This quickstart shows you how to track your cloud spend in one or across multiple cloud platforms; create customer-specific pricebooks; generate bills across clouds; and manage a unified view of your costs and usage for specific customers or categories.

What you'll learn

How will you use this quickstart?

Only read through it Read it and complete the exercises

Account: Sometimes called "cloud account," but can be any customer account. A customer account defined in Orbitera is a bucket that contains all usage charges. In Google, an account is called a GCP project. In Microsoft Azure, it's an Azure subscription. In AWS, it's a linked account.

Admin: A user who can log in to the Orbitera admin console. Admins are configured in the admin console at Settings > Users. Admin roles are User or Owner. An Owner can modify all settings. A User has the same capability, but can't add new Users.

Channel partner: A generic term that can apply to a distributor, reseller, systems integrator, or vendor. A business that partners with a manufacturer to market and sell the manufacturer's products, services, or technologies.

Cloud provider: A business that offers cloud computing – typically, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) – to other businesses or individuals. Cloud providers are sometimes referred to as cloud service providers or CSPs. Examples of cloud providers are Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Customer: Individuals or businesses that purchase cloud products from resellers or sometimes directly from distributors. Customers can purchase or test drive products on an Orbitera-powered marketplace. From a billing perspective, you can think of an Orbitera customer as a bucket that can contain account usage charges, thus enabling you to manage billing across multiple channels. You can assign one or many accounts to a customer.

Distributor: A business that helps channel partners find the right cloud offering for their customers and also provides deployment and support services. Compared to a reseller, a distributor implies a closer relationship with the manufacturer. Essentially, a distributor buys directly from a manufacturer and sells to either resellers or, sometimes, the end user directly.

End user: Someone who uses cloud resources.

Individual software vendor: An individual or business that builds, develops, and sells consumer or enterprise software. Although ISV-provided software is consumed by end users, it remains the property of the vendor. An ISV is also known as a software publisher.

Partner: A distributor or a reseller.

Reseller: A business that typically buys from a distributor and sells directly to their customers, who are end users.

A billing import job reads usage data from accounts into Orbitera's billing system. The accounts can be from GCP, AWS, Azure, IBM, software as a service (SAAS) providers, and so on.

After importing the usage data, channel partners can access the data and apply custom pricing.

For most platforms, Orbitera uses identity and access management (IAM), where the account holder grants Orbitera a role through IAM for Orbitera to access the account as a third party. The IAM framework provides logging and security protocols built into the various cloud provider systems. This means you can revoke Orbitera access at any time. You control access to your data.

Before you begin

Make sure you have granted Orbitera credentials for the cloud provider platform from which you will be importing cloud usage data.

See:


Billing > Imports

  1. Click New Job.
  2. Choose a data source from the list of preexisting importers.
  3. Enter your account credentials.
  4. Click Test Permissions to make sure your credentials work.
  5. Choose a recurrence setting to control how often the data is retrieved.
  1. Set the billing month and the date/time for the next import process to run.
    You cannot import usage data from before billing history began in the cloud provider's platform.

    If you want to import past months, you can specify which month. Orbitera then reimports data the next time the job starts.
  1. (Optional) After saving the billing job, you can manually kick off an import process by choosing Edit > Start.

    The status will say Starting, then Processing, then Complete. Most jobs finish within 10 minutes, but some can take more than an hour.

Example

You can think of an Orbitera customer as a bucket that can contain account usage charges, thus enabling you to manage billing across multiple channels. You can assign one or many accounts to a customer, and then pool or aggregate usage across multiple cloud providers.

You can have a 1:1 customer-to-account relationship, or a 1:many customer-to-account relationship.

This is good for you as a provider of software and services, because you can make your software available on multiple clouds, your customers can access your software from these different clouds, and you can provide one integrated bill to your customer for all usage charges. If your customer accesses your software from multiple channels/clouds, you can present a unified billing experience.

Customers

  1. Click Add.
  2. Enter the customer information.

Example

In Settings > Billing > Cloud Accounts, you can see all accounts that have been detected. Those that are in an unassigned state need to be assigned.

The following procedure assigns an account to a customer. You can assign multiple accounts to a single customer. You cannot assign a single account to multiple customers.

Customers

  1. Select a customer, and double-click to edit.
  2. In Cloud accounts, click Add.
  3. Select the cloud provider.
  1. Select an Account ID or New Account.

    If you select New Account, you are prompted to manually enter the account ID. You would do this if you haven't yet imported the billing data for the account.
  2. Set optional values:

By default, customers are assigned public pricing. In Customers > {customer} > Cloud providers, the default selection is the master price book, which is the public price book. The master price book lists each cloud vendor's current, publicly published pricing for the underlying SKUs (typically, thousands of SKUs) that are in the cloud providers' price books.

The SKUs in the master price book include all the products and services that the cloud provider bills for.

In the master price book, you can browse to the lowest-level metric (a SKU) that has a price associated with it for any usage.

When you create custom pricing, you can think of the master as a sort of pivot point or template.

