI and Saving Plan charges across the resources to which they apply. This amortization is based on the amount of usage and therefore reflects the effective cost, taking into account the reduced rate from RIs and SPs.


Azure Reserved Instances and Savings Plans: Discounted Cost vs. Discounted Amortized Cost

Azure manages the costs and usage for Reserved Instances and Service plans differently than other providers. Due to these differences, total amounts for Discounted Cost and Discounted Amortized Cost will not match when viewing Azure data over a given time frame. This may be caused by one or both of the following reasons:

  1. Azure only provides information about upfront purchases of RIs and SPs in the month that the purchase was made. In all subsequent months, the only visible costs for an upfront RI or SP will be the amortized usage. For example, if you fully paid upfront for a 1 year RI in March, the full upfront fee will appear in Discounted Cost when viewing March data only. There will be no purchase information when viewing April data through February. However, when viewing Discounted Amortized Cost, the amortized usage of that RI will be visible in all months from March through February.
  2. When an RI or SP is billed in monthly installments, the monthly fee is based on the full cost of the agreement divided by the number of months in the agreement while the daily amortized usage will be based on the full cost of the agreement divided by the number of days in the agreement. Therefore, the monthly fee for an RI will be the same for the months of February and July despite that the number of days in each month is different. However, the daily amortized cost of the RI will be different for each of those months.

Amortized Cost

Amortized Cost is the same as Discounted Amortized Cost but starts with Billed Cost (instead of Discounted Cost) before applying RI/SP amortization.

Invoiced Amortized Cost

Invoiced Amortized Cost is similar to Discounted Amortized Cost but only the recurring portion of RI and Saving Plan charges are amortized. This ensures that total cost for a billing period only reflects charges incurred in that billing period. Upfront RI/SP charges (either All Upfront or the upfront portion of Partial Upfront) are still represented as separate line items. This cost type is currently only supported for AWS related costs.

Real Cost

Real Cost starts with Discounted Amortized Cost, but filters it to only display charges directly related to consumption. For example, charges stemming from Taxes and Support will be taken out of this view. For the GCP provider, this total will include committed use discount credits. The purpose of this view is to allow engineering teams to understand very quickly how their cloud consumption is changing over time. This is the default view in the Explorer. Note that the cost for unused portions of RIs and SPs are not represented in this view.

On-Demand Cost

On-Demand Cost shows what one would pay for equivalent usage of a particular resource absent any special pricing, discounts, or applicable RIs or SPs. The On-Demand Cost is useful for determining the ESR (effective savings rate). For line items that don’t have an on-demand rate (taxes, fees, support, etc.) or for which the on-demand rate is unknown, the Billed Cost is used. This cost type is not currently supported for Azure related costs. Azure does not provide On-Demand pricing for all billing line items, making the results for Azure services inconsistent.


Relationship to the AWS Cost and Usage Report

If you are familiar with the AWS Cost and Usage Report is may be helpful to understand how those columns relate to Cost Types.

  • Billed Cost: equivalent to lineItem/UnblendedCost
  • Amortized Cost: a combination of lineItem/UnblendedCost, reservation/EffectiveCost, and savingsPlan/SavingsPlanEffectiveCost.
  • Discounted Cost: equivalent to lineItem/NetUnblendedCost
  • Discounted Amortized Cost: a combination of lineItem/NetUnblendedCost, reservation/NetEffectiveCost, and savingsPlan/NetSavingsPlanEffectiveCost. In some cases this may also include additional discounts not reflected in lineItem/NetUnblendedCost
  • Invoiced Amortized Cost: a combination of lineItem/NetUnblendedCost, reservation/NetRecurringFeeForUsage, and the recurring portion of savingsPlan/NetSavingsPlanEffectiveCost. The recurring portion of the SP cost is determined from savingsPlan/NetAmortizedUpfrontCommitmentForBillingPeriod and savingsPlan/NetRecurringCommitmentForBillingPeriod. In some cases this may also include additional discounts not reflected in lineItem/NetUnblendedCost
  • Real Cost: same as Discounted Amortized Cost but filtered to "usage" line item types (see lineItem/LineItemType).
  • On-Demand Cost: pricing/publicOnDemandCost for any line item that matches the Real Cost filter (usage types, excluding Support). For all other cases, or if the pricing/publicOnDemandCost is NULL or 0, then lineItem/UnblendedCost.

Changing the Time Period

In the upper right you can pick new time periods to view. You can pick several pre-canned common views (last 3 days, last 7 days, last 30 days), or pick a custom range of dates to view. You can also change between different time granularities on the graph, picking from options like hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly.

Filtering and Grouping your Cloud Spend

Most organizations' cloud bills are large enough that looking at them in totality makes it very difficult to answer most questions. A key goal of CloudZero is to help you understand what groups of resources are driving the charges and changes in those charges over time. To do that much of this page helps you organize the data in ways to explore it and then "zoom in" to parts of your bill, by filtering to the things you care about.


Key Concept: Cost Dimension

CloudZero takes your cloud cost data in and standardizes it to our cost data model. Each cloud cost charge has different dimensions. A cost dimension is a way to break your cost up into different buckets.

A classic cost dimension is "AWS Services" - you may want to see your cost last month broken up by which services cost what. For example, your $100,000 monthly bill might be broken up into EC2 costs of $80,000 and S3 costs of $20,000. Without changing the overall cost, you could also see that same number broken up into AWS account groupings, with $90,000 cost in your production account and $10,000 cost in your R&D account.

Note that those two dimensions describe the same data, so you could further explore the data by looking at the cost (and corresponding resources), that are from the EC2 service and in the production account. You would do that by setting two filters, one for Services and one for Accounts to those corresponding values.

To view your cloud cost by a different dimension, you can select a new dimension on the "Group By" dropdown in the row of controls for this page.

To set a filter and only view costs that match that filter, you have two choices, either using our filter expression builder or clicking within the cost table.

Filter Expression Builder

To begin, click the "Add" button to create a new filter expression.


Then, choose a dimension to filter on.


From here, you can change the operator from 'is' to 'is not', 'contains' (case-sensitive), or 'does not contain' (case-sensitive), or select the values you'd like to add to the filter expression. Currently, only one search term is accepted for 'contains' and 'does not contain'.


The other way to set a filter is to click on an element in the table below the graph, which will set a filter to that element.

Cost Table


Below the cost graph is a table displaying information about what groups of charges or resources go into the cost represented in the chart. As above (see Cost of Change), the table defaults to showing which elements of the dimension your spend is grouped by are the most expensive in this time period compared to the previous time period.

You can click on any of the column headers to sort the data based on that column.

Investigating Costs

When looking at a costs in the explorer you can drill down into specific areas to investigate your costs more closely. Clicking on a cost dimension element in the first column will refine your cost data by setting a filter to that element. When the cost table reloads, you will only see costs related to the element that you selected and the costs will be grouped by a related cost dimension. You can continue to drill down in the explorer by clicking on other elements. Eventually the cost table will show your costs grouped by resources.

When looking at your costs by resource, you can click on a resource name in the first column it will bring you to the resource detail page for that resource.


Related Cost Dimension for Custom Dimensions

For custom dimensions, the related cost dimension can be defined as part of the custom dimension definition by setting the Child property. See Defining a Custom Dimension for more information.

Selecting a View


The explorer lets you easily select a View. This will set the active Group By to the View's Principal Dimension and apply the View's Filter. This provides an easy way to access the value of your Views within the Explorer.