For my last post comparing serverless offerings on a number of angles, I was struck again by the complexity of cloud pricing, which I alluded to at the end of the article.
Of course there is the great convenience of the cloud and all that it does for us, but there is also the substantial complexity of all that is offered, and the way it is priced.
This is a good article to read if you are thinking about this stuff:
My biggest beef is that I have to do actual research to understand the skus and how they work, in order to do price comparison. The APIs themselves do not (in any way shape or form) describe the service offering.
So: I Google, I read, and I figure it out. At least Google now offers this:
Which is a very helpful research tool, for their own cloud offering.
The other providers should do something like it. And they should give you programmatic access.
These systems all lack some definitive way to identify the pertinent skus. As a result, I'm hardcoding things (for now) and thinking about how this could be done better in the future.
Even if the values are stored in a database or configuration, I will need to add new ones, stay up to date, etc.
For real dynamic pricing, it would be better if there was an API that could be called to retrive relevant skus for any given service. Something like this, "Dear AWS, please give me all skus relevant to pricing of Lambda functions in East US 1". This would SHOULD be a simple API to use, and they have all the information to build it but they don't think about things that way.
The Google tool sort of does this, but you get back much more information and you still have to sort through skus to figure it out.
Anyway, billing APIs are not sexy nor are they money makers for these guys, but meaningful automation that will matter to the CFO will depend on services like this.
If I have to maintain a list of skus, then my pricing engine will always be a bit brittle. Fine for research, not great for prod.
I work for Exadel, Inc. Exadel is a great company, with great people all around the world. I currently lead the Boulder, CO, USA office.