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10 Top Kubecost Alternatives For Kubernetes Cost Management

Kubecost can be a helpful tool for companies that use Kubernetes. But is it enough? Here are 10 alternatives you may want to consider.

Is your current cloud cost tool giving you the cost intelligence you need?  Most tools are manual, clunky, and inexact. Discover how CloudZero takes a new  approach to organizing your cloud spend.Click here to learn more.

Kubernetes is one of the most significant advances in cloud computing since the public cloud. It provides an open-source, highly scalable, and cloud-native platform for orchestrating containerized applications. More organizations now use Kubernetes to deploy, network, scale, and manage containers at scale.

Besides, the Kubernetes architecture empowers them to swiftly deploy containerized applications across a variety of platforms, support distributed systems, and scale operations to quickly meet demands.

Even so, developers often tell us that Kubernetes can be complex and has a steep learning curve. As their needs scale, Kubernetes best practices can be difficult to implement.

Kubernetes costs are particularly challenging to manage when you are experiencing fast growth. The process can also be challenging and time-consuming when you are an established organization looking to become more efficient.

Yet the Kubernetes Dashboard is not as cost-efficiency-focused as you’d probably like. But that’s where Kubernetes cost management tools like Kubecost come in.

What Does Kubecost Do?

Kubecost provides real-time visibility into Kubernetes costs so you can avoid overspending while maintaining optimal performance at all times. With Kubecost, you can view costs across in-cluster, shared, and external cloud services, get cost optimization recommendations, and receive alerts on trending Kubernetes costs to prevent overruns.

Unlike many Kubernetes monitoring tools, Kubecost also collects, analyzes, granulates, and optimizes Kubernetes costs. Additionally, it supports deployment in on-premises, AWS (EKS), Azure (AKS), Google Cloud (GKE), and Air Gapped Kubernetes environments.

Yet Kubecost is not flawless, which is why you are here.

With Kubecost, you can split costs by owner, deployment, namespace, team, environment, etc., so that chargebacks and showbacks are possible.


Kubecost shows Kubernetes cost allocation by deployments

But it does not support non-cluster use cases, whether that be visibility, optimization, or forecasting. You'd need to use an additional tool to manage costs of cloud assets outside Kubernetes, meaning more cost tools to manage. As a result, your productivity may suffer, cost data may be inconsistent, and you might have difficulty maximizing Kubernetes costs.

Other developers feel that Kubecost documentation needs some work, alerting could be more robust, and self-hosting could pose a challenge in some cases.

Whatever your reason is for exploring the best Kubecost alternatives, here are ten to get you started.

10 Best Kubecost Alternatives To Consider Now

These best alternatives to Kubecost each have unique strengths. So, it is important you examine each platform more closely based on your organization's needs — now and in the future.

1. CloudZero


Founded: 2016

Category: Cloud Cost Intelligence for Kubernetes Cost Monitoring

Pricing: Custom, based on your AWS environment — not a percentage of your AWS spend.

CloudZero’s Kubernetes Cost Analysis offers you the unique ability to track your cost of goods sold (COGS) across your containerized infrastructure. More importantly, you can view Kubernetes costs in a granular format, such as:

  • Cost per customer
  • Cost per feature
  • Cost per product
  • Cost per project
  • Cost per team, etc.

With this level of Kubernetes cost granularity, you can do showbacks and chargebacks with greater ease.

By utilizing the unit cost approach, you can pinpoint precisely where to cut costs without sacrificing innovation, customer experiences, or engineering velocity. You can surface Kubernetes costs at all Kubernetes layers, from the pod and namespace levels to the label and cluster layer.

Here’s how the CloudZero container cost solution reveals Kubernetes cost insights via AWS CloudWatch in more detail.

CloudZero Kubernetes Detail

You can also break down the cost insight by service, feature, microservice, and deployment. Unlike Kubecost, CloudZero empowers you to combine and view costs of both containerized and non-containerized costs in one view, like this:

Combine Containerized Costs

Consequently, you can see how much it costs to deliver a specific product or support a specific customer, regardless of whether you use Kubernetes exclusively or a hybrid approach. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to increase Kubernetes cost visibility in multi-tenant Amazon EKS clusters. CloudZero shows costs by the hour.

As with Kubecost, you can also combine all your in-cluster and outside costs to get context-aware insights. Additionally, you can receive real-time alerts about unusual spending patterns via Slack, email, or your favorite incident management tool so you can avoid budget overruns.

