Azure Cost Management: Seven Ways to Optimize Your Azure Cloud Spend


Azure provides a highly scalable platform where cloud users can deploy several solutions. You can deploy a wide range of applications and workloads and store lots of organizational data. In addition, it helps cut most organizational costs that come with on premise hosting.

With these benefits, most organizations prefer migrating workloads to Azure. However, costs can escalate significantly, as the Azure billing process is complex and requires proper attention. Also, some Azure services can increase your costs exponentially.

This article provides handy Azure cost management tips to help you eliminate unwanted resources, and helps you cut down on cloud expenditures. These include:

Right-Sizing Compute and Storage

On Microsoft Azure, you can configure compute capacity on Virtual Machines running on Linux and Windows servers. Azure also provides dedicated hosts, which gives your organization more capacity, security, and control over cloud resources.

Because computer prices vary with the server type, you can deploy the cheapest server that meets your computing needs. You can also use Azure Spot Virtual Machines to get discounted rates on non-critical operations. Azure compute prices also vary by region, so be sure to do some checking on how pricing works in your area.

For example, the average price of a virtual machine in the North Central US region is not the same as in other regions. Ideally, you want to locate your server where your traffic is. You can choose an affordable Azure region, then use a free CDN service to optimize performance.

While compute capacity gives you efficiency and speed, storage resources help you store data in the Azure infrastructure. Azure provides Blob storage, Table storage, Files, and Managed disks storage. Each storage has its ideal use case. The less data you store, the cheaper your cloud spend. Azure also allows you to get discounts on long-term storage commitments.

Use Auto-Scaling to Reduce Costs During Off-Hours

The auto-scale feature allows you to scale resources up or down based on your usage patterns. If the server is busy, scaling up can minimize downtimes. On the other hand, you can also reduce resources automatically during off-peak hours. To leverage these, you have to configure rules that regulate the number of running virtual machines. You can also terminate redundant resources with horizontal scaling.

Virtual machine scale sets on Azure allow users to auto-scale based on pre-configured thresholds. This solution can evaluate system metrics and deploy resources based on demand.

Deleting Aged Snapshots and Images

Snapshots are usually copies of Virtual Machines that do not have write permissions. Each snapshot will have rules defining its lifespan. If the snapshot exists for more than the specified time, it becomes an aged disk image. But the Azure cloud counts the costs of both active and idle snapshots. You can filter by ‘Snapshots’ to view all images in your infrastructure on the Azure dashboard. Select obsolete snapshots and confirm their deletion.

Monitoring Data Transfer Cost

Data transfers occur when there’s inbound and outbound traffic on your server. Processes like backing up migration also fall under data transfer. Data transfer costs depend on the size of data transferred and the Azure region. Some Azure regions incur less data transfer costs than others. You can also use the free data transfer service from any Azure resource to Azure CDN (Content Delivery Network).

Switching From Virtual Machines Database to Elastic Databases

Instead of deploying an SQL server on Azure cloud, use the Elastic Azure SQL (Structure Query Language) database service. Elastic pools can handle multiple databases through shared resources which gives the efficiency startups need while also reducing costs. Elastic databases have preconfigured storage capacity and are generally cheaper than databases configured on virtual machines. The Azure SQL Elastic databases can help store simple information from an app.

Choosing the Right Compute Services

Azure provides a decision tree to help you choose the right compute services. The flowchart below that Azure provides will help avoid confusion associated with the wide array of products in the Azure cloud:

You may also use the services of a professional Azure cloud architect to help you configure resources; a good configuration would save you significant cloud spend in the long term.

Choosing Free Tier

Microsoft Azure offers a one-year free trial to help you understand some of its product offerings. There are discounts for startups, students, non-profits, and much more. Microsoft Azure also provides a $200 credit to offset your cloud bill, which you could redeem for extra savings. Some free-tier eligible services include Machine learning, App Service, Virtual Machines, DevOps solutions, and much more. However, you may have to pay for other complementary resources for a complete project.

The Bottom Line

These tips can help you reduce cloud costs significantly. All you need is to ensure you monitor Azure costs continuously across all cloud resources.

At nOps, we provide the ultimate visibility into your Azure cloud resources. You can rely on nOps to monitor costs, detect any anomalies, and stay ahead of your cloud bills.

Start your nOps free trial today to optimize your Azure costs!