Content, Channel partners, CSPs, Small business

Free Cloud Usage, Cost Estimator Tool for Small Businesses

Canada is making a push to get more small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) into the cloud. But the country also knows SMEs will need to keep their cloud services costs under control. That set the stage for CloudTracker, a free metrics reporting tool from CANARIE, a non-profit, government-funded organization.

CloudTracker works CANARIE’s free DAIR Cloud. Using those offerings in tandem, organizations can build and prototype their services. CloudTracker lets businesses monitor their projects' cloud instances for resource utilization and create historical usage reports. By applying commercial cloud prices, SMEs can identify the commercial cloud provider whose pricing model best matches their needs.

In theory, that means CANARIE is eliminating the "mystery" of usage-based cloud pricing. After all, pricing models can vary based on monthly compute, storage and bandwidth consumption.

Qualifying businesses who would like to use the DAIR Cloud for development and testing need to submit a short application. Those approved receive a one-year, renewable term to access the tool. CANARIE says most businesses opt to move their product onto a commercial cloud.


CANARIE, launched in 1993, receives most of its funding from the Canadian government. The organization, along with 12 of the country’s provinces and territories, form Canada’s National Research and Education Network (NREN), which provides an ultra high-speed network to universities, colleges, research institutes, hospitals, and government laboratories to foster cooperation within the country and abroad.

CANARIE’s DAIR Cloud is free to use for Canadian startups and small business with fewer than 500 employees. More than 900 companies have taken advantage of the service. CANARIE also has a hand in in funding and promoting reusable research software tools “to accelerate scientific discovery.”

More Cloud Cost Management Tools

Cloud cost management and monitoring tools are increasingly popular. Potential options for channel partners and MSPs include:

  • Microsoft in June 2017 acquired Cloudyn, which develops cloud monitoring and cost management tools for Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, OpenStack and more. Pundits believe Microsoft will now focus the tool on Azure.
  • Kaseya in May 2017 acquired Unigma, which also develops cloud cost management tools for Azure, AWS and Google.
  • Keep a close eye on Autotask and SpinPanel — which may be partnering (or far more) to address Microsoft Office 365 and Azure cloud management for MSPs and IT service providers.