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Apptio keeps track of cloud costs with free tool

The service works directly with cloud services from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Rackspace

Companies worried about their bills for cloud services have a new -- and free -- option: Apptio's Cloud Express, which can track usage and costs for cloud services from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Rackspace.

IT departments are increasingly being asked to adopt cloud computing, but they often lack the necessary data and analysis required to make informed decisions, according to Apptio, a company that specializes in tools to help CIOs determine the cost and quality of their IT systems.

Gathering cost information on use of public cloud providers is today a labor-intensive process, but Apptio wants to change that with the introduction of the free Cloud Express tool.

To get started, users register their accounts with Amazon Web Services, Microsoft's Azure or Rackspace in Cloud Express, which then automatically imports billing and usage data.

Based on that, Cloud Express can help identify underutilized resources to minimize waste. Cloud Express can also recommend changes to cut costs, Apptio said.

In the case of AWS, it offers recommendations on potential cost savings of moving from on-demand to reserved instances, which allow enterprises to pay an up-front fee to get a lower hourly rate.

Cloud Express can collect data from other public clouds and services, but there is more work involved to get that up and running.

Cloud Express is based on technology from Apptio's recent acquisition of Raveld. The tool is still being beta tested and can be accessed from the service's website.

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