Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Announcing Ice: Cloud Spend and Usage Analytics

One of the advantages of moving to the cloud was increased engineering velocity.  Every engineer who needed cloud resources was able to procure them at the click of a button.  This led to an increase in resource usage and allowed us to move more quickly as an organization.  At the same time, seeing the big picture of how many resources were used and by whom became more difficult. In addition, Netflix is a highly decentralized environment where each service team decides how many resources their services need.  The elastic nature of the cloud make capacity planning less crucial and teams can simply add resources as needed.  Viewing the broad picture of cloud resource usage becomes more difficult in such an environment.  To address both needs, Netflix created Ice.

Ice provides a birds-eye view of our large and complex cloud landscape from a usage and cost perspective.  Cloud resources are dynamically provisioned by dozens of service teams within the organization and any static snapshot of resource allocation has limited value.  The ability to trend usage patterns on a global scale, yet decompose them down to a region, availability zone, or service team provides incredible flexibility. Ice allows us to quantify our AWS footprint and to make educated decisions regarding reservation purchases and reallocation of resources.

We are thrilled to announce that today Ice joins the NetflixOSS platform.  You can get the source code on GitHub at https://github.com/Netflix/ice.

Ice communicates with Amazon’s Programmatic Billing Access and maintains knowledge of the following key AWS entity categories:
  • Accounts
  • Regions
  • Services (e.g. EC2, S3, EBS)
  • Usage types (e.g. EC2 - m1.xlarge)
  • Cost and Usage Categories (On-Demand, Un-Used, Reserved, etc.)

The UI allows you to filter directly on the above categories to custom tailor your view and slice and dice your billing data.

In addition, Ice supports the definition of Application Groups. These groups are explicitly defined collections of resources in your organization. Such groups allow usage and cost information to be aggregated by individual service teams within your organization, each consisting of multiple services and resources. Ice also provides the ability to email weekly cost reports for each Application Group showing current usage and past trends.

When representing the cost profile for individual resources, Ice will factor the depreciation schedule into your cost contour, if so desired.  The ability to amortize one-time purchases, such as reservations, over time allows teams to better evaluate their month-to-month cost footprint.

Getting started
After signing up for Programmatic Billing Access, follow the instructions at https://github.com/Netflix/ice#prerequisite to get started.

Ice has provided Netflix with insights into our AWS usage and spending.  It helps us identify inefficient usage and influences our reservation purchases.  It provides our entire product development organization with visibility into how many cloud resource they are using and enables each team to make engineering decisions to better manager usage.  We hope that by releasing it as part of NetflixOSS, the rest of the community can realize similar, and even greater, benefits.

If you are interested in joining us on further building our distributed, scalable, and highly available NetflixOSS platform, please take a look at our jobs listing.