With a custom price book, you define a global default setting that adds an uplift or discount to every SKU in a master price book. For example, you can add a 5% uplift to all SKUs in GCP, Azure, or AWS.

In a multi-tier ecosystem, channel partners can have their own custom pricing.

After you create a custom price book, it needs to be applied to your customers to take effect. Pricing is applied to data during an import. If you want to change pricing for a past month, you need to reimport that month with the new price setting.

Keep in mind that you can create an unlimited number of custom price books and apply each one to a different target group or customer class. The usage feed allows for multi-tiered different levels of discounting for cloud and SaaS services.

Orbitera offers two types of price books:

SaaS price books work the same way as cloud price books, except they typically have fewer SKUs.

Products > Cloud price books

- OR -

Products > SaaS price books

  1. Select an existing price book, typically the master, and click Duplicate.
    You can think of the custom price book as being a child in a parent/child relationship, where the price book you're duplicating is the parent.
  2. Enter a descriptive name for the custom price book.
  3. Assign a global uplift or discount in relation to the parent (master).

    For example, this custom price book uses the GCP base cost and adds an adjusted uplift of 5% for managed service fees. Rather than having the service fee as an explicit line item support charge, this custom price book restates all pricing that includes that service.


  1. (Optional) Enable the Pass-through supplier cost.

    Select this option if you've negotiated special, non-standard pricing. The pass-through supplier cost allows Orbitera to detect negotiated pricing in BigQuery and then apply a global uplift or discount relative to the special pricing that you're receiving.

    Enterprises generally aren't trying to maximize profits when managing internal users using Orbitera. They are simply using Orbitera for cost management, in which case the software is not recalculating cost, but allocating (passing through) the charges.

If you don't select Pass-through supplier cost, the uplift or discount is applied relative to the master's public street pricing, regardless of what you're paying for products and services.

Example

When you look at the custom price book and drill down to a SKU, you can see that you have the base cost from the cloud or SaaS provider, the global adjustment, and the new final price.

With SKU-level adjustments, you can apply discounts or uplifts for specific classifications, vendors, and customer groups. This flexibility allows for targeted promotions at the SKU level.

In a custom price book, the adjustment fields are editable, so you can refine the price on any product or service, thus overriding the global default setting by giving a particular SKU a different uplift or discount.

SKU-level adjustments are currently only supported in the UI. The Orbitera API does not yet support configuring SKU-level adjustments.

Option: Default

Adjusts pricing as defined in the global custom price book. The default is always a percent increase or decrease relative to the provider's current price.

Option: %

Adjusts pricing for a given SKU by applying a different percent increase or decrease that overrides the custom price book's default percentage.

Option: Delta

Instead of using a percentage, sets a price difference for a given SKU relative to the provider's current base cost. For example, you can add an adjustment of 1 cent per hour to the base cost charge.

Option: Fixed

Instead of allowing the adjustment to change automatically when the service provider's base cost changes, sets a fixed cost, regardless of the provider's cost. The use case for this is if you're working with a contract that negotiates some fixed rate.

Customers > {customer}

  1. Click Cloud providers.
  2. Select a cloud provider to edit.
  3. Assign a cloud or SaaS price book to the customer.

Now you have changed how the customer's usage data is rated going forward.

Example

Retrigger the import job

In order for the new pricing to be applied to the customer's usage data, you need to retrigger the import job.

Billing > Imports

  1. Select the import job and click Edit.
  2. Set the Import Month to the current month and click Save.
  3. Click Edit > Start.

When this job completes, it's going to rerate all of the usage and assign it to the customer.

When you look at a billing report, you can see the cost that the provider is charging you, and the cost that you are charging your customer. From the billing report, you can generate an invoice.

Billing reports show inventory and customer usage data, including any uplifted or discounted pricing that you've configured.

Billing report information includes:

If you drill down in a report, you can see detailed usage data.

Generate a report

Reports

Select the report type.

The report automatically populates with the most recent month's data and a default set of columns.

Customize a report

You can modify the content and layout of a report to control how data is presented.

Having flexibility in how reports are grouped and structured allows you to map the invoice data and usage data that you're getting from Orbitera into how your organization processes information through your billing, financial, and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

The following operations assume that you are already viewing a report. Each operation is independent and can be performed in any order. Successive operations are cumulative.

Export as CSV

Download a .csv file containing comma-separated values. CSV reports reflect the currently selected UI columns, date range, and filter settings. The file contains exactly the same data as the report.

  1. In the upper-right corner of a report, open the vertical ellipsis menu.
  2. Select Export as CSV.
  3. The CSV file is downloaded to your system.

Update Report Filters

Regenerate the report with more limited data.

  1. In the upper-right corner of a report, open the vertical ellipsis menu.
  2. Select Update Report Filters.
    This activates submenus where you can add filters.
  3. Select values from one or more of the available filters.
  4. Click outside of a filter to close it.
  5. Click Apply Filters.

The report repopulates with the selected filters applied.

Manage report columns

You can add, remove, and reorder columns.

