Tip Tuesday: Accounting and billing customizations for all!
Abiquo supports two basic charging models for cloud resources:
Allocation – where customers are allocated a pool of cloud resources (vCPU,vRAM,storage etc.) and are charged for those resources regardless of whether they are consumed or not
Consumption – where customers are charged for the resources they have actually consumed, typically on an hourly basis.
However, the needs of Abiquo customers are often more complex with discounts, commitment, burst and many other models coming into effect and in order to meet those customer needs, and to also deliver flexible accounting and billing solutions Abiquo have developed a billing plugin integration.
This allows Abiquo’s rich set of raw data (allocation, and consumption) to be imported to an easy to read CSV file, or directly to a billing solution such as Aria, Zuora, Ubersmith or CloudCruiser. Billing data can be aggregated in a number of different ways by Abiquo in order to support a variety of different tennant models.
As well as standard resources such as vRam, vCPU, and Storage, Abiquo can also provide accounting data for other services that may incur additional costs on the cloud platform. Functionality such as reserved hardware, high availability can all be metered, along with additional resources such as specific template images or hypervisors.
The billing integration also supports custom connectors. Allowing data from third party sources (e.g. networking bandwidth) to also be tracked and aggregated with other usage data that will form the final bill.
A quick look at the Abiquo user interface makes it easy for our users to meter and charge for compute, storage and network resources of various types.
Abiquo’s interactive user interface makes metering easy!
But did you know that you can meter your customers’ usage at a more granular level?
Lets take a look at the levels at which you can meter usage with Abiquo:
Abiquo tracks which machine is deployed on which hypervisor, so for those for which you have to pay a license fee, like VMware ESX, you can charge the customer appropriately. Where you have a lower cost of ownership, such as KVM, you could reduce the charge. You can use this, and the reporting of it, to enhance sales engagement and advise your customer of the best platform for the workload.
Here is a list of the hypervisor technologies that Abiquo supports.
Abiquo lets you dedicate a physical machine to an Enterprise, creating what you might call a “virtual private cloud” in your shared infrastructure. You can combine this with dedicated storage tiers and even physical networks, but more of that another time. You can also let customers choose whether to use these dedicated machines or a shared resource, and meter for the usage of those reserved machines.
Using anti-affinity (preventing selected virtual machines from running on the same physical machine) reduces the efficiency of your platform, so you may want to charge extra for it. In a self-service environment your customers can configure their own anti-affinity rules through Abiquo Layers, which works on all our supported hypervisors, not just VMware. We meter use of Anti-affinity layers so you can charge for it.
VM Template Cost Codes
In the App Library template configuration you can assign cost codes to templates. These are configured through the pricing screens. You can then use these for all kinds of billing and reporting purposes; charging by OS, maybe just for customers with a managed service; charging by application, if your templates contain pre-configured applications; charging for use of Chef, for example.
Have a look at the Abiquo Wiki for more information on clever charging!
Contact us here if you have any questions.