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Determining Resource Usage
And Managing Costs
By Paul Quigley
IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator (SCO) provides an open and extensible cloud management platform for managing heterogeneous hybrid environments. IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator provides the following features and benefits:
- Standardization and automation of cloud services through a flexible orchestration engine and a self-service portal.
- Reusable workload patterns to enable dynamic cloud service delivery.
- Built on open standards, including OpenStack, for unparalleled interoperability.
SmartCloud Orchestrator Enterprise (SCOE) packages SmartCloud Orchestrator (SCO) with SmartCloud Monitoring and SmartCloud Cost Management. The software integrates provisioning, metering, usage and accounting as well as monitoring and capacity management of cloud services.
Integrating Provisioning with Cost Management
Using SmartCloud Orchestrator (SCO) and SmartCloud Cost Management (SCCM) you can provision virtual machines to the cloud and measure the cost of cloud services with metering and charge-back capabilities.
SmartCloud Cost Management provides visibility into the usage and cost of your cloud infrastructure and other non-IT resources. The software helps you track and assess shared computing resource usage accurately, and better manage the cost of your cloud and IT services. The most common usage involves billing an enterprise’s internal business units or a cloud provider’s external customers according to the services and resources they consume, providing reports that detail resource consumption.
Architecture and Components
To enable cloud cost management with SCO, you must install several components:
- SmartCloud Cost Management 126.96.36.199 base edition
- Jazz for Service Management 1.1, including:
- IBM DB2 Enterprise Server Edition V10.1
- IBM WebSphere Application Server V188.8.131.52
- IBM Tivoli Common Reporting V3.1
All components are available with the SmartCloud Orchestrator Enterprise (SCOE) package or as separate products.
SmartCloud Cost Management and Jazz for Service Management can be installed on firstbox or as separate virtual machines in the environment:
Figure 1: SmartCloud Orchestrator 2.2 High-Level Architecture
What type of cloud service usage data is collected?
SCO produces cloud service usage data per virtual machine:
- Architecture (currently x86, but is capable of supporting others such as Power in the future when that support is provided)
- Number of virtual CPUs allocated
- Memory allocated (GB)
- Disk allocated (GB): Total disk allocation, root allocation, and ephemeral allocation
- Operating system deployed
- Image deloyed
- vSys pattern used
- And more
The metering data is collected at the OpenStack level; capturing all cloud service usage data from the IaaS Gateway (IaaS GW). The Metering Control Service (MCS) listens for messages from the Qpid broker, collecting cloud service usage data per virtual machine (VM) instance from OpenStack Nova Compute nodes. By default, the MCS runs in the SCCM machine. The MCS supports multiple cloud regions as well as multiple openstack-nova-compute or openstack-smartcloud services running in each region. The MCS connects to the Qpid broker in each region.
Additional data is collected by the keystone collector, using REST API calls to retrieve VM context data (tenants and users) from the OpenStack Keystone Identity Service.
Each data collector (metering and tenant) generates a file with common source resource (CSR) records. Data from both CSR files is merged and correlated in SCCM by running jobs to process the data. The new (merged) file is used for analysis, reporting, and billing.
Defining rates for chargeback
SCCM supports several rate templates for cloud resources, such as:
- Infrastructure charges:
- Architecture (Power, x86)
- Resource (CPU Hour, Memory GB Hour, Storage GB Hour)
- License charges: Windows Server 2012, WebSphere Application Server 8, WebSphere MQ 7, DB2 10, and so on
- Hosting charges, such as:
- Development versus test versus production
- LPAR, KVM, VMware
- Base operating system
- Sized-hosting charges, such as:
- Development, test, production
- LPAR, KVM, VMware
- Tiny VM, small VM, medium VM, large VM, extra Large VM
SCO provides rate templates for infrastructure charges. These rates provide a chargeback mechanism for how long cloud resources have been reserved, not necessarily in use. You can use the infrastructure charges as a base cost and define additional costs based on license, operating system, size of VM, and so on, using the license, hosting, and sized-hosting rate templates.
Note: Rate templates are sometimes called rate tables.
Let’s look at an example invoice for customer P’s cloud service usage, generated by SCCM.
Figure 2: Sample Invoice generated by SmartCloud Cost Management
Notice, for example, the infrastructure charges of $353.60 for their x86 platform. The cost is further broken down by CPU, memory, and disk, as well.
The invoice also includes additional costs for license and hosting charges.
SmartCloud Orchestrator creates cloud service usage data as it provisions virtual machines. Data collectors are used to collect virtual machine resource data as well as tenancy data.
With SmartCloud Cost Management you can understand your costs and track, allocate, and invoice based on actual resource use by department, user, and many additional criteria. Reports can be run to generate invoices (bills) based on customer usage of cloud resources.
For more information about IBM SmartCloud Orchestrator, visit http://www.ibm.com/software/products/us/en/smartcloud-orchestrator/.
For more information about IBM SmartCloud Monitoring, visit
For more information about IBM SmartCloud Cost Management, visit
Paul Quigley is a Senior Technical Enablement Specialist with the IBM Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure Enablement team, with expertise in Tivoli Service Automation Manager, Tivoli Provisioning Manager, and Smart Cloud Orchestrator.