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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tagging EC2 instances and EBS volumes

Adding this to my Amazon (Web Services) wishlist....

Optional Billing tag which can be set when an EBS volume is created or when an EC2 instance is launched

There is a lot of convenience is having a single AWS account.  It makes it easier to find running instances in the AWS Console.  It eliminates the need to share AMIs across accounts.  It obviates the need to remember (and record) multiple logins and passwords.

However, there is one big win in having multiple AWS accounts:  It makes it easier to tie the charges for one set of cloud technology (one account) to a revenue source.  And so we often have four or five different AWS accounts for the four or five different projects we have underway.

It would give me the best of both worlds if I could have my single AWS account, but then specify a special-purpose tag (say, Billing) when I provision a piece of cloud infrastructure.  This would be an optional tag that I could set I launch an instance or create a volume.  This tag would control the format and grouping of charges on my monthly AWS invoice for that account.

For example, say I launch a small instance and set the value of the Billing tag to U12345 (a made-up University of Michigan account number).  And then I launch a second one with a Billing tag of F56789.  And then in addition to the usual AWS invoice with a line item like this:

AWS Service Charges


Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
US East (Northern Virginia) Region
    Amazon EC2 running Linux/UNIX
        $0.080 per Small Instance (m1.small) instance-hour  1440 hours   $115.20

I would see an additional section:

AWS Service Charges by tag
U12345

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
US East (Northern Virginia) Region
    Amazon EC2 running Linux/UNIX
        $0.080 per Small Instance (m1.small) instance-hour  720 hours   $57.60
F56789

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
US East (Northern Virginia) Region
    Amazon EC2 running Linux/UNIX
        $0.080 per Small Instance (m1.small) instance-hour  720 hours   $57.60

This would make it easy for me to take my single invoice from Amazon and "allocate" it (a term from Concur, the system we use for managing this sort of thing) to the right internal account.

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