Two weeks ago I went along to an Amazon Web Services Tech Summit in London. It was a great event, and whilst the Amazon folk were mostly preaching to the choir, the case studies were well worth going along for (slides here).
This morning I got a follow up email asking me to take a survey. A few of the questions were irrelevant, as I signed up to AWS long before S3 and EC2 were launched (the initial ‘web services’ provided API access to the retail site, and gave me a handy way to try out various tools I was working on). At the end of the survey was one of those open ended ‘what could we do better’ questions, which got me thinking…
My answer was that Amazon should have ‘billing bubbles’ for its cloud services. I’m sure that I’m not alone in using services like EC2 and S3 for personal stuff and for work stuff, but like most folk it all gets charged to my personal credit card. At the end of the month I get a bill, which is usually ignorably small, so I often don’t bother expensing my ‘work’ AWS usage. Not all the time though, there have been some months when I’ve done some pretty heavy tyre kicking on EC2 for work projects, and the bill has been big enough for me to want that money back.
What I have in mind here is some way of tagging different assets as ‘work’ related (or whatever else) so that I can break them out on the bill at the end of the month. This would be pretty easy with S3, as I can simply use different buckets for different purposes (I already do this). Ec2 would be a little trickier; I imagine some sort of additional startup flag that could be set (and some means of setting a default).
I realise that this is just scratching at one edge of a larger problem that rests at the intersection of identity management and billing for cloud services, but it would be a good start. We need persona in the cloud just like everywhere else.