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How to Control your Microsoft Azure Costs

06/05/2021 | Blog

With all the convenience cloud services like Microsoft Azure provide, it can be tempting to use many resources; only to end up with skyrocketing Azure costs at the end of the month. How do you make sure to maximize your resources without overspending?

In this post, we’ll tackle some useful tips and strategies to keep your budget under control without affecting quality performance. Before we dive in, it is crucial to first understand how the Azure billing model works.

How Does the Azure Billing Model Work?

Azure employs a one-of-a-kind billing model, allowing organizations to choose the one that best suits their budget, usage, and preference.

Pay-As-You-Go

The pay-as-you-go pricing option allows organizations to pay for the services they use without an upfront commitment. For start-ups, hourly rate billing is ideal. However, it does come with some caveats. Since the VM itself does not come with additional components, each feature that you add, including standard hard disk drive (HDD) and operating system (OS), is considered an added cost.

As a business grows it can easily be forgotten that there is a VM running in the background. When paying by the hour, leaving it running for a whole month can put a dent in your budget.

Reserved Instances

For organizations manning a multitude of workloads, Azure offers the reserved instances model. In this method, organizations can buy dedicated VMs, which allows them to enjoy as much as 72% savings compared to the pay-as-you-go model. It’s like getting a better package by staying with Azure for a longer period. Under this method, clients can choose a one-year or three-year reserve. These reserve plans are payable either upfront or through the Azure Monetary Commitment.

Azure Hybrid Benefit

To enjoy the cost-benefit of using Azure cloud services, consider the Azure Hybrid Benefit. This discount program allows organizations to run their Software Assurance-enabled Windows Server and SQL Server licenses on Azure, providing as much as 80% savings compared to the pay-as-you-go model.

SQL SErver Enterprise Edition Savings Example

Image Source

7 Ways to Manage Your Microsoft Azure Costs

Now that you know the different pricing models available in Microsoft Azure, you can manage your costs. Here are some useful tips:

  1. Shift to Serverless Azure SQL
    Using a serverless Azure SQL allows users to scale up computing power depending on usage and overall workload demand. This way, the databases will only charge based on the amount of computing power used. Such databases can also automatically pause the system when it is not in use, and users only pay storage fees.

  2. Leverage Storage Tiering
    If your operations require a lot of storage, choosing the appropriate storage tier for your data significantly reduces overhead. Opt for a low-cost tier if data needs to be accessed only a few times a month

  3. Maximize Containers
    If you have multiple workloads, costs can be efficiently lowered by shifting them to containers. This allows operations to take advantage of lightweight workloads. Operating several containers on one physical host means there is less need to use VMs, effectively reducing costs. Keep in mind, however, that there may be exceptional instances wherein containers can be costlier. Before shifting to containers, consult an Azure expert.

  4. Remove Unnecessary Virtual Disks
    If you have been using Azure for quite some time, it’s important to know that virtual disks are not automatically removed when a VM is deleted. This can significantly affect operating costs. Locate and remove unnecessary virtual disks, but verify they are not connected to any VM before deleting them.
  5. Monitor VM Performance
    Microsoft Azure VMs come with different hardware and performance offerings. To ensure the best value, adjust your services according to your needs and maximizing usage. This is where monitoring your VM performance to see if it remains at the optimal level is critical, especially if you need to scale your operations. Automating cloud provisioning can help ensure your costs remain in check.
  6. Check Application Dependencies
    On top of on-premises costs, it is also possible that application dependencies can increase your billing. Ensure you have visibility over these dependencies and remove anything that no longer brings value to your operations.
  7. Build a Usage-Based Schedule
    Once you have a better overview of your VM usage, including hours used, it is highly recommended to come up with a start/stop schedule.

How can interworks.cloud help?

With interworks.cloud, organizations can benefit by:

  • Automating and synchronizing processes
  • Effectively scaling Microsoft licenses
  • Monitoring pay-per-use charges

These are just some of the strategies that can be utilized to reduce your costs. Many of these have one bottom line—getting a better understanding of your workload, goals, and resources.

To see how the interworks.cloud automation platform can work for your organization, request a live demo here.

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