Thursday, July 30, 2015

ManageIQ Chargeback

Built into ManageIQ is a chargeback solution; and while it isn't a feature rich business management solution like VMware ITBM or Apptio, for an organization that is looking to provide some basic financial transparency of their infrastructure utilization, it isn't a bad tool. 

For me, tiering your infrastructure service capabilities and providing cost transparency for technology capabilities is the foundation to IT hosting. Sure, automation is great for reducing delivery times and providing consistency, which reduces OPEX; but I think marrying the infrastructure technology capability to the business requirement with policy based management provides much more tangible savings. It ensures that mission critical applications have the infrastructure resources for performance, stability, and availability to meet LOB expectations, while less critical applications maximize infrastructure savings with lower tier components.

Over my career, a significant amount of business I have worked with select a one size fits all approach to technology solution to meet all their business needs.  

After deploying and configuring ManageIQ, you will want to setup the cost rates that you want to use in chargeback and then create a custom report to run on a reoccurring basis.

To start, from the Cloud Intelligence dashboard we are going to click on the Chargeback tab.

Because we haven't created our custom report, the report option is going to be blank. We are going to click on the Rates tree option. You will notice, under the Compute branch, I have created several different chargeback models, which include Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

The compute rate models are driven by Tags, which I created previously and assigned to my virtual machines. For instance, below are the tag assignments for my ManageIQ virtual machine. I will cover how to create tags and assign them to virtual machines in a future post, but you will notice the Service Level for the virtual machine is Silver.

If I open up my Silver Chargeback profile, there are a few different methods for charging for infrastructure resources. You can charge compute by CPU allocation, used CPU in MHz, or by a fixed daily or monthly charge. Memory is charged by allocated memory or used memory in MB. And last, disk I/O and network I/O are charged by KBps per hour.

So ManageIQ does provide some variety cost allocation methods, but it doesn't provide deep capabilities for unit costing in the tool. That being said, not every company needs to have thorough unit costing and just needs the capabilities to provide insight into the infrastructure costs.

In the model below, I did costs by Used CPU in MHz, Used Disk I/O in KBps, Used Memory in MB, and Used Network I/O in KBps. If you haven't created any cost models before, I have a blog post that goes into some basic ways to create a tiered cost model to support your business called The Cost of Business that I wrote last year.

Here are the charges I used for my Silver tier:

After we have determined our rates, we are going to assign our rates to the tag category. Under assign to field, I select Tagged VMs and Instances and for the tag category I select Service Level; I then match up my service level tags to the compute cost rate profiles.

To finish our cost allocation method, we are going to configure our storage rates and click Save.

To make this all work, we need to create a custom report. You are going to click on the Reports tab and go down to the bottom of the list to choose Custom, then click Configuration and Add a new Report.

On the Columns tab, I am going to enter the Menu Name, Title and then select Base the report on Chargebacks. 

Additionally, I am going to select the following fields for my report:

  • CPU Used
  • CPU Used Cost
  • Memory Used
  • Memory Used Cost
  • Disk I/O Used
  • Disk I/O Used Cost
  • Storage Used
  • Storage Used Cost
  • Total Cost

On the formatting tab, I leave all the default settings.

On the Filter, I modify the Chargeback Filters so that I am only showing my internal private cloud resources, and it doesn't include my Amazon EC2 virtual machines.

  • Show Costs by: Virtlab Tag
  • Tag Category: Network Location
  • Tag: Internal
  • Group by: Date

I preview my report and then click Save.

To make certain this runs on a weekly basis, on the left hand panel I click on Schedules and create a new schedule. I call the report Virtlab Chargeback Report with the description of Virtual Machine Chargeback Report.

Under report selection, I am going to use a Filter that includes the report I created earlier called Virtlab Chargeback Report and set it to run weekly.

After your report has run, it will show you the chargeback costs for all the virtual machines in you environment.

Here is a closer look at the report.

ManageIQ chargeback doesn't provide comprehensive unit cost capabilities, but it is a good starting point of showing cost transparency to the LOB.
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