This article provides an overview of the Tagging feature including a description of what Tagging is, what Tag Keys and Tag Values represent, which roles support tagging actions, and which assets users can Tag.

Content / Solution:

Introduction to Tagging

Tagging is a CloudControl function that allows you to associate additional metadata with billable Cloud assets for grouping and reporting purposes. Tagging metadata is supported for the following billable Cloud assets:

Although Tagging metadata may be used for different scenarios, one of the main benefits of the CloudControl implementation is to correlate usage patterns with the tagging metadata. Tag metadata can be included on the Detailed Usage Report described in How to Create a Detailed Usage Report to allow you to correlate usage with specific tagging metadata. For example, if you have three departments using Cloud infrastructure in your organization, you can use the tagging feature to associate each billable asset with a given department and then use the Detailed Usage Report to identify how much of your overall usage is associated with each department's assets.

Understanding Tag Keys and Tag Values

Each tag consists of a tag "key" and a "value" associated with that key. For example, if you wanted to use the tagging feature to track billable assets by department, the "key" would be "Department" and the "value" would be the specific department. So you would tag a Cloud Server owned by Marketing with (Key=Department, Value=Marketing) and tag one owned by Finance with (Key=Department, Value=Finance). You would then correlate information about which department owns which assets by filtering your assets based on the tag metadata of the "Department" key.

Tagging is the application of a Tag Key and Tag Value to an asset. Many tagging implementations are arbitrary approaches that allow users to apply any Tag Key and Tag Value as metadata to an asset. The problem with such approaches is that if users use different key conventions (or if they misspell an entry), it breaks the ability to properly correlate assets as intended. Using the above example of tagging by department, if a user tags a server with (Key=Dept, Value=Finance), then filtering by Key=Department would not identify this tag. Similarly, if a user misspells their entry and tags a server with (Key=Departmnet, Value=Finance), the same problem occurs.

To reduce the incidence of such issues, CloudControl's tagging implementation uses a structured approach to the key values. For each organization, either the Primary Administrator or a user with the "Tag" role must define the universe of Tag Keys that may be applied to billable Cloud assets. Users with these roles can choose to add, edit, or delete the universe of Tag Keys at any time.The system will allow users to tag assets only with the Tag Keys that have been defined for their organization.

Each Tag Key consists of the following:

For more details on defining and managing Tag Keys, refer to the following articles:

Tagging of Billable Cloud Assets

Once Tag Keys have been defined, any user with the role that allows them to manage a given type of asset is allowed to tag such assets using any of the defined Tag Keys. For example, a user with the Network role is allowed to tag Network Domains while a user with the Server role is allowed to tag Servers. In addition, both the Primary Administrator and users with the Tag role are allowed to tag any type of asset. Each asset that is supported for tagging in the UI has a "Tags" item in the management menu that allows you to apply tags to the asset. You can apply up to 10 tags to an asset at any given time. 

If you apply a Tag Value to an asset that is already tagged with a Tag Value, the new Tag Value will overwrite the current Tag Value. For example, if a Network Domain is currently tagged with (Key=Department, Value=Finance) and you apply (Key=Department, Value=Marketing) to it, the "Marketing" value will overwrite the "Finance" value and the asset will be considered tagged only with "Marketing". In this sense, the Apply Tagging function is both an "add" and an "edit" function.

Tags are tracked historically as of the time of tagging, so the system will remember which tags were applied to an asset at a given point in time.

The current UI functionality supports tagging of Network Domains, VLANs, Cloud Servers, Client Images, and Sub-Administrators in MCP 2.0 environments. Public IP Blocks can currently only be tagged using the Apply Tags API function. For more details, see the API 2.x documentation

For additional details and step-by-step instructions on the tagging process, see How to View and Apply Tags to your Cloud Assets.

Tagging and Detailed Usage Reporting

If a Tag Key is designated to appear on the Detailed Usage Report, a new column with the title "user: <Tag Key Name>" is added to the usage report. For each row associated with an asset and tagged with such a Tag Key, the value of the Tag Key will be displayed in that column. For example, if the "Department", "Purpose", and "Organization" Tag Keys were flagged to appear on the Detailed Usage Report, it might look like this:

As you can see, each Tag Key is represented by a column that is populated with the Tag Value (or "~unspecified~" if the Tag Key was applied without a value) only if the asset was tagged during the period of time represented by the row. The key thing to remember is that tagging is tracked historically, so Tags are displayed on the Detailed Usage Report only on rows that represent time periods when the asset was tagged.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When using the usage report to allocate usage by Tag Key, users should be aware that aggregating the usage values provided in the rows in the Detailed Usage Report will not provide an exact match to the usage totals used for billing purposes. This is due to rounding discrepancies between the two data sources. The Detailed Usage Report provides only two digits of accuracy per column, per row. Billed usage uses a higher level of granularity, but is also rounded up to the next highest integer on a per location, per day basis across all assets in a given location.

For more details of the specifics of Tagging in reporting, see How to Create a Detailed Usage Report

Tag Details

A few additional details related to tagging:

Tagging Strategies and API Possibilities

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