Using Rule-Based Dimensions to Analyze Cost

Note:Previously, you could work with rule-based dimensions using an API. Now, you can work with rule-based dimensions using the Flexera One user interface. As this is a public beta release, it is now available to all Cloud Cost Optimization customers.

Rule-based dimensions are flexible, user-defined dimensions you can use to view your organization’s cost data categorized in groups that fit your business needs. With rule-based dimensions, you can automatically group costs to a business unit, department, product, project, or any other dimension, and you can combine rules to meaningful categories for cost reporting and analysis.

You can use the rule-based dimensions to create new dimensions to look at your costs from new, meaningful perspectives. The following sections provide more information about the uses and limitations of rule-based dimensions:

Flexera One Role Prerequisite
Uses for Rule-Based Dimensions
Rules Can Change Over Time
Billing Center Support
Supported Dimensions.

You can apply rule-based dimensions on the Cloud Dashboards and the Tabular View to look at their costs from meaningful new perspectives and provide new insights important to their business. You can manage the rule-based dimensions:

On the Rule-Based Dimensions page (Administration > Cloud Settings > Rule-Based Dimensions) For more information, see Working With Rule-Based Dimensions.
Using the Rules-Based Dimensions API. For more information, see FinOps Customizations API.

Flexera One Role Prerequisite

Important:The Manage organization or Manage rule-based dimensions role is required to create and modify rule-based dimensions. For complete descriptions of each role available in Flexera One, see Flexera One Roles.

Uses for Rule-Based Dimensions

Some potential uses for rule-based dimensions to consider include the following:

Cost Center
Cost Approver
Product Group

For example, a common use case for rule-based dimensions is to create a Department or Environment dimension and define rules to map known account values to your organization’s departments or environments.

Rules Can Change Over Time

The rules for a rule-based dimension can change over time. For example, you could define a fresh rule list for each calendar month. Use the Rules List to set the Effective Month for each rule list for which you want to maintain a historical view of cloud spending.

Billing Center Support

Rule-based dimensions are powerful for slicing data across multiple dimensions. They can be used instead of billing centers. However, billing centers are still useful when you need to restrict or permit access to different sets of cost data.

Rule-based dimensions provide the potential for more flexibility and granularity compared to billing center allocations.

The rules in rule-based dimensions can refer to other rule-based dimensions, custom tag dimensions, and most other built-in dimensions (like Cloud Vendor Account, Cloud Vendor, and Resource Group). Other dimensions are not allowed.
As described earlier, rules can change over time. This allows for a different billing center allocation rule list for each month.
Costs can be assigned to billing centers in the bottom of the hierarchy, and they will automatically “trickle up” the billing center hierarchy. This dynamic is much simpler to manage than micro-managing multiple allocation tables.
Recommendations can also be assigned to billing centers using rule-based dimensions for allocation. However, recommendations have only two dimensions available for rules to match: Cloud Vendor Account and Resource Group.

Using rule-based dimensions this way would supersede billing center allocation rules—essentially overwriting its results.

Your organization may have existing billing center allocation rules. If you choose to leverage billing center-style rule-based dimensions in place of billing center allocation rules, the rule-based dimensions would take precedence over billing center allocations starting from the month identified as the rule-based dimensions Effective Month.


The following table lists the limitations of the rule-based dimensions created either through the API or in the user interface.

Rule Description Limitation

FinOps Customizations API

User Interface (Rules-Based Dimensions Page)


Rules are case-sensitive


Limitation exists

Rules are case-sensitive when created either through the API or in the UI.

Cannot use the Cloud Vendor Account Name dimension


The Cloud Vendor Account Name dimension cannot be used in rule-based dimensions. Instead, find the ID number of the account and use the Cloud Vendor Account dimension.

Create simple and basic rules

No limitation exists

No limitation exists

On the Rule-Based Dimensions page, you can only add simple and basic rules.

View and manage nested rules

No limitation exists

Limitation exists

On the Rule-Based Dimensions page, you cannot view and manage rules with nested expressions.

You can view and manage rules with nested expressions only using the Rules-Based Dimensions API.

Create a maximum of 40 dimensions

Limitation exists

Limitation exists

You can create a maximum of 40 dimensions either through the API or in the UI.

Create a maximum of 36 rules lists in each rule-based dimension

Limitation exists

Limitation exists

You can add up to 36 rules list to a rules-based dimension created either through the API or in the UI.

Maximum number of rules in a rules set

Limitation exists

Limitation exists

You can add a maximum of 15,000 rules in a rules list. However, the UI displays only 1,000 rules.


Supported Dimensions

Flexera One has the ability to define rules by a variety of dimensions. A rule's condition expression can check the value of any of the following dimensions:

Default dimensions:
Availability zone
Bill entity
Bill source
Bill account ID
Cloud vendor
Cloud vendor account
Database edition
Database engine
Deployment option
Instance type
Instance type family
Invoice ID
License model
Line item type
Meter category
Operating system
Product order name
Resource group
Resource type
Service family
Usage type
Usage unit
Any custom tag dimensions
Any other rule-based dimensions.