Why are AWS tags useful? the rough version


Yes, I know, everyone feels they are using the tags well, but this is my article, and I’m unilaterally deciding that (for now) I’m right until you prove me wrong in the comments :)


I feel there are some misconceptions about tags and their use. While tagging services is a best practice of DevOps and also Cloud Finance Control it is unclear what tags are here for. If you ask five people, you will get five answers.

The official answer in the AWS documentation does not really help: “To help you manage your instances, images, and other Amazon EC2 resources, you can assign your own metadata to each resource in the form of tags. Tags enable you to categorize your AWS resources in different ways, for example, by purpose, owner, or environment.” OK, you can categorise stuff, but what for?

If you are in a hurry, only read this paragraph.

I think that all tags share a common purpose: to allow non-AWS communication in an AWS world. Tags are the end-customers words in an AWS country. Like a slang that only you and your organisation understand. 

Let’s talk about tags

There are two types of tags, the Tags and the Cost Allocation Tags.  


DevOps tags are here to help communicate how pure-AWS elements fit into your Operations processes. In other words, DevOps tags are mainly here to help other systems (i.e. not humans) make the right decisions, for example, what to turn-off after hours (Environment = dev). 

Cost Allocation Tags

Cost Allocation Tags are the only way AWS customers can use to communicate financial information. The tag info is available in the cost and usage report, which can then be sliced and diced with Financial reporting tools, like AWS cost explorer or our very own Strategic Blue Financial Dashboard. 

Using Cost Allocation Tags tags is the only way to get Business Insights that matter to you and your organisation without going through horrendous Excel files to translate AWSish into MyOrghish.

The End

That’s all folks (I hope that like me you are now hearing the looney toons music in your head)

PS: there will be a sanitised version of this post soon on Strategic Blue blog

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