Effective cost management is critical for organizations to optimize their cloud spending and align it with business objectives. FinOps, a methodology that brings together finance, operations, and technology teams to manage cloud costs effectively, emphasizes the importance of a well-structured business unit hierarchy and robust cost-tagging practices. FinOps as Code takes this methodology one step further and uses Infrastructure as Code principles to re-create your business structure in a third-party cost optimization tool, like Vantage, so you can visualize your organization’s structure alongside accrued costs. In this post, we’ll use Terraform to demonstrate how to set up an organization structure within Vantage.

If you are just getting started with Terraform, see our introduction to Terraform and FinOps as Code.

The Scenario: Use Terraform to Set Up Your Organization Structure

You have just started using Vantage. Your organization has a structure where high-level business units comprise multiple teams. Each team has a designated cost center. You want to view costs per team/cost center. Different stakeholders—such as management seeking high-level insights and engineers requiring detailed technical data—often have distinct preferences for the types and granularity of reports they rely on for decision-making. With this point in mind, you also want to create dashboards for each business unit that contain all team visualizations.

You have a structured YAML file that contains your organization map. We’ll use Terraform to iterate over that map and create corresponding Vantage resources, as depicted in the diagram below.

A diagram that starts with a YAML icon. YAML points to the Terraform logo. The Terraform logo has one arrow that points to the Vantage logo, which is in a box. Under the Vantage logo is an arrow that points to one set of three folder icons that say Business Unit Folders. Another arrow points to three report icons that say Team Cost/Center Cost Reports. A third arrow points to three dashboard icons that say Business Unit Dashboards.

Workflow diagram of Terraform–Vantage cost reporting structure

In this demo, we’ll use the Vantage Terraform provider to complete the following steps:

  • Create a set of folders in Vantage for each business unit.
  • Create a set of Cost Reports for each team.
    • Your company tags resources based on a cost_center tag. Each team’s Cost Report will be filtered by its corresponding cost_center tag to include only costs attributed to that team/cost center.
  • Create a dashboard for each business unit that contains the Cost Reports for its associated teams.

We’ll use the below example organization structure—yet, envision this structure on a larger scale to truly appreciate the power of automation and Terraform.

    business_unit: Cybersecurity
    team: Security Operations

    business_unit: Financial Technology
    team: Payment Processing

    business_unit: Financial Technology
    team: Account Management

    business_unit: Infrastructure Services
    team: Network Operations

    business_unit: Infrastructure Services
    team: Data Center Management

    business_unit: Engineering
    team: Software Engineering

    business_unit: Engineering
    team: Hardware Engineering

    business_unit: Research & Development
    team: Research Labs

    business_unit: Research & Development
    team: Innovation Center

    business_unit: Marketing
    team: Brand Management

    business_unit: Marketing
    team: Market Research

Prerequisites: Terraform and Vantage

This tutorial assumes you have an intermediate knowledge of Terraform. You should know how to create a basic configuration, have a basic understanding of for_each loops, and an understanding of how to use variables.

For Vantage, you’ll need to be an organization owner with an active account and at least one provider connected. You’ll also need a Vantage API token with READ and WRITE scopes enabled.

Demo: Automate Cost Reporting with Terraform

All demo files are also included in the FinOps as Code demo repo.

Export your Vantage API token as an environment variable.


Create a new project directory and move to it.

mkdir vantage-structure && cd vantage-structure

Ensure the YAML file is saved to this directory. (In this demo, we’ll refer to this file as cost-centers.yaml.)

Create a Terraform configuration file and call it vantage.tf. Create variables.tf to store Vantage configuration variables.

touch vantage.tf
touch variables.tf
touch providers.tf

Add the following variable block to variables.tf. The workspace_token is a Vantage workspace your organization uses (e.g., wrkspc_12345) and is where all folders and cost resources will be created. Navigate to the Workspace settings screen in Vantage and copy this token.

variable "workspace_token" {
  type        = string
  description = "Vantage workspace token"
  default     = "<YOUR_VANTAGE_WORKSPACE>"

Step 1: Set Up the Provider Configuration

Open providers.tf and declare the Vantage provider. No additional provider configuration options are needed for Vantage.

terraform {
  required_providers {
    vantage = {
      source = "vantage-sh/vantage"

Save the file and run the init command to initialize the configuration and download the latest provider.

terraform init

Step 2: Create Local Variables to Store YAML Data

To iterate over the YAML structure, create two local variables in vantage.tf.