Schedule a demo here to learn how CloudZero can help you control costs for your Kubernetes-enabled infrastructure.

2. AWS Cost Explorer

AWS Cost Explorer

Founded: 2014

Category: Native Kubernetes Cost Monitoring Tool for AWS Customers

Pricing: Free access with an AWS subscription (but AWS charges $0.10 per hour for each EKS cluster you start)

Cost Explorer visualizes and manages Kubernetes costs on Amazon Web Services using a simple yet useful interface. It surfaces costs by AWS service, monthly, daily, hourly, and resource level. Consequently, you can include Kubernetes costs as part of your overall AWS cost when using Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS).

With EKS, you can run Kubernetes clusters in the cloud or on-premises. You can then run EKS on Amazon Fargate, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Service (EC2), or AWS Outposts (on-premises).

However, Cost Explorer does not offer engineer-friendly cost breakdowns like CloudZero and Kubecost. It also requires extensive tagging to be accurate. Cost Explorer still does not show utilization data, and you have to pay extra for anomaly detection and alerts.

3. Azure Cost Management

Azure Cost Management

Category: Integrated Kubernetes cost monitoring for Microsoft’s Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)

Pricing: Free access (paid per use)

Microsoft Azure's cloud platform includes tools to monitor, analyze, and manage Kubernetes costs in its Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS). AKS is a fully managed Kubernetes platform. One of the best features of Kubernetes cost monitoring for AKS is Microsoft’s Power BI, a business intelligence tool for analyzing and reporting AKS costs in a business context.

The Azure Cost Management suite includes Azure Monitor Logs, which helps collect, index, and store data that your Kubernetes clusters generate. To collect that cost data, you need to activate Container Insights.

The Azure platform also relies on tags to identify cost data. The platform does not provide engineer-specific cost insights or anomaly detection. Yet, Azure provides cost insights from AWS via Cloudyn, supports budgets, and forecasts costs.

4. Loft Labs

Loft Labs

Founded: 2019

Category: Kubernetes cost monitoring control panel for Amazon EKS, Rancher, Digital Ocean, Alibaba Cloud, Google Cloud, and Azure.

Pricing: Free for self-service, $10/month for up to 100 users (Productive Plan), and custom pricing for Enterprise deployments

Loft provides a control platform that runs on top of an existing Kubernetes cluster to enable self-service and multitenancy. In the same way that ProsperOps automates resource usage monitoring, Loft automatically identifies idle namespaces. Once you set up Sleep Mode in Loft, it will automatically put those clusters to sleep after a specified inactivity period.

In addition, it uses the same criteria to detect old or unused namespaces. Once they've been inactive for a certain amount of time, Loft can automatically delete them. In addition, you can set and enforce CPU and memory quotas for each user, account, and team. Also, it offers enterprise-grade multi-tenant access control, security, fully automated tenant isolation, and more.

Loft integrates with Prometheus and Grafana to visualize cost data.

5. Replex


Founded: 2016

Category: Kubernetes governance and cost management for enterprises with cloud-native use cases

Pricing: Contact sales

Cisco’s Replex extracts and processes data in real-time, analyzing and transforming it into cost insights through artificial intelligence. It is API-based to seamlessly integrate with cloud-native infrastructure. In addition, Replex is also plugin-ready so you can start gathering Kubernetes cost data right away.

As part of Cisco's cloud monitoring and optimization platform, Replex can work with AppDynamics' robust, full-stack, and continuous observability capabilities. This could provide you with deep, accurate, and actionable insights about how to optimize the costs of your Kubernetes environment.

6. Cast AI

Cast AI

Founded: 2020

Category: Kubernetes cost optimization and automation for hybrid clouds


With Cast AI, you connect your cluster first. After detecting and analyzing your entire workload, you generate a report showing your current and optimized infrastructure. Based on that report, Cast can automatically rebalance your clusters to optimize your system's performance without compromising resource consumption or costs. The Cast tool continuously monitors your Kubernetes infrastructure across EKS, KOPS, AKS, and GKS and tweaks your settings as necessary.

Cast possesses SOC 2 Type II and ISO 27001 certifications for security and compliance. The company guarantees a savings of 50% or it will cover the difference from its own pocket. You'll also get live technical support and dedicated onboarding to get started quickly.

