Cloud Cost Management

AWS Cost Explorer vs Harness

A cloud cost solution that Developers and DevOps teams can actually use.

Harness Platform CICD Tools

Harness Cloud Cost Management empowers engineers with cloud cost visibility of their apps, microservices, and clusters.

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Harness is categorized as:

Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Cloud Cost Management, Cloud Cost Optimization, AI/ML Verification


AWS Cost Explorer has an easy-to-use interface that lets you visualize, understand, and manage your AWS costs and usage over time.

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  • Founded


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AWS Cost Explorer is categorized as:

Cloud Cost Management

We’re the best solution to track your cloud costs.

Curious how Harness Cloud Cost Management features stack against the competition?

*Last Updated: 4/5/2021

Detailed Feature Comparison

Harness Cloud Cost Management Vs. AWS Cost Explorer

Cloud Support:

As the name suggests, AWS Cost Explorer only works for the AWS cloud. This is absolutely not a solution that is usable for Azure, Google Cloud, or Kubernetes, so it would not work well in a multi-cloud organization, or one that leverages containers. If you exclusively work with AWS, it may make sense to use the Cost Explorer – some organizations enjoy having as few vendors as possible, and the opportunity to keep everything under one roof may be appealing to some orgs. However, you’ll notice from the chart above and the paragraphs below that AWS Cost Explorer does lack vital functionality that Harness Cloud Cost Management offers. We support all major cloud providers, and we provide unparalleled support for Kubernetes. We encourage you to explore our platform and see what you might miss out on.

Tag Management Required:

AWS Cost Explorer marks tags as “optional.” It is true that it can function without them, but the results without good tag hygiene are quite basic, showing you the costs for your services across regions. For granular visibility, it is important to create, apply, and maintain good tagging policies. Harness can leverage existing tags, but minimizes the pain of tagging, providing visibility into application, service, environment, namespace, and workload with no tagging required.

Hybrid Cloud Visibility:

AWS Cost Explorer only provides visibility into the AWS cloud and is not a good option for hybrid environments. Harness does provide insights into hybrid clouds. For any workloads running in Kubernetes, Harness provides visibility regardless of where the resources come from.


This granularity of visibility cannot be achieved in AWS Cost Explorer without tags. Without tagging, you’ll only have access to service-level data when it comes to costs. Additionally, what happens if you have application, microservice, or environment costs that are outside of AWS? Cost Explorer would not be able to provide insight, as it only works within the AWS cloud. Harness, however, provides this visibility without requiring tagging – on all major cloud providers and Kubernetes.

Cluster Visibility (Kubernetes/ECS)

AWS Cost Explorer is only able to provide insights into ECS and EKS, the two services built specifically for Kubernetes. If you run your cloud workloads using Kubernetes as your tool of choice, Cost Explorer will not be the right tool for you. Harness truly shines in Kubernetes cost management and provides valuable visibility that other tools often fail to offer.

Root Cost Analysis (3 Metrics):

AWS Cost Explorer provides no information whatsoever on idle, unallocated, and utilized costs within Kubernetes. Because these are crucial to understand resource efficiency in Kubernetes, Harness surfaces this information out of the box..

Cloud Event Correlation:

To correlate feature releases or engineering deployments with changes in cloud costs, a cloud cost management tool needs to have context behind an organization’s Continuous Delivery pipelines. AWS Cost Explorer, while integrated with the AWS cloud, has no way of getting this context. Harness ties right into a customer’s pipelines to make the correlation between deployments and cost changes.

Cost Recommendations:

Harness focuses on providing cost optimization recommendations for Kubernetes workloads. This allows customers to simply use existing resources in more efficient ways – no need to validate purchase, downsizing, and rightsizing recommendations that change the composition of the infrastructure. Where AWS Cost Explorer is different is that it does not provide these recommendations for Kubernetes or even ECS workloads, for which you need to leverage AWS Fargate. Instead, Cost Explorer will surface optimization opportunities for your AWS resources for free, which, when paired with the capabilities Harness has for Kubernetes, actually can result in fully-optimized infrastructure.

Anomaly Detection:

While AWS Cost Explorer provides a similar service, it does come with caveats: You need to set it up – and pay – for each service you want tracked. With Harness Cloud Cost Management, you get automated anomaly detection across all resources – at no additional cost – and on all major cloud providers, as well as Kubernetes. Need a refresher on what anomaly detection is? Sure thing: Harness provides the ability for customers to automatically flag and drill down to any anomalous cost spikes, avoiding end-of-month surprises. Leveraging machine learning that customizes itself to a customer’s environment, including seasonality, customers are able to proactively detect and resolve cost spikes.

Key Takeaways:

AWS Cost Explorer provides a good set of visibility, savings, and forecast tools for AWS. As a free tool available to AWS customers, it provides the basics that finance teams and budget owners would want to know. However, they fall short in providing support for multi-cloud setups and container orchestration outside of AWS ECS, which is where the world is headed. To fully leverage the capabilities of AWS Cost Explorer and get a deep understanding of costs, there’s an inordinate amount of tagging required, and customers have to pay extra for add-on services such as anomaly detection. AWS Cost Explorer is built for point-in-time views into costs, not for the daily toil that goes into efficient cloud cost management.

If you’re looking for rich multi-cloud and container cost visibility, savings, and forecasting, Harness Cloud Cost Management is the clear winner. Harness understands the pressure good tag hygiene puts on engineering teams, and the requirement to paint a full picture of cloud costs that includes container costs. Harness is a less effort-intensive solution that gets customers more value out of the cloud.

*Please note: Our competitors, just like us, release updates to their products on a regular cadence. We keep these pages updated to the best of our ability, but there are bound to be discrepancies. For the most up-to-date information on competitor features, browsing the competitor’s new release pages and communities are your best bet.

Cloud Cost Management

Interested in seeing whats under the hood? Browse through the Harness Cloud Cost Management Product.

Don’t believe us? Check out what these beautiful people have to say.

Don’t just take our word for it, see why customers love Harness Cloud Cost Management as compared to our competition.

Self-Service Deployments

During the first 30 days with Harness we saw a noticeable change in our cloud spend, with six-figure annualized savings.

Shelby LewinTechnical Product Manager, Relativity

Our engineers are now one-click away from accessing cloud cost data inside their CD platform. Developers can now contextualize cloud cost relative to their applications and microservices.

Nick WilsonVP TechOps, GoSpotCheck
Self-Service Deployments

I believe it is possible to improve by adding the separation of costs per service in addition to tags.

SourceG2 Crowd

While AWS was fairly easy to integrate into our solutions, it is not as easy to use without some IT knowledge. The dashboards are complicated and designed for someone who is computer savvy.

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