Getting visibility into cloud costs across multiple providers is often not an easy task, but it could be getting just a bit easier, thanks to the OpenCost project.
The OpenCost project got its start in 2022 as an open source effort at the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) led by San Francisco-based Kubecost. Initially, the OpenCost project focused largely on helping organizations gain visibility into the costs associated with running Kubernetes. The project is now expanding significantly with the latest update, adding multicloud support and enabling OpenCost to support provider billing across Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
"Previously, OpenCost was focused entirely on Kubernetes monitoring and metrics," Webb Brown, CEO and co-founder at Kubecost, told ITPro Today. "We've always thought of those services as what's driving spend, but they rely on other cloud services that cost money too. Now, OpenCost has the capability to tie that cloud service back to Kubernetes spend in one platform."
OpenCost Provides New FOCUS for Cloud Costs
Among the new capabilities that has been added to OpenCost is support for budgeting, forecasting, alerting, and savings recommendations. The capabilities span multiple clusters and multiple clouds.
With the expansion, the open source OpenCost project now provides organizations with an open standards-based approach for managing public cloud costs across AWS, Azure, and GCP. The standard that OpenCost is supporting is the FinOps Foundation's FinOps Open Cost & Usage Specification (FOCUS) for managing cloud costs. FOCUS provides an open standard for working with cloud cost, usage, and billing data.
"It's early days for the FinOps Foundation’s FOCUS specification, but essentially OpenCost will be joining metrics from the necessary cloud, Kubernetes, and third-party APIs to pull in all the data needed for FOCUS," Brown said. "Alignment on the specification is the most challenging, but it's important to get DevOps teams and finance teams to speak the same language about infrastructure and software costs."
Enterprise Challenges for Cloud Cost Visibility and Management
While OpenCost is an open source project, Kubecost provides a commercial platform that provides additional capabilities.
Webb explained that OpenCost remains focused on real-time monitoring and visibility for cost. Kubecost handles the data layer, historical retention, governance, savings insights, and other enterprise features needed for a continuous optimization experience on top of the open core metrics pipeline.
While both OpenCost and Kubecost can help organizations with cloud cost visibility, there are often some big challenges organizations face.
"We're seeing teams increasingly using OpenCost and Kubecost to get a handle on monitoring, but automation and governance — keeping costs in line during growth phases — remain a big opportunity and focus," Webb said. "We've rolled out new advanced reports, alerting functionality, and cost-reduction automation features to help there."
About the authorSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.