Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Billing the cloud - StratosLive invoice - What does it contain?

StratosLive is a complete Open PaaS from WSO2. It comes up with its own billing component to bill the tenants for using the cloud. If you have tried out StratosLive, you must have received a monthly invoice for using it. Although you receive an invoice it does not means StratosLive charges for everything. If you want you can sign up for a Demo account which is free or else you can sign up for a paid account with more privileges to consume resources.

StratosLive's billing is based on two parameters.

1.Subscription of the tenant – When you sign up to use StratosLive you can select a usage plan. You can change this usage plan whenever needed. There is a monthly subscription fee associated with the plans.

2.Resource usage – When you select a usage plan, there is a set of resources which can be used under that plan. If you happen to consume resources more than the amount allowed, the excess usage will be charged.

Invoice is generated on the last day of the month and you are notified via email once it is available. Shown below is a sample invoice and I'll describe what is included in it. You can view the invoice in StratosLive Manager's Home → Billing & Metering → Past Invoices.

Following information is available in the invoice.

A) Invoice number

B) Invoice period (i.e. for which time period does this invoice applicable) and Invoice date – date which the invoice was generated

C) Subscription fees for the subscriptions you have used during the period. For example if you have sticked to the same subscription there will be one entry for this. But in this sample invoice, the user has used a SMB usage plan for 5 days and then has changed it to a Demo usage plan. Therefore there are two entries for subscription fee section. It is important to notice that the subscription fee is calculated only for the number of days which you were subscribed in to it.

D) Over usage charges – At the time of bill generation, users usage data is retrieved by the billing engine and compares it with the allowed usage limits for the active subscription at that time. If the user has exceeded the allowed limit, excess usage is charged. Charging the excess usage depends on the desire of the cloud owner. For example, in the above invoice, the tenant has consumed 32MB of excess storage. But it is not being charged. Over use charges are calculated for Bandwidth and Storage. Invoice clearly mentions how much is charged for each of them.

E) Payment details within the period – If you did a payment for your previous invoice, it should clearly be mentioned in this invoice. You can see it in the sample invoice too.

F) Finally, there is a summary which includes the Brought Forward value, Total cost for this period, Total payments during this period and the Carried forward value.

G) After all those details, you get the Paypal button to pay the invoice securely.

Interim Invoice

You will not find this facility in many billing systems. But StratosLive provides you to view your cost for using it up to this moment. Interim invoice shows your costs from the last invoice date to this moment. Many cloud services only provides you the monthly invoice at the end of the month. But we provide you the invoice on demand.

If you have been charged for over using resources, you can check whether the excess usage amounts mentioned in the invoice are accurate by going through you usage report for the month. Usage report can be found at Home →Billing & Metering →Usage Report

1 comment:

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