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For a growing number of companies, the cloud is an incredibly appealing proposition. It allows organizations to scale up (and down) infrastructure and services as needed, and you generally pay only for what you use.

But that doesn't mean that the cloud isn't without its challenges. Some, such as architecting fail-proof applications, are well documented. But there are others which don't often get as much attention. One: keeping track of what your company is spending.

Enter Cloudability, a Portland startup that humorously states that on its homepage "we cover your *aas" and which just raised nearly $9m in Series A funding. The company's offering is simple, yet potentially very useful to those using cloud services: through a single account, and with no manual data input required, Cloudability tracks a company's spending across multiple cloud vendors and helps predict future costs.

Currently, Cloudability supports more than a dozen popular cloud infrastructure providers and SAASes, including Amazon, Google, Akamai, Mailchimp and Zencoder. A basic Cloudability account is free; Pro and Enterprise accounts that provide additional features, such as more detailed reports and access to an API, start at $49 per month based on the amount of spend tracked.

The financial benefits of using the cloud can be significant, but it's also a double-edged sword as companies can lose money. A flawed strategy can lead to financial pain, and if cloud infrastructure and services go unused but not cancelled, waste can add up.

A service like Cloudability therefore makes a lot of sense, but companies will have to ask themselves: is this so important that we can't outsource it? It's a good question all cloud-loving companies should ask as a bigger portion of their IT budget shifts to IAAS and SAAS vendors.

The good news for Cloudability and services like it: the companies they're targeting have already decided to trust third parties with crucial technology needs that a decade ago would have been handled in-house, so allowing a SAAS to keep an eye on their *AAS probably won't require a leap of faith at these organizations.

Patricio Robles

Published 12 July, 2012 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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