With the pace of new service and feature announcements from Amazon, it sometimes takes me a few weeks to check out their latest and greatest changes. I just finished playing with a feature they released in June to allow programmatic access to an AWS bill. I can’t quite figure out if my expectations were too high, or maybe I am just not their target audience. But I sort of had this crazy idea that... well, I’d make a REST API call and get my bill back.
Instead here is what you have to do to configure and use this feature:
- Enable the CSV Report on your Billing Preferences
- Enable S3 service, if not already on
- Create an S3 bucket
- Attach a policy to your bucket to grant Amazon permissions to put CSV files in this bucket
- Enable the Programmatic Access from the Billing Preferences, providing the bucket you created above
- Wait for Amazon to drop a bill in your S3 bucket
- Programmatically retrieve your bill using the S3 API
My favorite part is that Amazon will update my estimated charges “multiple times per day.” Yes that’s right: this is not once a day, twice a day, or on a scheduled basis. Instead it is: don’t call us, we’ll call you.
The feature makes me think the following conversation occurred in Amazon earlier this year:
- Product Management: How long will it take to deliver programmatic access to an AWS bill?
- Engineering: 12 months.
- Product Management: What can you do in 6 months?
- Engineering: A really bad implementation of programmatic access to an AWS bill?
- Product Management: So what can you give me in 3 months?
- Engineering: Something even worse.
- Product Management: Great, 3 months it is.
Sometimes waiting for a feature to be done right is better than no feature at all. ;)
Note: You can work around the lack of this feature by creating a separate consolidated billing account with independent credentials, and using the URL to the Activity Report to download a CSV file through an HTTP script. I used to think that was too complex for most users. I stand corrected.