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Organizing and Managing Multi-Cloud Costs at Scale

6 min read

Last updated on June 8th, 2023 at 10:34pm

Multi-cloud cost management is the practice of monitoring, measuring, and controlling cloud spend across various cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. Cost management aligns cloud costs with business outcomes and customer value. Ultimately, it helps organizations realize the highest possible return on cloud investments. As more organizations adopt multiple public cloud services to meet their needs, they’re finding that optimizing costs across different cloud platforms is challenging.

To use multi-cloud cost management effectively, you must understand cloud providers’ various billing structures. This involves allocating costs appropriately across cloud services, regions, accounts, projects, teams, and applications.

This article discusses best practices and explores how Kion’s integrated solution facilitates multi-cloud cost management at scale.

Challenges and Considerations of Multi-Cloud Cost Management

A multi-cloud strategy allows you to leverage different cloud providers’ best features and services. However, having multiple cloud providers also comes with challenges:

  • Fragmented visibility — Managing costs across different cloud providers is difficult without good spending visibility. Each cloud provider has its own dashboard and reporting tools, which may not provide a comprehensive view of the total cost of ownership (TCO). Moreover, standard reports don’t capture hidden or unexpected costs, such as data transfer fees, network latency, or compliance costs. The presence of shadow IT further exacerbates this issue. Shadow IT can occur when employees use unauthorized cloud services to work around shortcomings in your cloud solution. The unofficial use of these tools can create additional costs that aren’t accounted for or represented in your cloud expenses. This lack of visibility into shadow IT usage makes tracking and managing overall multi-cloud spending even harder.
  • Complex cost structures — Because each cloud provider has its own pricing model and billing structure, comparing costs is tricky. For example, some cloud providers charge by the hour and others charge by the second or the request. While cloud providers offer discounts for reserved or committed usage, others offer spot or preemptible instances. Additionally, some cloud providers have different pricing tiers for regions, while others have flat rates. These variations complicate estimating and budgeting for multi-cloud costs.
  • Increased management overhead — Tracking and controlling spending across multiple cloud platforms inevitably requires more resources and expertise than working with a single platform. Teams and stakeholders must collaborate to maintain cost allocation tags, policies, and alerts. They must also correctly integrate necessary third-party tools and services.

Best Practices for Multi-Cloud Cost Optimization and FinOps

Multi-cloud environments can quickly lead to overspending and poor resource allocation without proper visibility and control over cloud spending.

Financial operations (FinOps) is a set of practices and procedures that align cloud spending with business value and outcomes. An effective FinOps strategy for multi-cloud cost optimization is crucial to avoid cost overruns and inefficiencies in your multi-cloud environment. Let’s examine some best practices for using FinOps to optimize multi-cloud costs.

Consolidated Cost Reporting

To optimize multi-cloud costs, compare different cloud providers to find savings. Organizations need a unified dashboard that can display the costs of all cloud platforms, as well as itemized costs by dimensions such as service, resource, and project.

Tagging and Resource Allocation

Tags are metadata attached to cloud resources to indicate their purpose, owner, environment, or another attribute. Organizations can enable granular cost tracking and optimization by ensuring that cloud resources are consistently tagged and categorized across all cloud platforms, improving governance and accountability. For example, tags can help identify unused or underutilized resources that you can terminate or resize to reduce costs.

Automated Cost Controls

Organizations must leverage tools and processes that automate budget enforcement and optimization across multiple cloud providers. For instance, organizations can set up alerts and notifications to monitor cloud spending and notify stakeholders when the spending exceeds budgets. Organizations can also use policies and scripts to scale resources automatically according to demand or schedule.

Getting Started with Multi-Cloud Cost Management

Multi-cloud cost management may seem daunting at first, but is attainable if you follow these steps.

Step One: Assess Your Current Multi-Cloud Environment

Before creating a plan to manage costs, get a clear picture of your current cloud usage and spending. Gather the following information:

  • The cloud providers and services you’re using
  • How much you’re spending on each cloud platform
  • How you’re distributing costs across teams, projects, and regions

To answer these questions, collect and analyze data from all your cloud providers and consolidate it in a single view.

Step Two: Define a Multi-Cloud Cost Management Strategy

Start planning your cost management strategy based on a clear picture of your current multi-cloud environment.

Define your objectives and targets for reducing and optimizing your cloud costs. Work out the following:

  • Your budget and spending limit for each cloud provider
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure cost efficiency and effectiveness

Establish guidelines for your organization to follow when using multiple cloud platforms, including how to:

  • Allocate and track costs across different teams, projects, and regions
  • Enforce policies and governance for cloud resource provisioning, usage, and decommissioning

Step Three: Assign Roles and Responsibilities

Multi-cloud cost management requires collaboration and coordination between stakeholders within your organization, including cloud architects, engineers, users, and managers. Assign clear roles and responsibilities for each stakeholder group and ensure they align with your multi-cloud cost management strategy. Provide teams with tools and training that will enable them to perform their tasks effectively.

Step Four: Implement a Multi-Cloud Cost Management Tool

To support your multi-cloud cost management efforts, you need a tool to monitor, analyze, control, and optimize your cloud costs across multiple providers. Cloud cost management tools should prevent overspending through features such as consolidated cost reporting, resource optimization, and automated cost controls.

Following these steps, you can achieve greater visibility, accountability, efficiency, and savings in your cloud environment.

Kion: Your Solution for Managing Multi-Cloud Costs at Scale

For a comprehensive, cloud-native solution to your multi-cloud cost management challenges, look no further than Kion.

Unified Cost Reporting

Kion consolidates cost data from multiple cloud providers, such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. You can easily view and compare your cloud spending by service, region, account, project, tag, and more.

Automated Cost Controls

Kion enables automated budget enforcement and resource optimization across all cloud platforms. You can set up alerts and actions to notify you when your cloud spending exceeds your budget or when your resources are underutilized or overprovisioned. You can also use Kion's recommendations to resize or terminate instances for your cloud resources.

Saving Opportunities

Kion monitors cloud resource usage and proactively identifies opportunities for cost optimization and savings. Kion's smart analytics identifies unused or idle resources, or orphaned volumes or snapshots — eliminating wasteful spending.


Multi-cloud cost management is a complex and challenging task requiring a comprehensive and proactive approach. By following best practices and implementing Kion, you can gain visibility, control, and optimization of your multi-cloud spending. Consequently, Kion helps you reduce costs, improve efficiency, and align your cloud strategy with your business goals.

With Kion, you can take control of your multi-cloud costs and achieve significant savings. Save on your cloud bills with Kion today.

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