Cloud computing costs can add up quickly, but there are ways a business can try to prevent a bill from going over budget.
Like all public cloud providers, Microsoft Azure offers cost management tools. This includes services that track cloud spend, enable budget alerts, and estimate costs. Additionally, there are third-party tools that can work on Microsoft Azure and other cloud platforms.
Ways to manage Azure costs
Here’s a breakdown of some Azure cost management tools that IT teams can use to avoid unwanted surprises on their monthly bills.
Azure Pricing Calculator
Admins can use the Azure Pricing Calculator to get real-time cost estimates based on the services they use. Users can select a specific product, e.g. B. virtual machines, Azure Databricks or Azure Kubernetes Service and enter their unique configurations. Based on this information, the calculator provides an upfront and monthly cost estimate for each service. The Azure Pricing Calculator is free to use and allows customers to plan expenses to stay within budget.
Microsoft Expense Management
This is a free suite of tools for managing and optimizing Azure costs. It provides cost and usage information across the platform. Tools in Microsoft Cost Management include the following:
- Azure cost analysis. The cost analysis tool contains a variety of data and filters to help users understand their cumulative costs for the current month, their projected costs for a specific time period, and the costs associated with specific Azure services or resources. Pivot or donut charts show the smallest to largest expenses for the month. This tool provides users with an overall view of their spending in a cloud deployment.
- Azure cost alerts. Alerts are automatically generated when users reach certain usage or cost thresholds. There are three types of notifications: budget notifications, credit notifications, and departmental expense notifications. A budget alert occurs when spending meets or exceeds a predefined amount based on resource usage or cost. A credit alert is triggered when an Azure prepayment – as specified in an Azure Enterprise Agreement – has been used up. Department spend alerts occur when users reach a certain spending threshold and trigger an email notification to the department owner. These alerts help admins stay on track and serve as helpful reminders.
- Azure budgets. This tool holds organizations accountable for staying within their specific cloud budget. Administrators can adjust budgets based on actual or projected costs. When users meet or exceed a threshold, Azure sends an alert. That doesn’t stop resource consumption. Administrators set up these limits through Cost Management.
Underutilized resources can weigh on cloud finances. Azure Advisor identifies idle resources and wasteful cloud spend. To access this service, sign in to the Azure portal and select Advisor from any page. From the Advisor dashboard, select the Costs tab. By shutting down or reducing unnecessary resources, organizations can get one step closer to optimizing their cloud spend.
Third party tools can also help
Several third-party Azure cost management tools are worth considering. For example, VMware Aria Cost powered by CloudHealth – formerly known as CloudHealth by VMware – provides cloud budget management, cost attribution and migration planning capabilities. Apptio Cloudability aims to drive collaboration between IT and business teams to optimize cloud resources and spend. Another tool, NOps, helps organizations optimize container clusters, reduce cloud waste, and manage reserved instances. VMware Aria Cost powered by CloudHealth and Apptio Cloudability support Azure, AWS and Google Cloud, while NOps supports Azure and AWS.
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