We just released our first cost tracking diagram available on Labs and I wanted to talk about it. As an agile team, we prefer to deliver features as we go, so we are not done with the cost management features, we are actually just getting started. The value we felt we delivered with this cost tracking diagram is the ability for a team to self-police. You can see what you have spent so far in the month. If you are spending faster than you thought you can alter behavior accordingly (do I really need that VM, can I be more aggressive to shut it down?).
Currently, the spending trend you get is your consumption at full retail price, and only in USD. We understand that in many scenarios you would like to have the actual spend that takes your specific pricing and in your currency to provide a more actionable financial target. This is not what we have at this point, but we are working towards that. In the meantime, you have to factor the difference between your specific billing rate and our full retail price estimate to properly interpret the curve and use the feature. We think it still provides value by tracking the evolution of the curve itself.
We are also working on providing the option to track costs from Lab creation instead of monthly. This was suggested by our Insiders to cover the project-based Labs scenario - "How much did I spend on this Lab so far from the beginning of the project?".
All this becomes more important once we have the ability to set targets and report against them, and that's what we are thinking of doing next. We will let you set a target that we will use to drive some actions at certain thresholds: send warning emails and stop the creation of new VMs.
Anyhow I hope that the initial implementation provides value to your team and I’d love to hear what you think!