Kubecost vs. CAST AI: A perfect match for end-to-end cloud cost optimization

Laurent Gil
· 8 min read
Kubecost vs. CAST AI

Scaling cloud resources is easy – so easy, in fact, that many teams end up losing control over their cloud spend. A missed bug or architecture oversight can easily snowball into a huge bill at the end of the month. 

That’s why teams need a cloud cost monitoring and optimization toolkit that provides detailed visibility, exhaustive reporting, and – in an ideal scenario – automated optimization capable of handling the fast-changing requirements of Kubernetes to generate some serious cost savings.

Wondering whether you need something more than just cost reporting and analysis? Here’s a comparison of features delivered by two modern cloud-native solutions, Kubecost and CAST AI.

CAST AI – Analysis & Automation

 

Created by industry veterans, CAST AI is a full-service cloud automation platform providing powerful automation features for optimizing Kubernetes workloads.  Companies across industries such as e-commerce and adtech are using CAST AI to save from 50% to even 90% on their cloud bills.

Kubecost – Analysis

 

Kubecost started as an open-source tool that provided developers with more visibility into their Kubernetes costs. Today, Kubecost is a robust cost reporting solution that teams can use to get insights into costs allocation, cost monitoring, and alerts – key tools for teams looking to gain visibility.

Kubecost vs. CAST AI – quick feature comparison

Feature

CAST AI 🥇

Kubecost

Supported platforms 

   

AWS

Google Cloud Platform

Microsoft Azure

✅ (coming soon)

Cost optimization and automation

   

Detailed insights on cluster cost optimization

Recommendations for optimizing cloud costs

Real-time alerting functionality

✅ (coming soon)

Horizontal pod autoscaling

AI-driven instance selection

Multi-shape cluster construction

Automated pod scaling parameters

Automatic bin packing 

Spot Instance automation

Node autoscaling

Cluster scheduling 

Cost allocation

   

Detailed cost breakdown

Allocation by organizational concepts

Cost view across multi-cloud

Live customer support

Full multi cloud optimization

Detailed feature comparison of Kubecost and CAST AI

  1. Installation and setup
  2. Cost allocation
  3. Cost monitoring
  4. Cost optimization and automation
  5. Security
  6. Pricing

1. Installation and setup

CAST AI

To start saving on your cloud bill with CAST AI, you need to create an account and then either connect an existing Kubernetes cluster or create a new one inside the tool. Teams often choose to connect their clusters in read-only mode to get a free detailed report of estimated monthly savings – and then take action by turning automated optimization on. It takes only 15 minutes to get the cost analysis and optimize costs automatically. 

Supported platforms: At the moment, CAST AI supports services from AWS and Google Cloud Platform, with Azure support coming in Q4 2021.

Kubecost

To install and operate Kubecost, teams can use the Kubecost helm chart. This installation method brings you all the components for getting started, offering access to Kubecost features and an opportunity to scale to large clusters. Teams can also enjoy a lot of flexibility for configuring Kubecost and its dependencies. Kubecost offers three other installation options, but they require effort and come with less flexibility. 

Supported platforms: Currently, Kubecost supports cloud services from AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure.

2. Cost allocation

Detailed cost breakdown

CAST AI offers a cost breakdown and forecasting feature at the level of projects, clusters, namespaces, and deployments. You can analyze costs down to individual microservices and generate a detailed forecast of cluster costs. Moreover, CAST AI delivers insights using universal metrics for any cloud service provider from Grafana and Kibana.

Kubecost provides flexible and customizable cost breakdown features as well. You can divide costs by namespace, deployment, service, and more indicators across all the three major cloud service providers. Like in CAST AI, this comprehensive resource allocation points the way to generating more accurate showbacks and chargebacks, streamlining the ongoing cost monitoring.

Allocation by organizational concepts

Focusing on automated optimization, CAST AI offers cost allocation per cluster and per node.

Kubecost users can allocate costs to concepts such as teams, individual applications, products, projects, departments, or environments.  

Cost view across multi cloud

Many companies are using the services of more than one cloud provider. Allocating costs across clouds is tricky, but CAST AI rises to this challenge. It supports teams with a unique full multi cloud functionality and visibility, providing universal metrics for any cloud provider.

Kubecost displays the costs across multiple clusters and multi cloud environments in a single view or through a single API endpoint. However, Kubecost doesn’t help you manage multi cloud infrastructure – while CAST AI offers a full multi cloud solution with cost optimization.