locals {
  cost_centers   = yamldecode(file("cost-centers.yaml")).cost_centers
  business_units = toset([for k, cost_center in local.cost_centers : cost_center.business_unit])

local.cost_centers decodes the contents of the YAML file with the yamldecode Terraform function. This process transforms the YAML data into a structured map format, where each key represents a unique cost center identifier, and its associated value is a nested map containing the business_unit and team. The example below demonstrates the structure of this variable.

cost_centers = {
    account-management-cc     = {
        business_unit = "Financial Technology"
        team          = "Account Management"
    brand-management-platform-cc = {
        business_unit = "Marketing"
        team          = "Brand Management"

local.business_units creates a set of unique business units (six in this example) based on local.cost_centers. The example below demonstrates the structure of this variable.

business_units = [
    "Financial Technology",
    "Infrastructure Services",
    "Research & Development",

Step 3: Create the Business Unit Folders

To create the folders for each business unit, use a for_each loop to iterate over the local.business_units variable. Use the vantage_folder resource and assign the folders to the workspace_token you previously saved.

resource "vantage_folder" "bu_folders" {
  for_each        = local.business_units
  title           = "${each.value} Folder"
  workspace_token = var.workspace_token

Step 4: Create the Team/Cost Center Cost Reports

Create the team/cost center Cost Reports with the vantage_cost_report resource.

  • Iterate over the local.cost_centers variable, accessing the team attribute as the value for the report title.
  • Use the below expression for folder_token to dynamically retrieve the token of the folder associated with each team/cost center’s business unit.
  • Configure the filter parameter to use VQL—or Vantage Query Language—to create a filtered report. In this scenario, your organization uses GCP labels to tag resources by cost center. The VQL expression filters the Cost Report for GCP costs tagged with the team’s associated cost_center (each.key).
resource "vantage_cost_report" "team_reports" {
  for_each     = local.cost_centers
  title        = "${each.value.team} Cost Report"
  folder_token = vantage_folder.bu_folders[each.value.business_unit].token
  filter       = "costs.provider = 'gcp' AND (tags.name, tags.value) IN (('cost_center', '${each.key}'))"

Step 5: Create the Business Unit Dashboards

The last step is to create a dashboard for each business unit that contains associated team/cost center Cost Reports. Use the vantage_dashboard resource. Each dashboard should display each Cost Report with the last six months of data, grouped by week.

  • Use a for_each loop to iterate through the local.business_units variable.
  • Configure the widget_tokens parameter to iterate through the local.cost_centers variable. The below for expression retrieves the tokens of any Cost Reports associated with the current business unit (each.value) and creates a list of these tokens to be used as widgets in the dashboard for that business unit.
  • Use the business unit name for each dashboard title.
resource "vantage_dashboard" "bu_dashboard" {
  for_each        = local.business_units
  widget_tokens   = [
    for cost_center_key, cost_center_info in local.cost_centers :
    if cost_center_info.business_unit == each.value
  title           = "${each.value} Dashboard"
  date_interval   = "last_6_months"
  date_bin        = "week"
  workspace_token = var.workspace_token

Deploy Your Terraform Configuration

Save your configuration and then deploy it with the plan and apply commands.

terraform plan
terraform apply

Once deployed, you should see a set of folders for each business unit.

A list of all folders that were created from the Terraform script. Six folders are displayed in the Vantage console.

Each business unit folder should contain its corresponding teams’ Cost Reports. Each Cost Report should be filtered to the corresponding GCP label/tag for the team’s cost center. The below example shows the generated Cost Report for the Brand Management team, filtered to its corresponding cost center, brand-management-platform-cc.

A Cost Report for the Brand Management team in the Vantage console. The filter is set to GCP with a label key of cost_center and a label value of brand-management-platform-cc.

You should also see a dashboard for each business unit that contains all associated team Cost Reports. In the below example, the Engineering dashboard contains both the Hardware Engineering and Software Engineering Cost Reports.

A dashboard for Engineering that includes two Cost Reports for Software and Hardware Engineering in the Vantage console. The dashboard is filtered to weekly costs, for the last six months.


Automating your organization structure with Terraform highlights the efficiency of FinOps as Code. By incorporating Terraform into your FinOps as Code workflow, you can quickly create and manage cost resources, like folders, Cost Reports, and dashboards, tailored to your organizational units.