Online Support - Getting Started Guide
- Reporting Tool Usage
- Department Charge Back / Show Back
- Threshold Management
- Task Scheduler
OverviewThe CloudControl Billing Portal is a supplemental tool / dashboard that currently makes use of the CloudControl API to obtain and enrich the customer experience specifically relating to the financial element of Cloud Computing.
The tool currently exposes a set of necessary information needed by our existing customer base as well as supporting the needs of our OneCloud Service Provider model with pseudo white labelling being supported.
Some key features within the product:
- Full financial reporting, not only usage, but actual “dollar” values associated with Dimension Data or channel MCP resources.
- The ability to do charge-back or show-back and filtering of resource usage based on a departmental listing of the user’s choice
- A full system Task Scheduler to automate the shutdown and power up of resources within the CaaS platform in order to “Right Time” resource availability
- Threshold monitoring – the ability to be able to set a budgetary figure within the tool and to have email alert notifications sent at a specific threshold percentage
- Config Management - a service that notifies you of changes to your cloud landscape. Any moves, adds, changes or deletes are reported on a daily basis via email
- Excel exports - the ability to export any and all of the data represented in the tool into an Excel format for further analysis
- Full API access - the cloudbilling tool now natively supports a full API version - again enabling extraction of the data for reporting in tools like PowerBI as an example
The tool currently displays all usage in locally consumed MCP currency.
Also note, this tool has the ability to perform shut downs and power ups of customer selected servers – using this functionality is at own risk as this may result in downtime if incorrect server instances are selected. All shutdown and power up functions are recorded in the CloudControl Admin logs.
Reporting UsageAccess the tool on the following URL: http://cloud-billing.dimensiondata.cloud
On first access of the tool, the user will be greeted with the following authentication screen:
At this point the user should enter his/her CloudControl authentication credentials. There are no alternate authentication credentials for this Billing Portal as the tool only makes use of the Cloud Control API for authentication. It also exploits the Role Based access as configured within CloudControl.
In order to gain access to the Billing Portal, the authenticated user must have either the Primary Administrator Role or have been granted the Reports role by an administrator. In addition, to make use of the Task Scheduler, the Server role is required in order to expose this functionality. Should the user not have the Server role, they will not have the ability to access the task scheduler functionality and likewise if the user does not have the reporting role, they will not have access to the dashboarding capability.
If this is the first time a user from the CloudControl organization is accessing the site, the authenticated user will remain on the login screen and be shown an alert letting them know that a process has been spawned to collect reporting information for their historical data. This collection process takes approximately 5 minutes to complete and will simply populate the required graphics and fields in the tool once completed. There is a notification menu item which lets the user know when the spawn process begins and completes.
Once the user clicks on the “Login” button a second time, they will be properly authenticated and logged into the billing dashboard.
This screen has numerous elements available for the user to specify date ranges, filter the data by department or perform additional functions.
By default the tool will always present a month-to-date view of the customer data, with the start date and end date specified from the drop down menu located in Settings > Select Date Range. It also presents an “All Departments”, unfiltered view of the data by default.
The drop down menu contains the following items and will be further referenced in this document:
Towards the top left and top right are two graphs, “All Departments Monthly Average” and “All Departments Services Breakdown” respectively. It is worth noting that regardless of date range selection, these graphs will always show the preceding 12 months in their data sets. They do, however, update with the appropriate Departmental or Show-Back filters applied.
The “All Departments Monthly Average Spend” is an aggregate of all individual line items for the given Departmental filter – it therefore combines Compute, Bandwidth, Network, Sub-Administrator, Public IPs, Images, Software, Backups and Monitoring into a single figure. In the event of the customer consuming data in multiple currency based geographies, these will each be represented separately as below. Likewise for the Services Breakdown graphic.
Below these two graphics is all of the detail associated with resources for the given time period and filter. You will see multiple tabs representing each of the billing elements within CloudControl. Clicking through each of the tabs will expose the detail associated with each of the various sections, including Compute, Bandwidth, Networks, Sub-Administrators, Public IPs, Images, Software, Backups and Monitoring.
Within the Compute section, one can click on the specific server name in order to see the specific configuration of a given server. This is especially useful as in some instances multiple records for a single server appear to exist, but on more careful inspection, you will see that the server ID itself has changed, meaning that physically they are different virtual servers, although named the same.
The dialog box will show you the current configuration for the server and forecasted monthly cost associated with the current configuration.
Tag / Filter Charge Back / Show BackThe CloudBilling dashboard has full support for CloudControl "Tagging". This means in order to take advantage of departmental, cost centre or even project based filtering, one simply needs to specify the necessary tags on the CloudControl resources. Support for multiple tags exists too!
In order to filter the view, simply select “Settings > Select Tag / Filter” to filter the displayed view.
Threshold ManagementThe Threshold Manager function enables the ability to obtain alerts when breaching budgetary threshold percentages. This currently supports the same multi-currency capability as the graphical data above, enabling different recipients to receive different currency breaches. This enables having different people responsible for the financial discipline per region.
Configure the currency based monthly budget threshold as well as the percentage breach threshold. This process will not limit functionality on CloudControl in any way, but simply send mail notification to the configured email recipient address at the time of the percentage breach.
Task SchedulerThe Task Scheduler is probably the single most important feature after granular billing. This feature requires the Server role or Primary Administrator role within CloudControl. So if it is not shown this would be the reason.
The tool is not unlike any other scheduler embedded in operating systems you may already be familiar with. With a simple On/Off block approach to determining hours of availability for a particular server instance.
It offers you the option of choosing from some predefined configurations, eg. ‘8x5’, ‘24x7’ or ‘All Off’ which will prepopulate the On/Off blocks in the appropriate ways. However, these configurations or a blank one can be overridden by manually selecting whatever you may want. Eg ‘8x5’ plus Saturday 12-4pm
The process is simple – select the server name, select the time zone (specific to each server since there could be multiple from multiple locations listed) setup the hours of operation and hit Submit!
The tool will manage the entire process in the background, performing graceful shutdowns and power ups when needed!
Important note: If the tool is unable to perform a graceful shutdown for whatever reason (eg VM Tools inaccessible or faulty), the tool will instead perform a “PowerOff” instruction – take note this may have an adverse effect on the integrity of the Virtual Machine.