Ever since its release in September 2014, Kubernetes has been equally powerful and meme-able in the engineering world. For all the magic of its container orchestration and compute resource management, it’s also mysterious and, to many, confounding — especially when it comes time to pay for it.
As we’ve written before, migrating to Kubernetes often means losing cost visibility. In turn, losing cost visibility means having a harder time predicting and controlling compute costs, leading to confusion within teams, runaway bills, and friction between organizations.
Companies using CloudHealth as their cost management platform have an especially hard time. Kubernetes visibility is one of CloudHealth’s weaker points, as the platform struggles to allocate shared costs, separates Kubernetes spend from all other cloud spend, and cannot show Kubernetes costs at a level of hourly granularity.
So, in lieu of switching platforms entirely, CloudHealth customers often add on a second tool: Kubecost, a Kubernetes-only cost management solution.
It seems like adding a specialized tool would solve the Kubernetes problem in one fell swoop. But appearances can be misleading. Here’s why companies combine the two tools — and they tend to find the results wanting.
Why Companies Combine CloudHealth And Kubecost — And Why It’s Limited
1. It seems less expensive than switching platforms
Sticking with your current platform seems like the most frugal option. And if your current platform has a pronounced weakness, like CloudHealth does with Kubecost, it’s natural to want to find a tool to fill the gap.
Adding to this impression is that Kubecost has a “free” version that is especially tempting.
In reality …
Kubecost’s free version presents inaccurate data
The “free” version of Kubecost bases its platform data on AWS list prices, not your actual billing data. In effect, it’s making spend estimates — not presenting exact spend figures — leading to data inaccuracies.
CloudHealth’s limitations extend beyond Kubernetes
As one of the first cost management platforms, CloudHealth was designed in a very different era of cloud usage. Cloud environments were smaller, less complex, and less volatile than they are now. (Also, Kubernetes had yet to be invented.)
CloudHealth has struggled to keep up as cloud environments have grown more complex. CloudHealth is weak when it comes to cost allocation, unifying cost sources, calculating unit costs, and offering a FinOps partnership. Kubecost, a Kubernetes-only platform, helps with none of these objectives.
CloudZero is the only platform to offer complete, real-time cost allocation; to unify all cost sources in a single pane of glass; to calculate precise unit costs; and to offer a robust FinOps partnership.
2. Kubecost seems to have the most specialized Kubernetes offering
Kubecost’s promise is Kubernetes specialization: a one-stop shop for all Kubernetes cost management needs.
In reality …
- Data inaccuracies. Again, customers using the free version of Kubecost will get only semi-accurate data. It’s better than nothing, but it’s imperfect, and it makes it harder to empower the engineers responsible for managing Kubernetes costs.
- Granularity limits. Kubecost doesn’t present Kubernetes spend at a level of hourly granularity — the deepest they go is the day level. For a service as elastic as Kubernetes, this is problematic; compute costs might consistently spike between 4:00 PM and 9:00 PM on weekdays (easy to imagine for a food delivery app). But without hourly granularity, you’d miss that trend.
CloudZero allocates 100% of your Kubernetes spend with total accuracy, and presents it at a level of hourly granularity. Never miss another cost spike — and never bypass another savings opportunity.
3. Kubecost’s optimization strength seems like good enough cost management
Kubecost is admittedly strong when it comes to Kubernetes optimization. And many people think of “optimization” as synonymous with “cost management.”
In reality … this, too, is a flawed approach.
Think of automated optimizations — like the ones Kubecost does for Kubernetes — like paring a garden. The goal of paring is to keep the garden environment under control — make sure nothing grows beyond its allotted limit.
But what if weeds have infiltrated your garden? Or, what if the plants you’re growing don’t align with your cooking objectives — if just 5% of your garden is devoted to tomatoes, but tomato demand (from your adoring family) is skyrocketing?
Automated optimizations don’t tell you what’s in your spend environment, or why it’s there. So alone, it’s an inadequate cost management strategy — and leads to a lot of overlooked savings opportunities.
Get Best-In-Category Kubernetes Visibility With CloudZero
CloudZero overcomes all these limitations — and offers many more — in a single platform:
- Complete allocation. CloudZero allocates 100% of your cloud costs — including cloud, PaaS, SaaS, shared, multi-tenant, untaggable, and containerized costs.
- Single pane of glass. CloudZero unifies 100% of your cloud costs in a single pane of glass, giving you a comprehensive view of your cloud environment.
- Engineering-led optimization. CloudZero is the only platform to give engineers relevant, timely access to the data they need to manage their own cloud costs — and find savings opportunities invisible to automated optimization platforms.
- FinOps partnership. All CloudZero customers get a designated FinOps Account Manager (FAM) who implements best practices, offers platform training, and continuously consults on your cloud infrastructure.
And best of all, it’s at a friendlier price point than combining CloudHealth and Kubecost.
Want to see the platform in action? Schedule a demo today.