APPUiO Cloud

APPUiO Cloud Billing

12. Apr 2022

APPUiO Cloud is the simplest, most secure, and fastest way for DevOps teams to deploy apps on an OpenShift cluster. Developers all over Europe are enjoying the benefits of quick access to a secure platform for their applications. APPUiO Cloud provides almost instant access to clusters in various zones, with a convenient pay-per-use model which makes it particularly interesting for startups, education, and many other kinds of organizations.

Speaking about APPUiO Cloud’s pay-per-use model, we would like to explain in this blog post how our customers are billed for their usage of APPUiO Cloud resources. In a nutshell, APPUiO Cloud is supported in the background by a series of mechanisms that transform usage data metrics into actual invoices.

This multi-step process can be summarized in three steps: data collection, processing, and invoice generation.

By the way, following our commitment to openness and transparency, the links in the text point to various pages in our APPUiO Cloud for System Engineers documentation, geared for a technical audience. Also don’t hesitate to ask questions in our Community Discussions or the APPUiO Community Chat; we will be delighted to tell you more.

Data Collection

The first step of the invoicing process is based in continuous monitoring of APPUiO Cloud, using Prometheus. The metrics of interest, which are used as the basis of all invoicing calculations, are:

  • The amount of effective and requested memory used;
  • The amount of allocated persistent storage;
  • And the amount of allocated services of type LoadBalancer.

These metrics are sampled regularly from all APPUiO Cloud zones.

Our cluster monitoring systems have a limited retention time, averaging from days to weeks. This means that we need to use long term storage should we need to recalculate invoices for a whole fiscal year, and we use Thanos for that.

Processing

Before we transfer this information into our billing system, a secondary process matches and augments metrics with various metadata. First, we must map the collected metrics to our customers in the billing system. We also need to correlate that data to our products, including their prices, and any eventual applicable discount or promotion.

This secondary process consists of an ETL mechanism extracting metrics through the Thanos API, transforming them as required, and storing results in an intermediate data warehouse system, based on a standard star schema. This ETL process is complemented by an enrichment step, which fills missing data that needs to be collected from other sources as required.

Invoice Generation

The generation of invoices is handled by yet another automated mechanism. This process, running at the end of each billing cycle (in our case, a month) uses the aforementioned data warehouse as an API and data source, and it actually generates the final invoices in our ERP billing system.

This loosely coupled architecture gives us the flexibility to replace the invoice system (our ERP) with minimal effort. It also allows us to pull in data from any sources we could think of in the future.

Following our love for DevOps, all of the processes described above are fully automated, tested, and running in a fault-tolerant way.

But there’s more: the ERP adapter for APPUiO Cloud and the Reporting for APPUiO Cloud projects in GitHub are open source! Check them out and see how this all fits together nicely.

Are you interested in APPUiO Cloud? Get your account and start deploying applications on an OpenShift cluster today.

Christian Haeusler

Christian Häusler ist ein Product Owner bei VSHN.

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