AWS Cost Calculator vs Infracost

Since launching Infracost two years ago, I’ve been asked about the key differences between the AWS Cost Calculator and Infracost. In this blog post, I will compare the two tools.

Update AWS has now deprecated the AWS simple cost calculator – the only other option left is the AWS Pricing calculator. 

The AWS Cloud Cost Calculator is a web-based UI that enables users to design key parts of their infrastructure and obtain a monthly running cost estimate.

Infracost is an open-source tool that automates the cost estimation of infrastructure written in Infrastructure as Code (IaC) languages, such as Terraform (Cloud Formation, Pulumi, and Azure ARM to come). Integrated within your CI/CD system (such as GitHub, GitLab, Azure Repos, Bitbucket), Infracost provides detailed cost breakdowns of all the resources that are being added, changed, or removed each time an engineer modifies the IaC code. For example, Infracost can comment, “this change will increase costs by 25%,” along with a breakdown of the cost impact.

Key differences: AWS Cloud Cost Calculator vs Infracost

  • The AWS cost calculator is a web-based user interface that requires users to manually recreate their infrastructure setup to obtain a cost estimate. Infracost, on the other hand, takes existing Terraform code and automatically generates cost estimates.
  • Infracost comes in many forms, including a VSCode extension, CLI, CI/CD tool, and a web UI. The AWS cost calculator is a web-based UI.
  • As Infracost can be integrated into CI/CD, it can generate a cost estimate “diff” based on the user’s changes. For example, if the user changes an instance from medium to large, Infracost will show the total cost and the cost increase from medium to large. In contrast, the AWS Cost Calculator shows a snapshot in time and can only display the total cost of either the medium or large instance at that moment.
  • Infracost automates cost estimation directly in the engineering workflow (CI/CD) without requiring additional user work. On the other hand, the AWS Cost Calculator requires the user to manually input infrastructure changes to generate a cost estimate.
  • Infracost enables users to enter their Enterprise Discount Program and Enterprise Agreement discounts for cost estimation. The AWS Cost Calculator does not offer this feature.
  • Infracost can be integrated into multiple systems, including source control systems like GitHub, GitLab, Azure Repos, and Bitbucket. It can also be integrated into issue-tracking systems like Jira so that different stakeholders can see the cost impact of changes. In contrast, the AWS Cost Calculator is a standalone tool that does not integrate into other systems.
  • When estimating costs for usage-based resources like S3, Lambda, and data transfer, AWS allows the user to input these directly. with Infracost, multiple “usage profiles” can be created (e.g., low-usage or high-usage), which can be reused during each cost estimation.
  • AWS Cost Calculator is AWS only, whereas Infracost covers the costs of AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
  • AWS Cost Calculator is a free tool. Infracost offers a free Open Source version and paid management dashboards, reporting, and guardrails.

Overall, the AWS Cost calculator is designed for one-off cost estimates that can be easily shared with others via screenshots. It is best suited for new, greenfield applications that have not yet undergone engineering work.

Infracost has been designed to help engineers understand how their code changes will impact cloud costs before launching anything into production. It automates cost estimation when developing infrastructure and speeds up engineering. Since Infracost can be integrated into the CI/CD workflow, platform teams, engineering management, FinOps, and Cloud Centre of Excellence teams can design central guardrails and policies that are automatically checked against code before infrastructure changes are shipped to production.

Comparison Table

FeatureAWS Cost CalculatorInfracost
Generates cost estimatesManuallyAutomatically
Works with infra-as-codeNoYes
Cost estimate typeSnapshot cost estimate at one point in timeSnapshot estimate difference in changes being made detailed breakdown
Integrates into CI/CDNoYes
Supports enterprise discountsNoYes
IntegrationsNoneFree, Open Source, and Paid offerings
Usage profile designYes, one timeYes, reusable
Clouds supportedAWSAWS, Azure, Google Cloud
CostFreeOne-off cost estimates for green-field applications
Best suited forOne off cost estimates for green-field applicationsHelping engineers understand how their code changes will impact cloud costs as they ship.

Try Infracost now! CI/CD integrations and cost estimation are free and Open Source and can be set up in a matter of minutes:

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