June 18, 2024

Shifting Left: Cloud Cost Observability for DevOps

8 min read

Shifting Left: Cloud Cost Observability for DevOps
Shifting Left: Cloud Cost Observability for DevOps
Shifting Left: Cloud Cost Observability for DevOps

Understanding Cloud Cost Observability

Defining Cloud Cost Observability

Cloud cost observability refers to the ability to debug, control, and govern cloud expenses in real-time. It encompasses the tools and practices that allow teams to gain deep insight into their cloud spending patterns, identify inefficiencies, and take proactive measures to manage and reduce expenses. For DevOps and FinOps teams, cloud cost observability is essential for ensuring that cloud resources are used most effectively.

Importance in the Context of DevOps and FinOps

For DevOps teams, cloud cost observability provides the visibility needed to align operational performance with budgetary constraints. It helps engineers pinpoint inefficiencies, understand the financial impact of architectural decisions, and foster a culture of accountability around cloud cost management. 

Similarly, FinOps teams benefit from enhanced transparency and control over cloud expenditures, enabling them to collaborate more effectively with engineering teams to manage budgets and forecast future costs.

The Shift Left Movement in DevOps

What is Shifting Left?

"Shifting left" is a practice in DevOps that involves integrating tasks earlier in the development lifecycle. This approach emphasizes proactive measures, such as testing, security checks, and now cost observability, to identify and resolve issues before they escalate. By shifting left, teams can address potential problems sooner, leading to more efficient and cost-effective applications and services.

Incorporating Cloud Cost Observability Earlier

Incorporating cost observability early in the software delivery lifecycle ensures financial considerations are naturally embedded into the decision-making process for product and engineering teams. This proactive approach helps DevOps and FinOps teams to:

  • Detect cost anomalies and inefficiencies early

  • Optimize resource allocation based on cost data

  • Reduce the risk of budget overruns

  • Improve overall financial accountability

Benefits of Shifting Cloud Cost Management Left

Improved Efficiency and Resource Allocation

By addressing cost management issues early, teams can make more informed decisions about resource allocation. This leads to better utilization of cloud resources, minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency. Early cost observability also enables teams to adjust their usage patterns based on real-time cost data, ensuring that resources are allocated where they are needed most.

Early Detection and Resolution of Cost Issues

Shifting left allows teams to identify and resolve cost-related issues before they become significant problems. By continuously monitoring and analyzing cloud expenses, teams can spot anomalies, investigate their root causes, recommend improvements, and implement corrective measures promptly. This proactive approach helps in maintaining budgetary control and preventing unexpected cost spikes.

Cloud Cost Debugging and Troubleshooting

Introduction to Cloud Cost Debugging

Cloud cost debugging involves identifying and resolving issues related to cloud spending. It is crucial for maintaining financial efficiency and preventing cost overruns. By understanding where and why costs are incurred, teams can take corrective actions to optimize their cloud infrastructure.

Techniques for Effective Cost Debugging

Effective cost debugging requires a combination of strategies and tools. Here are some key techniques:

Role of DevOps and SRE Teams

DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) teams play a critical role in ensuring cost efficiency within cloud environments. These teams are responsible for:

  • Using cost data to identify anomalies: Regularly monitor cost data to spot unexpected spikes or trends.

  • Integrating cost metrics with monitoring tools: Use tools like AWS CloudWatch or Azure Monitor to correlate cost data with service and infrastructure performance metrics.

  • Tagging for more accurate cost allocation: Ensure resources are properly tagged for accurate cost allocation, tracking, and budgeting.

These techniques help teams to pinpoint cost issues accurately and implement solutions that optimize spending.

Cloud Cost Governance

Defining Cloud Cost Governance

Cloud cost governance involves establishing policies and practices to manage cloud expenses effectively. It ensures all cloud-related activities align with the organization's financial goals, departmental budgets, and general compliance requirements.

Implementing Cost Governance Frameworks

To implement an effective cost governance framework, consider the following steps:

  • Develop clear policies: Define guidelines for cloud usage, cost allocation, and resource provisioning.

  • Assign roles and responsibilities: Ensure that specific individuals or teams are accountable for cost management.

  • Establish regular audits: Conduct periodic reviews to ensure compliance with cost policies and identify areas for improvement.