7. Harness.io


Founded: 2017

Category: Cost visibility for multicloud Kubernetes monitoring

Pricing: freemium, Per service per month plan, custom pricing for enterprises

Harness offers several useful features for Kubernetes cost monitoring. As an example, you'll be able to see idle, used, and unallocated resources per workload and cluster. You can set up Harness to reduce Kubernetes resource use either with a single line of code or in response to an event.

The tool then breaks down Kubernetes costs by a team, business unit, deployment, project, department, etc for chargeback and showbacks. You can also set up custom budgets and track expenditures. You can also check out the platform if you want to get AI-powered recommendations for optimization, anomaly detection and alerts, or multicloud use.

8. Opsani Learning Autoscaler (OLAS)


Founded: 2014

Category: ML-powered predictive autoscaling for Kubernetes environments

Pricing: Contact sales

Opsani, which is also part of Cisco AppDynamics, provides OLAS as a replacement for Kubernetes' Horizontal Pod Autoscaler (HAP). But unlike HAP, OLAS provides proactive, predictive, and continuous cost optimization in any Kubernetes environment. OLAS' Continuous Optimization as a Service (COaaS) element enables it to learn how your system utilizes resources.

It then uses that intelligence to scale your Kubernetes resources before traffic spikes occur. Thus, your system can handle higher demand in time to prevent performance and customer experience degradation. When that demand subsides, it scales down intelligently to save costs.

If you are concerned about how Opsani retains customer information, it uses RED metrics, not PII. That means it does not store any unique customer identifiers, like IP addresses or mac addresses.

9. Sematext


Founded: 2007

Category: Full-stack and multi-cloud containers, microservices, and Kubernetes monitoring service

Pricing: Per hour pricing

If you currently use Sematext as a full-stack cloud monitoring solution, you'll be pleased to learn that it offers Kubernetes monitoring as well. Sematext may not specifically provide precise cost information for Kubernetes. Instead, it offers real-time and in-depth logs, events, and metrics for monitoring resource usage in microservices, containers, and Kubernetes environments.

To begin, install the Sematext Operator, its lightweight agent, with just one line of code. If you prefer, use Helm Charts to track Kubernetes resource consumption. This feature will enable you to monitor insights by pod, deployment, network, storage, CPU, memory, etc.

In addition, Sematext provides monitoring for most Kubernetes, containers, and microservices platforms, such as Kubernetes, Docker Swam, Rancher, AKS, ECS, EKS, GKE, OpenShift, AKS, and Nomad. You can also deploy it on public, private, or hybrid clouds.

10. StormForge


Founded: 2015

Category: Resource efficiency management for Kubernetes environments

Pricing: Based on the number of applications you optimize

StormForge uses Machine Learning to find ways to reduce cloud resource usage and costs. It does this while limiting memory outages or CPU throttles. StormForge automates this process to maintain resource efficiency when you use Kubernetes at scale. Additionally, the tool enables you to perform continuous scenario planning before and during production.

You can get the data for that from other tools you already use (during production), such as DataDog and Prometheus. You will then receive optimization recommendations you can implement to improve your system's efficiency. If you wish, you can manually accept the recommendations. Or, you can set StormForge up to implement them automatically.

Next Step: Optimize Kubernetes Cost With Cloud Cost Intelligence

Kubecost offers engineer- and finance-friendly Kubernetes cost information. It does not require perfect tags to identify cost data either. You can also collect, analyze, and break down cost insights in any Kubernetes environment. Still, Kubecost has areas it could improve on.

For instance, it runs on just Kubernetes environments. That can mean needing to integrate with a different tool to capture costs across other cloud services, such as Snowflake and non-containerized applications.

With CloudZero, FinOps, engineering, and finance teams gain visibility into costs across all use cases, whether containerized or not. You don't have to tag anything.

Nevertheless, CloudZero will provide you with the accurate cost insight you need to make reliable cost allocation decisions. You will also be able to allocate 100% of your spend in hours, not weeks.

CloudZero's Kubernetes Cost Analysis goes beyond simple chargebacks and showbacks. You can also see the costs associated with specific customers, teams, environments, projects, products, and features, even in environments with multiple tenants.

You can then identify precisely who or what is driving your Kubernetes costs. Thus, you can determine what to do to reduce costs without introducing errors and outages.

Interested in seeing it in action? Schedule a demo today!

CloudZero Team

Author: CloudZero Team

This blog post was written and reviewed by the CloudZero team. Combined, our team has more than a quarter century of experience in the cloud cost space. Every blog post is extensively researched and reviewed by several members of our team for accuracy and readability.


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