Tagging and Cost Explorer

One of the earliest strategies, and one that is costly to fix after the fact, is getting your cost tagging strategy in place. Once this policy is established and the configuration in AWS is created, any deployment can include those tags automatically, so you don’t have to backfill those tags after all applications have been deployed and created.


As these tags must be activated individually before they are used in cost reporting standardizing is important. We typically advise to create tags based on the CostCenter, Department or Team Name, Application Name and Environment Name. Through those tags, and you can add further ones where necessary, any resource and the team responsible should be clearly identifiable and monitoring across separate environments, if deployed in one account or across accounts, is possible. 


A standardization on environment names across the company is similar important here to make sure resources can be properly filtered. We’ve seen many different terms used for development, staging, pre-production, regression or integration environments and all of them are fine as long as they follow a standard.

Once those tags are established you can go to the billing page on your main organization account and enable cost allocation tags from there. AWS provides additional tags that are deployed automatically with for example CloudFormation.

As part of your automation make sure that those tags are set either for the whole CloudFormation stack or set as default tags in Terraform or similar tools. Automatically configuring and deploying tags through automation is strictly necessary to achieve full tag coverage.


Once those tags are in place reporting based on tags in the Cost Explorer is trivial. You can filter and select resources and costs through one or multiple tags and create reports for regular review. It is an incredibly important and once set up simple tool to keep your costs in control.

And if you have further questions on how to optimize and understand your costs let us know, we’re happy to help.

Start your individual journey with ORBIT.