Imagine plopping down your credit card to turn on compute services late at night when there's no time to get permission from your boss and then getting distracted before the weekend on another work emergency. On Monday, when you remember you signed up for the services, which you intended to use for just a short time, you discover you've racked up $5,000 in charges on your personal card.
It happens, said J.R. Storment, co-founder and chief customer officer of Cloudability, a company that hopes to make sure people don't get stuck with such bills anymore.
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Developers can use Cloudability, launching Wednesday in an open beta, to track all of their cloud services from one place and to sign up for alarms when they reach spending thresholds. The service also points out unused or underused services, specifying exactly how much money a user can spend by turning off the services.
Cloudability's offering addresses a common problem that has emerged as a result of one of the benefits of cloud services. Because cloud services like Amazon and Heroku are so easy to sign up for and start using, individual employees are doing so, often "with the personal account they also buy shoes with" and expensing the company for charges, Storment said.
"Ultimately what you have is people in these organizations signing up for these services willy-nilly, using their own credit cards," he said. Some companies using Cloudability in beta are tracking 70 different cloud accounts, he said.
Since there's no standard tracking mechanism used across the cloud services, IT administrators who want to watch spending have to log into each service separately, export data into a spreadsheet and create some kind of tracking tool, he said.
While that helps track spending, it doesn't help identify forgotten or underused services. Cloudability aims to address both of these problems.
IT administrators start using the online tool by signing up and then choosing all of the services they use. Cloudability has pulled in 81 different services and continues to add more based on those most commonly used by customers. The user then inputs all user IDs and passwords for the services.
Once all the services are inputted, Cloudability shows the user a dashboard displaying costs. A user can look at total cloud cost per month, per vendor and per account. Users can view other reports too, such as how much the company is spending on each vendor.
Users get a daily email showing how much the company spent in the past month and day and highlighting services that are spiking. Data can be downloaded into a CSV file and imported into other tracking tools the company might use.