It's really cheap to spin up a single VM in a cloud like the one operated by Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The burn comes when that VM goes live, starts to clock up some usage, spawns an extra CPU or four and starts to suck in and spew out data. At that point you'll also need a cloudy load balancer and firewall. And not long afterwards, the cloud can turn into a blast of superheated steam pointed straight at the bottom line.
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El Reg has heard this sad story more than once, and so it appears (belatedly) has AWS, which has just launched a budgeting and forecasting tool.
Taking its name from the make-it-obvious school of marketing, AWS has called the tool AWS Budgets and Forecasts.
In a blog post from AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr, the company says it's a “broad array of cost management tools” as a supplement for last year's Cost Explorer tool.
The new tool is coming out of private beta with “over a dozen large-scale AWS customers”, the outfit says.
Users can set up monthly budgets for their AWS costs, using “multiple dimensions”, with the example that users could “create budgets to track EC2, RDS and S3 costs separately for each active development effort”.
There's also features like notifications if the actuals reach 80 per cent of the budget cost for a given period.
The updated Forecasts tool is based on an algorithm used by AWS teams to predict demand, and gives users cost estimates to 80 or 95 per cent confidence intervals.
All of which should make you a bit more comfortable that the cloud won't vaporise your IT budget while your back is turned. Which is just what AWS needs you to think before you sign up for that first, ever-so-easy-to-create server. ®