By Dave Collins, NetApp Technical Marketing Engineer


In my last post I covered cost accountability, and storage chargeback and showback in a multi-tenant cloud.  Depending on the your environment and needs, cost accounting models can include variable costs related to storage, infrastructure, service levels, virtual machine usage, plus fixed overhead costs such as helpdesk, support staff, utilities and space. There are two chargeback models: simple and loaded.  The loaded chargeback model is often more realistic and used to report the true cost of usage more accurately. I go into detail on both models in the technical report, Chargeback for Storage Usage with OnCommand Insight.


Chargeback at the multi-tenant cloud level includes all of the storage, infrastructure and support services provided to the customer’s applications and business entities. Servers and virtual machine utilization such as VMware and Hyper-V are also a cost factor in chargebacks.  With the easy proliferation of VMs, calculations need to also include temporary, development, test, lab and other non-production VMs and even the CPU and Memory configuration details.  All need to be detailed in storage chargeback reporting so consumers can fully understand the cost of services—and make business decisions based on all usage, not just their production environment. 

Cloud and service providers use the fully loaded model and also throw profit margin in the mix.  Whereas IT organizations that run as cost centers or are implementing showback reports typically use some variation of this model.


Although there are plenty of vendors who can provide information at the device level, OnCommand Insight, with its data warehouse and IT analytics, goes beyond this to provide tremendous insight into resource usage from the business point of view.  OnCommand Insight provides service providers with detailed cost accounting of their cloud customer’s usage.  This empowers service providers to help their customers understand where they’re spending money, and where they can optimize and save money—based on real usage information.


OnCommand Insight provides flexible, accurate, easy-to-read reports, which include detailed metrics, and it presents information in a way that customers can easily understand. Reports can be built for specific customers so that they see ONLY what they own.  This is part of our secure multi-tenancy reporting supported in OnCommand Insight.


Here’s an example of a storage chargeback report detailing storage usage by tenant, application, Storage tier, plus variable charges for each VM based on number of processors and memory used by each VM, plus fixed costs for overhead associated with that usage for each application. 


Not a programmer? No worries!  Whatever your skill level, there are built-in reports and dashboards and you can easily create custom reports using “drag and drop” technologies without knowing SQL!  There are lots of options.


Ready to see how multi-tenant cloud reporting is done? Check out the video, How to Easily Create a Complex Chargeback/Showback Report Using Drag and Drop Technology with OnCommand Insight (11 min.) and read the tech report: Chargeback for Storage Usage with OnCommand Insight.