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Getting hands-on with QuickSight at AWS re:Invent 2021

Jess Alvarez
Jess Alvarez

First, let me start off by saying AWS re:Invent 2021 is absolutely amazing! Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s talk about a workshop I attended at re:Invent: Build Your Own Customizable Cost Reporting Dashboards.


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I picked this session to get hands on with some cost services and dive in a bit deeper on Amazon QuickSight, which is extraordinarily helpful and surprisingly easy to customize and use.

The workshop provided us with a JSON template to launch the bare minimum infrastructure necessary to be able to go in and have data for our dashboards to use.

If you’re not familiar with Amazon QuickSight, it’s a serverless Business Intelligence (BI) service. It allows everyone to understand your data by asking questions in natural language, utilizing interactive dashboards, or automatically finding patterns and outliers powered by machine learning. You can share dashboards, pull it as a report, pin your controls or leave them on the main page, and customize controls, which help filter the information you need to visualize.

The workshop I attended allowed us to customize a bar and line graph that was already in place, customize controls by adding a new one, and creating a new visual.

We added a new tab to specifically view Chargebacks to customers. That specific use case would be helpful to use if your company needs to be able to charge your customers correctly for usage. The visuals reminded me of Kibana, but with waaaaaay more customizability.

You can choose what data to pull and how to group that data so that it can translate into the visual that best depicts the data you need to show.

For instance, if you need to see a month-over-month visual, you might use a table like the one shown below to better understand how each month is impacting your costs.

If you would like to see how your usage of spot, on-demand, and savings plan compute costs make up your monthly costs, you could use a donut graph as shown below.

The options available for you to visualize your data are plentiful!

To further understand the framework of the Cost Intelligence Dashboards, take a look at this diagram.

You would start with your Cost and Usage Report (CUR) or Trusted Advisor Organizational Report and set up your CID Framework using SQL queries, Amazon’s Athena, Glue, and QuickSight services.

Each of these services can play a role in pulling data to input into your dashboards.

All in all, the workshop was fun, and having someone available to help if you got stuck or had questions as you went through the steps was an incredible experience.

I hope this information helps you understand Amazon’s QuickSight service a bit more. And if you’re able to get hands-on with it, hopefully, you can navigate it a bit easier. Thanks for reading, and keep being awesome, cloud gurus!

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