Thought Leadership

Does your Metering Service do this?

October 25, 2021

How does - $0.01 (1 cent) per 1,000 meter events and first 10,000 meter events every month FREE sound to you?

Meter anything from IOT, Cloud Infrastructure, Platform, System, Applications to APIs.

Scale from thousands to billions of meter events. Amberflo Metering and Billing Service automatically scales with rate of ingestion.

One of the core design principles of a Cloud Metering Service Platform is to guarantee accuracy.

Data deduplication is a technique for eliminating duplicate copies of repeating data. This can be a common occurrence, depending on the source generating the meters, and is challenging to guarantee deduplication if the processing system (Cloud Metering Service Platform) itself is a highly distributed stateless system. In a distributed system, any part of the system or node can fail anytime and if it fails mid-stream as data is undergoing transformation or processing, it makes it very hard to "guarantee" data deduplication.

This is just one of the artifacts a modern Usage Metering Service needs to deliver.  Taken as a whole, below is what we consider from our experience, on the starting point for a Metering Service to call itself modern, reliable, scalable, and accurate.

1. Idempotency

A record is processed once, and once only.

That is, it cannot, not be processed. It must be processed. And it cannot be processed twice (or more than once). It must be processed, once and once only.

Example: If a valid record is ingested and fails mid-stream through processing, it still needs to be accounted for correctly (counted and processed once, and once only. No drops and no double counting). Amberflo Cloud Metering Service Platform provides you this guarantee out of the box.

2. Data deduplication

In metering, it is common for the source (client generating the meters) to send duplicate meters. Because the cloud metering service serves as the system of record and the single source of truth for usage and consumption data, duplicate records have be be de-duped.

Data deduplication is a core platform tenet to deliver accurate usage data to downstream systems such as pricing, billing, and others.

Amberflo Cloud Metering Service Platform provides you out of the box data deduplication guarantee.  See API Guide more details

3. As little as 1/10th to 1/100th  the cost of a Time Series Databases

Usage meter events are streamed and gathered over a time series. Standalone Time Stream databases are purpose built to optimize storage and retrieval (time range queries) with added data processing functions. However, it comes with a big cost. Time Series specific databases can be anywhere from 10X to 100X more expensive than traditional databases.

Additionally, long-time range queries tend to get exponentially expensive with traditional time series databases.

Amberflo Cloud Metering Service provides full time series functions over meter data, with included features and functions for data grouping and aggregation at 1/10th the cost of traditional time series databases. We invite you to contact us for benchmarks.

4. No charge for queries

No distinction between short-range and long-range (time) queries. We don’t charge for queries!

Keeping data available for real-time, long-range queries in a traditional time stream database gets prohibitively expensive.  Almost all cloud based time series databases charge on multiple dimensions - ingestion, storage, and most certainly queries (number and types of queries).

Amberflo’s Metering Service provides you, out of the box, with a SQL interface and dashboards (in the form of a real-time Usage Explorer) for no added cost! With unlimited queries.

We invested time and resources in architecting and building from the ground up our own Meter Storage and Retrieval System. Such gains are only possible because of it.

5. System of Record (SOR) for Usage and Consumption Data

A system can only become a System of Record (SOR) if it is capable of operating as a system of record. While there is no one official definition of the prerequisites to classify a system, a SOR, at a minimum, the system must demonstrate - scalability, durability, redundancy, availability, access controls, and standardized interfaces.

Amberflo’s Metering Service delivers on all of the prerequisites, so you don’t have to spend the time and resources to do so.

6. Serves as the Single Source of Truth

Independent of being a System of Record (data store), if the quality of data (data quality) is in question, then the system cannot be deemed as the source of truth for the dataset in question.

Built on the core tenets of idempotency, and data deduplication, Amberflo’s Metering Service is designed to serve as the single Source of Truth for usage and consumption data, across your business and technology stack. Usage data  can be used not just for pricing and billing, but for any other downstream system, application, or constituents.

7. Flexible Schema

Meter any resource type from any system.  Our meter data structure provides the right balance of schema and schema-less. The schema-less construct (known as dimensions) enables you to associate additional and custom metadata, in the form of key-value pairs, to give you full flexibility in building a ready and scalable data store of usage metering events.

It enables you to deploy a standardized metering infrastructure and interface across your entire technology stack for all types of products, services and applications.

8. Automatic Grouping of Meter Events

As part of the meter ingestion pipeline, we automatically sort and group meter events by dimensions (see Flexibly Schema) and prepare them for real-time access for time series.

9. Automatic Aggregation of Meter Values

As part of the meter ingestion pipeline, we also automatically aggregate meter values and prepare them for real-time access for time series.

10. API First with Rich, language specific SDKs

We are an API First platform. All interfaces are exposed via APIs, a core tenet of a platform approach.

Additionally, we provide a continuously expanding list of rich language specific SDKs to provide enhanced API interaction functions and features such as -

  • Batching of meter events
  • Flushing
  • Error codes, and more.

11. Standard SQL Interface

A System of Record can only come to life if the data is readily and easily accessible. We provide a standard SQL query interface for Usage data extraction from our Metering Service.

12. Usage Explorer

A modern, real-time Usage Explorer Dashboard interface comes standard.  When we say, simply send the meter to us and Amberflo takes care of the rest, we mean it.

13. Real-time Alerts and Notifications

One of the big asks from  customers is to have visibility into sudden changes to usage and costs. We provide a built-in full featured and configurable Alerts and Notifications service that operates in real-time as changes to usage and cost occur. Notifications can be sent via different mediums, including Webhooks.

With Amberflo you can keep both internal teams and customers notified of changes and eliminate surprises.

14. Highly Scalable and Durable

Leave the heavy lifting of scalability and durability to us. With Amberflo you don’t have to worry about data partitioning, indexing, latency, redundancy, and data durability. We handle all of that for you behind the scenes. To you, we offer and operate as a fully scalable and durable serverless cloud service.

15. Highly Available (uptime)

None of the aforementioned features matter if the service is not highly available. We provide enterprise grade availability SLAs. Contact us to learn more about the details.

16. Real-time in all aspects

One of the biggest changes of shifting from a traditional recurring subscription model to a Usage-Based model is, unlike subscription, in Usage-Based things are operating in an “always-on” mode. Usage can occur (or not occur) at any time. Ability to operate the metering event lifecycle in real-time is hugely important to modern day cloud businesses.

Amberflo’s Metering Service operates from meter ingestion, aggregation, transformation, and extraction in real-time.

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