3. Cost monitoring

Cost allocation is the first step to understanding where your cloud bill comes from. Next, you need to keep a close eye on how your resource use translates to costs in real time.

CAST AI displays the biggest cost driver – compute costs – in the Savings estimator and shows potential savings associated with deployments on Spot Instances. It has a planned feature in the pipeline for ongoing cloud cost reporting that will include other dimensions such as control plane, network, egress, storage, and others.

Kubecost allows teams can link real-time in-cluster costs (CPU, memory, storage, network, etc.) with out-of-cluster expenses from the cloud services across AWS, GCP, and Azure – for example, tagged RDS instances, BigQuery warehouses, or S3 buckets. Users get context-aware, cluster-level reports to reach an optimal balance between cost and performance in matching their service requirements.

4. Cost optimization and automation

Once you allocate costs and monitor them on a regular basis, it’s time to take action and start optimizing your spend. Kubecost and CAST AI support teams on this mission differently.

CAST AI: Fully automated cost optimization that beats savings plans

  • Horizontal pod autoscaling – this feature uses business metrics to come up with the number of required pod instances. It scales the replica count of your pods up and down – and removes pods if there’s no work to be done.
  • AI-driven instance selection – if your cluster needs extra nodes, CAST AI chooses the best instance types that meet your requirements but still help to save up. 
  • Multi-shape cluster construction – CAST AI delivers an optimized mix of different instance types that are adapted to your application’s needs.
  • Automated pod scaling parameters – to help teams avoid overprovisioning, CAST AI  sets these parameters automatically and maximizes cost savings.
  • Automatic bin packing – since Kubernetes distributes applications within a cluster evenly, it doesn’t really help teams reduce their cloud spend. CAST AI solves this problem via bin packing for maximum savings.
  • Spot Instance automation – Spot Instances can bring dramatic savings of up to 90% off the On-Demand pricing. You don’t need to worry about a provider pulling the plug on your instance – their replacement is fully automated.
  • Node autoscaling – this feature makes sure that your nodes match your requirements at all times, scaling nodes up and down automatically.
  • Cluster scheduling – automatically pause and resume clusters to avoid paying for resources your teams aren’t using.

Savings: By turning CAST AI automated optimization on, you can save from 50 to 90% on your cloud spend.

Kubecost: Cluster-level insights and recommendations for engineers to implement

Kubecost provides detailed reports and real-time alerting functionality. Delivered via Slack or email, these alerts notify teams about budget overruns, anomalous spend patterns, and Kubernetes tenants that fall below the set efficiency levels. Users can set budgets for configurable aggregation levels – for example, team or application.

Savings: Kubecost generates insights DevOps engineers can use to save 30-50% or more.

5. Security

Since both Kubecost and CAST AI work with your cloud infrastructure, their security is paramount.

CAST AI offers a bunch of security features such as encryption at rest/in transit, secrets management, network security, logging, visibility, and more. Moreover, it provides automatic patching and upgrades to VMs and Kubernetes, so you’re always kept up to date and eliminate the chance of errors in your clusters.

Kubecost doesn’t expose private data anywhere and since users deploy Kubecost in their infrastructure, there’s no need to egress any data to a remote service. You retain and control access to sensitive cloud spend data at all times.

6. Pricing

CAST AI comes with a free Cost Savings report users can run anytime they want to check whether they could save up on their infrastructure. The report generates actionable recommendations. And if you want to add automated optimization into the mix, you can choose between two plans: Growth and Enterprise. In all cases, CAST AI offers guaranteed savings of 50%.

All Kubecost plans are free of charge for the first 30 days. Kubecost also offers a free plan where you can monitor and optimize one cluster. To make the most of your paid plan, you’ll need to dedicate time to implement the recommendations provided by Kubecost. This will incur extra charges and doesn’t automatically guarantee savings.

Summary: When to choose Kubecost vs. CAST AI

Both Kubecost and CAST AI are great picks that offer lots of value to Kubernetes teams looking to optimize their cloud bills and streamline processes related to cost monitoring, allocation, and reporting. 

But if you’d like more than reporting, the automated optimization features of CAST AI are at the top among cloud cost optimization platforms.

By the way, you can use KubeCost together with CAST AI. Bringing Kubecost and CAST AI together will give you an end-to-end solution that will keep your cloud costs in check and generate some pretty impressive savings.

P.S. If you prefer a hands-on approach, you can always run the free CAST AI Cost Analyzer to see what the platform could save you automatically.

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Matt
2021-08-06 11:21 AM

Do you have any estimate of when AKS will be supported? Would like to play around