Bills and Cost Drivers


AWS Cost Management Tools
6m 51s

The course is part of this learning path

Bills and Cost Drivers

This course looks at the various tools in AWS that can be used to explore your cloud expenses and obtain detailed information about what causes them. We'll also look at how to identify costs use AWS to make a forecast based on the previous usage.

You'll learn how to visualize those numbers, in case you need to present and explain them. We will look at cost management best practices and how you can implement them in your own environments! This course is full of demonstrations from the AWS environment to ensure that you are able to use the services covered in the lectures.

Learning Objectives

  • Use the billing dashboard to monitor costs
  • Learn about AWS credits
  • Learn how to use the Cost Explorer to perform cost analysis
  • Understand how to produce cost and usage reports
  • Learn how creating a budget in AWS can help you manage your costs

Intended Audience

This course is intended for anyone who wants to learn about the tools available in AWS to manage cloud running costs.


To get the most out of this course you should already have a basic understanding of the AWS platform and its main services.


If you have any feedback relating to this course, please contact us at



Welcome to the first live demo. As you can see here we are in the AWS Management Console. The most fundamental part is to get a good overview of the environment. Therefore you have to get a broad view of all the services, usage, and expenses from the past, and the present.

To set a base for our analysis, we first need to get some numbers. For this we will be using the billing dashboard which is also our main platform for gathering information on expenses. We will deal a lot with the billing and cost management dashboard alongside but the very first thing I like to investigate when I start with an unfamiliar account or environment is to check the last bills.

So to get there, you can either type bill here in the search field to get straight to the billing service or you can just go here over the menu to the billing dashboard. Here, you get a good first overview what is going on in your account. What are the most expensive services? How much have you spent so far? And what is the forecast? The forecast to the current month. But we will talk about this later.

So first thing here is the bill section here on the left side. I wanna get to overview from the last month, how much we spent last month and what were the biggest cost drivers. So as we are currently in January 2021, I go one month back to December 2020, here from the dropdown menu. And as you can see, I have a total amount, how much we spent last month.

I have like different information about taxes and payment summaries. And I can also get a CSV file from my whole bill or just printed as a PDF. So as you can see here we are in a master payer account, that means we're using AWS Organizations which enables us to link other accounts to this account.

So all the costs that are caused by the under linked accounts are covered by this account that are collected here. You can see there are many accounts but let's focus on this overview here. So what I wanna get here is the first overview. What are the most expensive services, or like what are the biggest cost drivers.

You can see we're spending like small amounts, like compared to the total we're spending small amounts on like different services. For example, here $34 for the API Gateway or 91 for CloudFront. As this is like just like a very very small percentage of our total amount, it would make no sense or like almost no sense to dive into deeper analysis here for CloudFront. It just would make no sense because like the amounts are here so small and this makes also like our whole analysis much easier because we know the only thing we have to focus is Elastic Compute Cloud because this is the biggest cost driver in this case. And when we go here, we can see, okay, we're using like quite a lot of regions here.

So my first question would be, why do we need so many regions? And as you probably know, the regions in Asia are way more expensive than for example, the regions in Northern Virginia. So my first question would be, why do we have all these different regions? And as you can see this is like just my thinking process, how I would approach such an analysis or such an optimization process but we will talk about this later in detail. Let's go through the next section.

About the Author

Oliver Gehrmann is a FinOps Consultant and CEO of kreuzwerker Frankfurt, a German consulting firm with a strong focus on AWS, software engineering, and cloud financial management. He's worked in IT for over 10 years, facilitating the migration from physical servers in data centers to modern cloud infrastructures.
He and his team have experienced first-hand that costs in the cloud are becoming more and more of a challenge when about 2.5 years ago more and more customers approached them with this topic. Costs ran out of control and could not be addressed to business values.
Since that time, we have worked extensively on the topic of cloud financial management and have already been able to save our customers many millions of dollars. He now shares this knowledge in order to help others.