Visualize Costs Demo

The course is part of this learning path

Visualize Costs Demo

This course explores how to visualize your costs in AWS and share them with others. We'll look at some of the tools you can use for this purpose, including the AWS Billing Service, AWS Cost and Usage Reports (CURs), AWS Glue, Amazon Athena, and Amazon QuickSight. You'll follow with guided demonstrations from the AWS platform showing you how to use these services.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to visualize your AWS costs
  • Get a practical understanding of how to use the AWS Billing Service, AWS Cost and Usage Reports (CURs), AWS Glue, Amazon Athena, and Amazon QuickSight

Intended Audience

This course is intended for anyone who wants to understand the tools available for visualizing costs in AWS


This course is beginner-friendly, however, to get the most out of it, it would be useful to have some knowledge of cost optimization theory, cloud & finance-related terminology, and a basic understanding of AWS Athena, AWS Glue, Amazon Quicksight, and SQL commands.


Doing a good job at managing costs always means delivering some sort of visualization. Either for presentation purposes or to gain a better visibility and understanding of your numbers for yourself, visualizations will help to bring your costs into context. The most obvious way to visualize costs is an invoice or bill. In AWS, you can see your bills in the AWS Billing Service under the tab named Bills in the list on the left-hand side. 

The bill shows either costs grouped by services or by the account in charge. It gets pretty deep into detail, covering usage hours and showing you cost uncured in the respective region. Since all regions at AWS can have slightly different prices. Anyway, such a bill can get pretty large really quick and requires a certain level of knowledge of all the services to make use of it.

We are looking for something easier, though, something with more visuals, something like the AWS Cost Explorer. If you're used to working with AWS, you most likely will use the Cost Explorer if you want to check your expenses.

Now, this tool brings you lots of insights and is extraordinarily adjustable when it comes to displaying costs. But its downside is that it gets hard for you to showcase what you can see to others, as you can't really export or share the view of the Cost Explorer in an appropriate way. Similar to bills, you can export the numbers as a CSV file and view them in spreadsheet software like Microsoft Office or Google Sheets. But when you do so, you lose all the visualization, so it kind of loses its purpose.

The Cost Explorer in general lacks versatility when it comes to custom settings. Even though you can use a bunch of different filters and options, it's tiresome to recreate your settings. Besides that, there are lots of other limitations, and that is why we will have a look at some fully-fledged business analytics tools, namely Amazon Athena and QuickSight.

Before that, however, we need to learn about AWS Cost and Usage Reports, as these are the core for any cost analytics we could possibly carry out in AWS.

About the Author

Heinrich Marks and is a FinOps Consultant at kreuzwerker Frankfurt GmbH, Germany. His expertise lies in AWS cost optimization and FinOps methodology at the enterprise level. 
At kreuzwerker, we focus on AWS, Software Engineering, and Cloud Financial Management. We've faced many cases with our customers where costs in the cloud got out of hand and lost touch with the actual business values. This made us work harder on solutions and find ways to master financial management in the cloud. 
Over time, we have already been able to save our customers many millions of dollars. Moreover, we are also proud partners of the FinOps Foundation and the leading professionals in Germany. Today, we want to share this knowledge with you and spread more awareness on the topic!