Best Practices for Azure Governance and Optimization


Azure has a wide array of products and services. You can manage these resources by configuring rules, securing them through backups and migration, and governing them.

Azure governance and optimization best practices will help you implement strategies that give you more control over the cloud. A sound governance and optimization plan can increase efficiency, manage costs, and gain complete control over your Azure infrastructure.

For effective governance, Azure integrates various tools with different capabilities. This article explores the best practices for governance and cost optimization (policy management and cost management).
Read on!

Best Practices for Azure Policy Management

Consistent policy governance can help you to achieve real-time cloud compliance. Here are some of the best Azure policy management best practices:

Organize Resources

Azure recommends organizing resources in the following hierarchy:

Management Group -> Subscription -> Resources.

The management group should be unique for each environment, for example, testing, production, or development. You can have several subscriptions – categorized by the productivity of the workload. For example, non-productive workloads use spot resources, while productive workloads use reserved instances.

If users deploy applications under the right management group, it’s easier to account for costs to their relevant departments. Remember to use a consistent naming criterion for your hierarchy.

Define Custom Policies

Policies at the top of the hierarchy affect all subscriptions and resources within the environment. As a rule of thumb, deploy universal policies at the management group level. You can also use Azure’s built-in policies to enforce custom policies. Other best practices include:

· Use ‘audit effect’ to assess the impact of auto-scaling policies
· Add initiative definitions for single policies so you can evaluate each policy with initiative assignments
· Don’t use initiative assignments to evaluate individual policies
· Have policies to encrypt all the data
· Set up policies with appropriate tags for each resource

Delete Unused Resources

If you have oversized resources, chances are they’ll pile up over time, and you’ll lose control over cloud resources. Don’t forget to terminate resources you no longer need. Take note of interruptions when launching specific resources. As a best practice, delete all unused resources, including unattached disks, aged snapshots, and associated IP addresses that are no longer needed.

Best Practices for Azure Cost Management

Managing cloud costs can help lower your overall expenditure. Some of the Azure cost management best practices include:

Reserve Capacity for Long-term Needs

Microsoft Azure has several pricing models, including the pay-as-you-go and reserved pricing models. The latter helps you get up to a 72% discount for a long-term commitment. To get the best out of reserved capacity:
· Run long-term workloads consistently
· Pay up front for greater discounts
· Choose a 3-year commitment for the best discount

Alternatively, you can use spot capacity to get up to 90% off the typical billing rates. Spot capacity helps you to utilize excess capacity on Azure Cloud.

Achieve Proper Cloud Visibility

Ensure that the whole team understands how each cloud operation leads to an increase in the overall bill to minimize chargebacks and hidden fees. Use Azure cost management tools to find redundant and unused resources to reduce cloud bills, especially if you run heavy workloads.

Optimize Cloud Spending

All optimization operations begin with an audit assessment of existing resources. After using all available tools to evaluate your cloud infrastructure, you can add a budget wherever there’s a deficit and eliminate culprits that lead to spiraling costs without affecting performance.

You can also use the Azure Pricing Calculator to simulate the most optimal combination of products and services. Another best practice for cost optimization involves using Azure Advisor to locate VMs (Virtual Machines) with low utilization and get recommendations for purchasing reserved instances.

Understand Azure Billing

Billing refers to how Azure charges your account. You can add several payment methods. Ensure that you choose an updated default payment method. If your default payment method expires, cloud bills will accumulate. However, Azure always sends notifications concerning billing. If you have any credits, redeem them to offset monthly bills. Look for redeemable credits supporting small businesses, NGOs, startups, and other special needs.

Third-Party Tools

Increasing cloud automation lets you get more governance over the cloud. Fortunately, Microsoft Azure has several tools for each use case, ranging from Blockchain, data analytics, networking, web applications, and much more.

With third-party tools, you can get deeper visibility into the cloud, detect anomalies, and respond to unusual usage patterns early. In addition, tools will also help you auto-scale operations to match varying requirements. For complex operations, consider subscribing to services provided by preferred Azure consultants.

Enhancing Your Cloud Governance With nOps

If you want to scale on Azure Cloud, nOps should be your go-to solution. Azure users can automate activities and optimize on-the-go in a single pane while reducing cloud costs
Learn more about nOps solution for Microsoft Azure.