AKS Cost Analysis: an Azure-native cost visibility experience built on the OpenCost project

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This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Tech Community - Latest Blogs - .

With containers becoming the new normal for cloud operations, the adoption of Kubernetes, by cloud native and enterprise organizations alike, continues to skyrocket. The 2022 CNCF Annual Survey touts Kubernetes as “the ‘operating system’ of the cloud,” as it has become the platform for running almost any kind of workload. Cost optimization, however, continues to be a top challenge for organizations regardless of their level of maturity and experience adopting Kubernetes.


Organizations are looking for ways to reduce cloud spend, but without cost visibility and allocation tooling it is difficult to know where to start and what to optimize. In the 2023 State of FinOps Survey, cost allocation remained the #1 most prioritized FinOps capability by practitioners. Additionally, “creating visibility and transparency to cloud costs” was the most popular initiative organizations use to establish a FinOps culture for 71% of respondents.


Why is cost visibility so important?

Visibility into Kubernetes cluster resource costs is vital to achieve the following:

  • Cost allocation – ensure costs are attributed to the right teams, so they are aware and accountable. Accountability helps drive effective cost management.
  • Optimization opportunities – pinpoint high spend clusters and resources that may require additional or better management. This is a jumping off point for implementing other Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) cost management best practices to right size clusters and workloads.
  • Anomaly detection – proactively identify anomalous or inconsistent spending patterns. Early detection will prevent unanticipated overspending.

Ultimately, increased transparency into what makes up a cluster’s cost can help your organization have a better understanding and approach to managing costs.


Introducing the AKS Cost Analysis add-on

To solve the cost visibility challenge, we are excited to announce the preview of the AKS Cost Analysis add-on, an Azure native experience that enables granular breakdown of AKS cluster costs. This add-on is built on the OpenCost project and available for Standard and Premium tier AKS clusters at no additional cost. Cost allocation data is reported directly in the Azure Portal.


AKS is the first Azure service to provide service-specific cost drill downs. What does this mean for customers? Azure Cost Management will now offer Kubernetes-specific views in the Cost Analysis UI to show cost allocation of AKS cluster infrastructure resources (ex: VMSS, public IPs, disks, etc.) by Kubernetes specific constructs like cluster and namespace. This added granularity will help organizations understand exactly how much individual applications cost and which clusters or applications need optimization.


Shared costs such as idle, system reserved, and service SLA costs, which typically can’t be apportioned to a specific namespace are also reported. This gives organizations the flexibility to allocate shared costs in the way that works best for their scenario – proportionally, by fixed percentage, uniformly etc.


Here is a sneak peek of the new UI views:



New Kubernetes Cluster view.



New Kubernetes Namespaces view.



New Kubernetes Assets view.


AKS Cost Analysis is built on OpenCost for node and container usage metrics collection. OpenCost is an open-source, vendor-neutral CNCF sandbox project and FinOps Certified Solution with original code provided by Kubecost. Microsoft has contributed to the project and works closely with the OpenCost maintainers to ensure project compatibility for this implementation. If you are looking to get involved with OpenCost or have questions about the project, check out the project on GitHub, join the #opencost channel in the CNCF Slack, and attend the community meetings. Thank you OpenCost team and community!


Where can I learn more?

Stay tuned for more information on the AKS Cost Analysis add-on at Microsoft Ignite 2023 (November 14 – 17). Keep an eye out for an Azure update.


For questions, please join us at the Microsoft Azure booth at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2023. We will have a demo at our booth on Tuesday, November 7th at 2:45pm Central Time.


We will also be at the Microsoft Azure booth at Ignite 2023. Hope to see you there!


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