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You’ll need an active Azure Account to use Azure Cost Management features. Azure has Cost Management features for Free Accounts, Enterprise Customers, and Service Providers.
Azure Cost Management is a group of resources, tools, and best practices to help you analyze, manage, and optimize Azure Costs.
All Azure users and partners can use Azure Cost Management features free. Users from other cloud providers like AWS and GCP can also access Cost Management features.
Azure’s in-built capabilities like cost-monitoring, billing, and usage threshold features to help manage cloud costs.
This feature lets you manage automated deductions from your billing account. Azure has a monthly billing schedule. You can also manage IAM users with access to billing information. Azure users can automate several administrative tasks on the Billing console.
Azure lets you download cost reports for further analysis. You can export a CSV version of your usage history over a certain period. You can analyze this data to identify periods and services with the highest costs. This feature lets you share cost data with other team members.
You can set spending thresholds to trigger alarms whenever you approach given spending targets. For example, Azure sends a notification whenever you reach 80% of your cloud spending. In addition, you can also set alerts for free-tier limits.
The cost management and billing dashboard is a centralized portal for all cost-optimization insights. You can use these insights to make data-driven decisions on optimizing cloud costs. Azure Advisor also recommends changes in configuration and workloads that could optimize your cloud spend. You can easily implement these insights via guided procedures.
This billing and cost management feature lets you send back bills to the right cost center. By paying for only what you use, Azure chargebacks enhance accountability and help you to focus on the most productive tasks instead of paying costs.
In addition to in-built features and tools, Azure publishes a set of best practices to help end-users take control of Azure Costs. These best practices include:
1. Having A Cost Management Plan: Microsoft recommends planning your cloud adoption journey with costs in mind. The plan should go beyond typical services to account for related services. Forecast added services as you expand your organization in the future. It’s equally important to know your usage patterns, whether it represents temporary or long-term usage patterns.
2. Choose An Optimal Azure Plan: Choose a plan with costs in mind without compromising performance. Azure has discounted plans for users with long-term commitments. The free tier plan lets you use limited Azure services and features for 12 months with no charge. In addition, you can claim a $200 credit within the first 30 days.
3. Use Azure Tools: Azure tools offer unmatched compatibility with Windows servers leading to the best tracking and visibility of Azure resources. Using Azure’s cost-optimization tools can help eliminate hidden costs. Azure cost optimization tools include the Network Watcher, Azure Monitor, Azure Advisor, Azure Cost Analysis, and many more.
4. Align Your Teams: Enhance accountability in cost management efforts by aligning CFOs, Managers, and development teams. As a rule of thumb, financial officers should be responsible for approving cloud budgets while development teams can help estimate a forecast. Project managers should receive all the data they need to make good decisions on cloud spending.
5. Reduce Underutilized Resources: After analyzing and managing costs, you will find areas for optimization. You can eliminate idle snapshots and zombie instances; delete unattached volumes, and right-size virtual machines. Azure Advisor identifies VMs with low CPU utilization. You can use Azure Advisor to shut down or resize cloud resources.
By default, Azure Cost Management is free. However, as you scale, you may want to utilize third-party tools to get complete control over your costs. Some of the third-party tools have paid plans. Microsoft Azure also has premium cost management capabilities.
Azure uses third-party cloud service providers for added cost management capabilities users may not find in Azure tools. Azure Partners comprises users with the service provider agreement. Azure also has certified specialists to help in several workloads like Azure migration and other tasks. You can find Azure CSPs on the Azure Marketplace.
Managing Azure costs can be overly complicated due to the many resources and services available. Therefore, you need a unified dashboard that showcases all costs in a single pane of glass.
nOps provides Azure users with the ultimate cost management capabilities ideal to manage their workloads. nOps lets you view resources with the highest costs and gives recommendations for reducing Azure costs. With nOps, you can efficiently allocate resources, right-size Virtual Machines and save 18%-50% in Azure costs.