Kubernetes Chargeback (splitting the bill made easy!)

By Wulf Schiemann24. January 2022

Kubernetes (K8s) has become an extremely popular technology. With that Kubernetes chargeback and cost management have become pressing challenges: A recent survey by CNCF shows that there are 5.6 million Kubernetes developers today. A 67% increase compared to 12 months ago. 31% of all backend developers now use Kubernetes. This wide adoption of Kubernetes as an orchestration technology for containers makes challenges apparent – especially in larger organizations: Automated Kubernetes billing and cost management becomes more important.

What is Kubernetes exactly?

Kubernetes – aka K8s for short – is an orchestration technology for containers. You can use it for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containers. It works declerativly in a master and worker node setup. The master node checks the status and health of the worker nodes that run the actual containers. Everything is checked against a defined desired state and K8s makes sure to make this desired state come alive and stay alive.

K8s Challenges for Cloud Governance

Cost management for Kubernetes clusters is a pressing topic for many operations departments. Enabling cloud teams to work with the latest technology like Kubernetes is an important part of leveraging the cloud. But this has cloud governance implications: Cost management, security and compliance.

When running Kubernetes in a scenario in which you share Kubernetes clusters you run into billing issues. An example would be running Azure’s Kubernetes Service (AKS) as a multi-tenant cluster. There is no standard way of knowing how to split up the bill for the resource consumption of the Kubernetes cluster.

Onboarding internal customers and giving them a way to manage their Kubernetes namespaces, quotas and access rights is another cloud governance issue you might run into.

That’s quite a lot to tackle in terms of cloud management.

So here’s a short overview:

  • Kubernetes cost management
  • Security and compliance of shared K8s clusters
  • Kubernetes namespace management
  • Quota management
  • Managing access rights

Splitting the K8s Bill with meshcloud

With the cloud foundation platform meshStack, meshcloud makes it easy to split the bill from shared K8s clusters. Many of our customers use cloud-native K8s services like Azure’s Kubernetes Service (AKS): They get one big bill from Azure every month and have not been able to fairly split the bill and charge their application teams based on actual usage. In order to do this, you can define a pricing catalog for AKS resource usage (like based on Persistent Volume Claims or the number of created Pods), that will be used to calculate a per month pricing for individual customers.

aks kubernetes usage report

meshcloud makes accurate Kubernetes metering and billing possible and much more:

  • Managing multiple projects,
  • authorizing users on projects,
  • charging the cost for projects to different teams, and
  • setting usage quotas for projects.

Application developers want to (and should) develop applications

Application teams should do what they’re good at: Develop new applications and innovate. Administrative tasks often hold them back. DevOps teams want a managed K8s service where they don’t have to set up the cluster themselves. They just want to develop applications. Typically we see OpenShift used for this type of scenario – OpenShift metering and management is also fully supported by meshcloud.

With meshcloud it is possible to lessen the administrative effort even more. An Openshift or AKS cluster can be shared easily across multiple customers for more effective resource usage. Project namespaces and access will be automatically set up so your teams are able to start deploying pods within minutes.