For many AWS users, managing multiple accounts, especially when their resource requirements scale-up, was becoming a growing challenge for various reasons. For instance, billing became complicated because of the operational overheads of the accounts.
AWS Organizations has mostly eliminated this inconvenience. Check out this post to learn what AWS Organizations is, common terminologies, benefits, features, pricing, and more.
What are AWS Organizations?
AWS Organizations is a free account management service with the help of which AWS users can consolidate multiple AWS accounts into a single organization that can be centrally managed. It allows users to handle the management processes programmatically or manually at the API level.
Apart from integrating various AWS services with multiple AWS accounts, AWS Organizations also allow users to manage user environments depending on legal, project-based, or organizational policies. As part of an organization, the AWS accounts can share security mechanisms, resources, configurations, audit requirements, and policies with other accounts and even organizations.
What is the Need for AWS Organizations?
When AWS was launched, users had individual accounts through which they used a host of AWS services. But single accounts for every user started limiting how businesses managed their security permissions, services, billings, and policies across projects and divisions.
But since the launch of cloud services by AWS, user accounts have evolved to a great extent. Unlike in the past, AWS accounts now function as a container with vast capabilities that can be managed and governed across accounts that share a single centralized environment. And AWS Organizations have played a critical role in the process.
Terminologies in AWS Organizations
Here are some of the terminologies you should be aware of before using AWS Organizations
An organization is that entity you create with the combination of multiple AWS accounts. Once these accounts are part of the organization, they can be centrally managed.
A root is the parent container for holding the consolidated accounts within an organization. When you create an organization, AWS will automatically create a root user account.
- Organization Unit (OU)
OU is responsible for holding multiple accounts inside a root. You can also create hierarchies by adding multiple OUs within a single OU. If we create the hierarchy tree of an OU, it’ll be an inverted one with the root taking the top spot, OUs being the branches, and accounts being the leaves.
This is your standard AWS account with all the AWS resources. You can either invite other accounts to join an organization or create new accounts. It is also worth noting that the account you use for creating an organization is known as the “master account,” while the accounts that are part of the organization are “member accounts.”
The master account is allowed to send invitations to other AWS accounts to join the organization. The invited account can accept the invitation and become a member account.
When two parties that are part of an organization share information, it is known as a handshake.
- Service Control Policy (SCP)
SCP specifies the actions and services that roles and users are allowed to use in their AWS accounts. While SCPs are similar to the permission policies of AWS IAM (Identity and Access Management), they don’t issue any permissions. They only specify maximum permissions granted to an organization, accounts, and OUs.
Top Features of AWS Organizations
With AWS Organizations, AWS users can create a single organization that can be made up of multiple individual AWS user accounts. The organization allows central provisioning of all the policies and services. More importantly, it also maintains a single bill for the organization and the accounts that it contains.
Here are some of the noteworthy features of AWS Organizations-
- Multiple AWS Account Management in Separate Environments
With AWS Organizations, you can establish boundaries regarding services, resources, and policies that are used across all the participating OUs.
- Control Permissions and Access
It also allows you to enforce IAM policies across projects, business divisions, and teams.
- Resource Sharing
The accounts that are part of an organization can share their resources within and even beyond their organization.
- Consolidated Billing
AWS Organizations also eliminate individual billing for each user account, which becomes a challenging task for growing businesses. Instead, it will only generate a single consolidated bill to make it easier for businesses to manage, track, and optimize usage.
Benefits of AWS Organizations
So, what are the advantages of using AWS Organizations? Take a look-
- Easy Categorization and Discovery of Services
AWS Organizations make it easier for users to programmatically search and allocate AWS services through APIs, GUIs, and CLIs.
- Applying Boundaries to Policies
The various projects of an organization are generally exposed to significantly varying compliance and security requirements. With AWS Organizations, it is possible to apply boundaries to every aspect of policies that govern the projects.
- Isolate User Accounts to Contain Damage
In case of an account compromise, only the resources that are assigned to the compromised account are exposed to the risk.
- Seamless Management of Resources and Billing
User accounts are allowed to switch between accounts of the same organization for optimal utilization of resources and cost savings.
- AWS Service Integration
AWS Organizations also allow you to access various AWS services that can be utilized for performing a host of tasks in all the AWS accounts that belong to the same organization. You can check the official release on AWS services that are compatible with AWS Organizations here.
AWS Organizations Pricing
AWS Organizations is a free service offered by AWS. Therefore, you’ll only be required to pay for the AWS resources utilized by the member accounts of your organization. For instance, if the member accounts use Amazon EC2 instances, you’ll have to pay the applicable charges for using EC2 but no additional charges for using AWS Organizations.
If you’re searching for a solution to simplify multiple AWS account management, especially if you’re a FinOps practitioner, AWS Organizations can help. It enables you to establish a multi-dimensional and well-defined hierarchy for all the cost centers throughout your business.
Even security and infrastructure stakeholders can rely on AWS Organizations to intelligently and safely control resource access to individual AWS accounts without obstructing the financial policies. And as AWS Organizations is a free service, you don’t need to worry about the additional costs.