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Azure Cost Management: 5 tips for getting your cloud costs in check

4 Mins read

What Is Azure Cost Management?  

Azure cost management lets you track your spending, set up budgets, and implement cost-saving measures to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your investment in Azure. 

Azure cost management gives you a detailed view of where your resources are being utilized, which resources are costing you the most, and how your costs are trending over time. This visibility enables you to make informed decisions about your resource usage and allows you to manage your costs proactively. 

The Importance of Cost Management in Azure  

Cost management in Azure, like any other cloud environment, is crucial. The cloud’s main attraction is its scalability and flexibility, allowing businesses to grow and adapt quickly. However, these same features can lead to spiraling costs if not adequately managed. 

Azure cost management is essential because it helps you maintain control over your cloud budget. Without it, you may find yourself constantly exceeding your budget due to unnecessary resource consumption or underutilized resources. Moreover, by efficiently managing your Azure costs, you can free up funds to invest in other critical areas of your business. 

Tips for Effective Azure Cost Management  

Use Azure Spot VMs 

Azure Spot Virtual Machines (VMs) offer a cost-effective solution for running your workloads on Azure. Azure Spot VMs are an on-demand computing service that provides you with the ability to purchase unused Azure capacity at a significant cost savings. This service is ideal for workloads that can tolerate interruptions. 

To make the most out of Azure Spot VMs, you need to understand how they work. Azure Spot VMs are available at a discount compared to standard on-demand prices. However, they can be evicted at any time if Azure needs the capacity. Therefore, they are best suited for workloads that can handle interruptions and can be restarted if necessary. 

Moreover, to maximize your savings, you should consider using Azure Spot VMs for your non-production environments. For example, you can use them for testing, development, and quality assurance. By doing so, you can save on your Azure costs without compromising on your production workloads. 

Apply Tags for Resource Management 

Applying tags for resource management is another effective strategy for Azure cost management. Tags are name/value pairs that enable you to categorize resources and view consolidated billing by applying the same tag to multiple resources and resource groups. 

By using tags, you can organize your resources based on different factors such as cost center, environment, or project. This enables you to track your costs more accurately and identify areas where you can save. For example, you can identify underutilized resources that you can scale down or shut off to save costs. 

Moreover, tags can help you implement chargeback and showback models in your organization. By doing so, you can allocate costs to the appropriate departments or projects, ensuring that all stakeholders are aware of their cloud spending. This can lead to more responsible usage and further cost savings. 

Optimize Azure SQL Database Costs 

Managing Azure SQL Database costs effectively is another key aspect of Azure cost management. Azure SQL Database is a fully managed platform as a service (PaaS) database engine. It handles most of the database management functions such as upgrading, patching, backups, and monitoring without user involvement, which can lead to cost savings in terms of reduced management overhead. 

However, to fully capitalize on these savings, you need to optimize your Azure SQL Database costs. This can be done by choosing the right service tier and compute size, optimizing your workload, and using Azure cost management tools. For example, you can use Azure SQL Database serverless, which automatically scales compute based on workload demand and bills for compute used per second, helping you save costs. 

Moreover, Azure offers various pricing models for SQL Database, including single database, elastic pool, and managed instance. Each of these offers different capabilities and costs, and choosing the right one for your needs can lead to significant savings. Furthermore, using Azure cost management tools, you can gain insights into your spending patterns and usage, enabling you to identify areas where you can cut costs. 

Use Azure Hybrid Benefit 

To start with, Azure Hybrid Benefit is a licensing benefit that can significantly reduce your Azure costs. This option allows you to use your on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance or SQL Server subscriptions in Azure. Once you implement this, you can save up to 40% on Windows Server VMs. 

To implement Azure Hybrid Benefit, first, you need to determine if your current license is eligible for this benefit. If it is, you can then apply it to your Azure VMs. By doing so, you will only pay for the base compute rate. When it comes to SQL Server, you can use your on-premises licenses to run SQL Server instances in Azure Virtual Machines. This can lead to significant savings, ensuring you get the most out of your Azure investment. 

Moreover, Azure Hybrid Benefit provides flexibility. You can use it with all VM sizes and across all Azure regions. You can also use it in combination with Azure Reserved Instances, which can lead to even more savings. Therefore, Azure Hybrid Benefit is a must-consider option for effective Azure cost management. 

Enable Auto-Scaling for Resources 

Lastly, enabling auto-scaling for your resources can help you manage your Azure costs effectively. Auto-scaling is a feature that automatically adjusts the number of compute resources that your applications are using based on the current demand. 

By enabling auto-scaling, you can ensure that you are only paying for the resources you need. During periods of high demand, auto-scaling can increase the number of resources to maintain performance. During periods of low demand, it can decrease the number of resources to save costs. 

Furthermore, Azure offers various auto-scaling options, including scale sets, app service plan scaling, and database scaling. By choosing the right auto-scaling options for your workloads, you can optimize your Azure costs while ensuring that your applications run smoothly. 

In conclusion, effective Azure cost management requires a strategic approach. By implementing Azure Hybrid Benefit, optimizing Azure SQL Database costs, using Azure Spot VMs, applying tags for resource management, and enabling auto-scaling for resources, you can get your Azure cloud costs in check. Remember, every penny saved is a penny earned. 

Author Bio: Gilad David Maayan 

David Gilad Mayaan

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Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Imperva, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Check Point, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership. Today he heads Agile SEO, the leading marketing agency in the technology industry. 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/giladdavidmaayan/ 

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