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.

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.

Right on the chart you can can toggle between Real Cost and Billed Cost.


Key Concept: Real Cost

The Explorer defaults to a view that CloudZero calls "Real Cost." Real Cost filters your bill to only display charges directly related to consumption. So for example, charges stemming from Taxes and Support costs will be taken out of this view. The purpose of this view is to allow engineering teams to understand very quickly how their AWS cloud consumption is changing over time.

Billed Cost on the other hand should reflect the exact prices you'll be invoiced for from AWS.

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 on the top right of this page.

To set a filter and only view costs that match that filter, you have two choices. First you can pull out the Filter menu on the right by clicking the "Filters" button on the top right. In that menu you can search for any dimension and select one or more dimension elements to filter to.

The second 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 you 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.

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