aws consolidated billing
Monday, December 05th 2016 by Kirill Bensonoff
AWS consultants and AWS resellers are aware of the term consolidated billing, which Amazon Web Services uses in order enable resellers to earn a commissions, or to help enterprises break out their departments for billing and chargebacks. Consolidated billing method is used by AWS Reseller partners, MSPs, SI’s and others who use multiple accounts and want to save time and take advantage of the flexibility through consolidating billing options.

Consolidated Billing takes advantage of Detailed Billing Reports, which are CSV reports generated at the Payer level, with various details (will be covered below), containing information about your accounts, your linked accounts, tags, blended and unblended costs, marketplace, and more.

To best way to take full advantage of Amazon Web Services is to thoroughly understand its’ functionality. AWS continues to improve Consolidated Billing option, which allows you to make payments for various AWS accounts within your company, tracking and allocating costs, and bill for resold AWS accounts, as well as bill for AWS Marketplace, using a flexible, importable report structure.

In order to utilize (at the Payer level) Consolidated Billing, you must enable Detailed Billing Reports (DBR) within your AWS account. Here are the kinds of DBRs available, and what they contain:

Manage AWS accounts screenshot

Monthly report – contains billing data, grouped by product, in a monthly time grain

Detailed Billing Report – billing data grouped by product, with an hourly time grain

Cost Allocation Report – grouped by tag, in a monthly time grain

Detailed Billing Report with Resources and Tags – grouped by resource ID, with tags, in an hourly time grain. This report has the most details, and is the largest in size.

AWS Consolidated Billing Use Cases

1) One solution for multiple accounts: Consolidated billing enables you to make payments for all your accounts by a single monthly invoice, with a detailed combined report for each AWS account.

2) Cost allocation: With proper tagging, it’s possible to use DBR’s to allocate costs across different departments or use cases.

3) Multiple account management: It allows you to tie multiple accounts together into groups and pay only once for all the accounts you manage.

4) Reseller Billing: Billing for AWS usage is not trivial. Consolidated Billing doesn’t always make it easy, but it does provide the mechanism for allowing AWS Resellers to bill their customers correctly, allocate reservations and more.

5) Reserved Instance Allocation: DBRs can help you allocate RI’s across your customers or departments.

Here is how to set Consolidated Billing in AWS:

Manage AWS accounts screenshot

1) Sign up for consolidated billing via AWS management console and click on the Consolidated Billing.

2) Click Send Request button to send a request.

3) The owner of the Linked Account has to login and approve the request.

Before you sign up for consolidated billing in AWS you should learn some basic concepts which will help you utilize the entire feature in a safe and correct manner:

1) Blended Costs: treats all of the consolidated bills as one “family”, blends reservations and other discounts across all family accounts.

2) Unblended Costs: doesn’t blend the discounts.

3) Reserved Instances. Services such as RDS or EC2 utilize this feature and sell reserved capacity for future use, giving you discounts of 30%+ on AWS pricing.

AWS consolidated billing helps organizations better manage AWS spend, allocate and lower cost, and bill back for AWS consumption. Here are some potential use cases for consolidated billing in AWS:

For Startups and Developers: What is my monthly spend, figure out if its correct, and see any potential cost savings opportunities. Are my developers turning things off?

For Mid-Market: What is the cost per department? How do I do charge-backs?

For Enterprises: How much capacity do I need to reserve? Find out how much each reserved instance is costing.

For Resellers, SI’s and CSPs: Bill customers based on blended on unblended cost. Figure out markups, assign Reserved Instances to specific accounts. Bill back for Marketplace and SaaS usage.

How Do I Bill for AWS Consumption?

In a few steps, our cloud management solution, Unigma, can simplify the billing process by creating a New AWS Billing Report – you can name it, choose its frequency, choose data range and bill type (summary or detailed) and additional info that will appear on the bill.

Cloud Billing Report Unigma

Next, you have to select the Customer to Bill and the cloud accounts, then you need to configure the AWS options using few additional steps:

Cloud Billing Report Unigma extra

There are also a number of additional AWS billing options available, such as ability to suppress reseller discount, ability to choose blended or unblended rates, and other options.
For more related information, you can watch this video or get in touch with our dedicated support team.

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