Role of Automation in Cost Governance

Automation plays a critical role in maintaining effective cloud cost governance. By leveraging tools such as AWS Trusted Advisor or Google Cloud's Cost Management, or Amnic to monitor all clouds at once, organizations can automate routine tasks like cost monitoring, anomaly detection, and compliance checks. This reduces manual effort and enhances accuracy in cost management.

Cloud Cost Control

Introduction to Cloud Cost Control

Cloud cost control involves managing and optimizing cloud expenses to stay within budget while maintaining performance and reliability. Effective cost control ensures that resources are used efficiently and helps prevent unnecessary spending.

Strategies for Cost Control

Several strategies can help organizations control their cloud costs effectively:

  • Budgeting and forecasting: Establish budgets based on historical data and future projections. Use tools like AWS Budgets or Azure Cost Management to track spending against these budgets.

  • Resource optimization techniques: Identify underutilized resources and rightsizing opportunities to reduce costs. Implement autoscaling to match resource allocation with demand.

  • Leveraging reserved instances: Commit to longer-term reserved instances for predictable workloads to benefit from lower rates.

Monitoring and Adjusting Costs in Real-Time

Continuous monitoring and real-time adjustments are essential for effective cloud cost analysis and control. Use tools like Amnic’s cost management features, AWS Cost Explorer, or Google Cloud’s Billing Reports to:

  • Monitor spending trends: Track daily or weekly spending to identify unusual patterns.

  • Set up alerts: Configure alerts for threshold breaches to take immediate action.

  • Adjust resources: Reallocate or decommission resources as needed to optimize costs.

Integrating Cloud Cost Observability into DevOps Practices

Collaboration Between DevOps and FinOps

Effective cloud cost management requires close collaboration between DevOps and FinOps teams. By working together, these teams can ensure that financial considerations are integrated into every stage of the development lifecycle. Key aspects of collaboration include:

  • Shared goals and metrics: Establish common objectives and performance indicators related to cost management.

  • Regular communication: Hold frequent meetings to discuss cost-related issues and strategies.

  • Integrated workflows: Develop processes that incorporate both financial and operational insights.

This collaboration helps to create a culture of cost awareness and accountability across the organization.

Tools and Technologies for Cloud Cost Observability

Several tools and technologies can help DevOps and FinOps teams achieve cloud cost observability. These tools provide the visibility and control needed to manage cloud expenses effectively. Some notable tools include:

  • Amnic’s cost management features: Real-time cost monitoring and optimization recommendations.

  • AWS Cost Explorer: Provides detailed insights into AWS spending patterns and trends.

  • Azure Cost Management: Helps track and allocate costs across Azure resources.

  • Google Cloud Billing Reports: Offers comprehensive cost analysis and forecasting capabilities.

Using these tools, teams can gain a deeper understanding of their cloud costs and implement strategies to optimize spending.

Best Practices for DevOps Teams

Implementing cloud cost observability requires a combination of strategies and best practices. Here are some tips for DevOps teams:

  • Adopt a proactive approach: Regularly review cost data and address issues before they escalate.

  • Use tagging and labeling: Ensure all cloud resources are properly tagged for accurate cost allocation and tracking.

  • Leverage automation: Use automated tools to monitor costs, build dashboards, detect anomalies, and enforce policies.

  • Educate team members: Provide training on cost management principles and tools to foster a culture of cost awareness.

By following these best practices, DevOps teams can effectively manage cloud costs and contribute to the organization’s financial health.


Cloud cost observability is essential for DevOps and FinOps teams aiming to manage cloud expenses effectively and efficiently. By shifting left and incorporating cost observability early in the development process, teams can achieve significant improvements in resource allocation, budget adherence, and overall financial accountability. Embracing the core tenets of cloud cost observability—debugging and troubleshooting, governance, and control—allows organizations to optimize their cloud infrastructure and service delivery.

To take your cloud cost management to the next level, consider integrating the best practices and tools discussed in this article. Collaboration between DevOps and FinOps, proactive cost monitoring, and leveraging automation are crucial steps toward achieving comprehensive cost observability.

Ready to see how Amnic can help you achieve cloud cost observability? Request a demo or sign up for a free trial today!

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