Cost and Usage Reports
Cost and Usage Reports

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



The AWS Cost and Usage Reports or in short the CUR. The CUR is basically the most important thing to capture your AWS billing data. And the CUR is a pretty complex CSV file that stores all details about your cost and usage data of all AWS resources.

Enabling the CUR is super important because it's the most granular and detailed mechanism to collect data for AWS costs and usage. It offers historical by-the-hour data that can offer clarity on trends and lead to a more accurate data-driven insight. And there's no looking back. Until the CUR is enabled, you're losing valuable data about your usage that is older than 12 months.

The CUR can get really big and in large corporations, it can easily get beyond five gigabyte and more with millions over millions of lines. So let's see how to enable them.

When we are here in the AWS Management Console, we click here on the top menu on the billing dashboard and you can see here on the left menu for the Cost and Usage Report. By default it's disabled so you need to enable it, enable it first and create a report. We give it a name. Let's call it test. I would advise you to include the resource IDs because then, every resource get a unique resource ID.

You can enable the automatic refresh. Click Next and then you need to choose an S3 bucket where you put the file. This can either be existing an S3 or a new one. Then we set a path, a prefix pass task costs. You can select the time granularity here. Of course, the more granular the data are, the more data you're going to produce.

We can create new report versions or we can override the existing ones and we can choose what kind of data integration we need.

And a little side note here maybe. You can export the files for Redshift or QuickSight usage. This will change the output format of the file to be readable for either Athena or Redshift and QuickSight. See, Athena is Parquet and Redshift or QuickSight is the CSV file that comes in a, in a zip file.

With Athena, Athena is a serverless service that allows you to analyze the data stored directly in Amazon S3 using standard SQL. And for that you need, as I just mentioned, the Parquet file While with Redshift and QuickSight, you can manage to see a SWI file as you would do it also like for example, for Excel.

Redshift is a so-called data warehouse service which you would use for querying big data sets with like multiple gigabytes or even up to petabytes. It can help you take wide insights of your own environment and for customers on a very large scale. And QuickSight is a business intelligence service that can combine data from literally any source into a dashboard. It helps you to visualize for any type of audience and it is much more visually driven than Athena or Redshift.

After you set up all these options here, you can click on Next and that's basically it. You have now configured your Cost and Usage Report. But be aware that it may take up to 24 hours for the first report to be delivered. Also, expect some costs from S3 for storing the CUR data in your S3 bucket. But these costs are like very, very low. Maybe like, I don't know, a few dollars per months or per year. Depends on how big your file gets of course.

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.