To generate a new report defined by a custom selection of columns:

  1. In the upper-right corner of a report, open the vertical ellipsis menu.
  2. Select Manage Report Columns.
  3. Click a column name in the left column and click Add to add a column.

Columns that are currently selected for grouping data do not appear in this dialog.

  1. Click a column name in the right column and click Remove to remove a column.
  2. Click a column name in the right column and click the up and down arrows to reorder the columns.
  3. Click Update Report.
    The report repopulates with the selected columns.
    Non-grouping, non-aggregatable columns only show values when the row is fully expanded.

Manage report grouping

You can regenerate the report with the data grouped differently by adding, removing, or reordering the columns that are used for grouping the data.

Data cannot be grouped by metrics, such as cost.

  1. In the upper-right corner of a report, open the vertical ellipsis menu.
  2. Select Manage Report Grouping.
  3. Click a column name in the left column and click Add to cause the report to group data using the column.
  4. Click a column name in the right column and click Remove to cause the report to stop grouping data using the column.
  5. Click a column name in the right column and click the up and down arrows to change the order in which the report groups the data.
  6. Click Update Report.
    The report repopulates with the selected groupings.

Some columns are automatically added to the selected list if other columns rely on them. For example, if Usage is selected, Usage Type will be added. If a column is added and the required other column hasn't been selected, the other column is added as if it were selected.

Customize report date range

By default, system reports show the most recent month's data. You can regenerate the report with a different date range.

  1. Navigate to a report.
  2. In the upper-left corner of a report:

Select a date range from the dropdown menu.

Or select Custom to set a custom date range by entering start and end dates.

The report repopulates with the new date range.

Customize report currencies

You can convert any billing report to another currency, such as Euros, Indian rupees, Australian dollars, and so on.

The currency dropdown appears if the account has currencies defined in Settings > Billing > Currencies page.

To change the currency in which the report data is displayed:

  1. Navigate to a billing report.
  2. In the upper-right corner, click the currency dropdown to display all of the available currencies.
  3. Select the desired currency.

The report repopulates with the same data, converted to the selected currency.

Create a new report or Save changes to a report

Each report type has a system version, which you can use as a template. You can then save your report settings – date range, currency, column selections, and so on – as a named report.

Create a new report

  1. Navigate to a report.
  2. Set your filters, date range, selected columns, and column groupings.
  3. In the upper-right corner, click Save Report.
  4. Click Create New Report.
  5. Provide a name for your new report.
  6. Click Save.

The report reloads with the new report name.

Your report with the custom configuration now appears in the list of available reports.

Overwrite the report with new settings (non-system reports only)

  1. Navigate to a saved report.
  2. Set your filters, date range, selected columns, and column groupings.
  3. In the upper-right corner, click Save Report.
  4. Click Save.

The next time you open this saved report, it will use the new custom configuration.

Delete a report

You can delete custom reports, but not system reports.

  1. Navigate to a saved report.
  2. In the upper-right corner, click Delete Report.
  3. When prompted to confirm the deletion, click Yes.

You can create invoices that capture the data in billing reports.

Typically, managed service providers use the Orbitera API to generate invoices on a monthly basis. You also have the option to use the UI to generate an invoice.

  1. In Reports, navigate to a billing report.
  2. Select one or more customers by clicking the checkboxes.
  1. In the vertical ellipsis menu, select Generate Invoices.

In an invoice, you can:

Apply any credits

Regardless of which cloud a credit was earned on, you can apply a credit to any invoice.

For example, you could take a credit that's earned by a customer on AWS and apply it to their GCP invoice, if you are the reseller for both of those products.

Include tax

Generate the invoice with taxes.

You can define tax rates in Settings > Taxes and in Customers > {selected-customer} > Taxes.

Include marketplace fees

Generate the invoice with marketplace fees.

  1. Click Preview Invoices.
  2. You can perform the following actions.

Approve all

Approve all of the draft invoices so you can send them to the selected customers.

Delete

Delete the draft invoice.

View

Review the selected invoice in draft form.

Approve

Approve a draft invoice so you can send it to your customer.

Finish

Finish previewing invoices and return to the reports page.

When you click View, the report is displayed in draft status, meaning that if you are using the Orbitera front end to allow customers to log in, the report would not be visible to the customer. This allows you to review invoice data before sending it to your customers.

Invoices include customer contact information and also your public profile data – your logo and contact information configured in Settings > Account information.

Invoices are organized by product type.

You can change the invoice status to the following states:

Draft

When you're not ready to make the invoice visible to customers.

Open

When you are ready to make the invoice visible to customers. When the state changes to open, Orbitera can send an automated email notification to the customer. The email can contain a link that opens the customer account. See Settings > Email templates > New customer invoice (or New reseller invoice).

Orbitera does not send the invoice directly through email, as this would be insecure.

Closed

When the invoice has been paid.

Past due

When the invoice isn't paid on or before the due date.

You can also download a CSV or PDF of the invoice.

You've successfully configured multi-cloud billing.

In this quickstart you learned how to:

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