Azure cost management tools to control cloud spending

Cloud computing costs can accumulate quickly, but there are ways an organization can try to prevent an invoice from going over budget.

Like all public cloud providers, Microsoft Azure offers cost management tools. These include services that track spending on the cloud and enable budget alerts and costing. In addition, there are third-party tools that can work across Microsoft Azure and other cloud platforms.

Azure Cost Management Methods

Here is a breakdown of some of the cost management tools in Azure that IT teams can use to avoid unwanted surprises in their monthly bills.

Azure Pricing Calculator

Administrators can use the Azure Price Calculator to determine real-time cost estimates based on the services they use. Users can choose a specific product, such as Virtual Machines, Azure Databriks, or Azure Kubernetes Service, and introduce their own unique configurations. Based on this information, the calculator outputs an upfront and monthly cost estimate for each service. Azure Pricing Calculator is free to use and allows customers to plan spending to stay within budget.

Microsoft Cost Management

This is a free set of tools for managing and optimizing Azure costs. Provides information on costs and usage across the platform. Tools in Microsoft Cost Management include:

  • Azure cost analysis. The cost analysis tool includes a variety of data and filters that help users understand the cumulative costs for the current month, the expected costs for a given time period, and the costs associated with particular Azure services or resources. Pivot or donut charts display costs from smallest to largest for the month. This tool provides users with a comprehensive view of their spending via cloud publishing.
  • Cost Alerts in Azure. Alerts are automatically generated when users reach a certain usage or cost limit. There are three types of alerts: budget alerts, credit alerts, and departmental spending quotas alerts. Budget alert occurs when spending, based on resource usage or cost, reaches or exceeds a predetermined amount. A credit alert is triggered on an Azure prepayment – like specified within Azure Enterprise Agreement – Expired. Department spending alerts occur when users meet a certain spending limit, which results in an email notification being sent to the department owner. These alerts help administrators stay on track and serve as helpful reminders.
  • Azure Budgets. This tool keeps organizations responsible for staying within their specified cloud budget. Administrators can allocate budgets based on actual or projected costs. When users reach or exceed a limit, Azure sends an alert. This does not stop resource consumption. moderators set these limits through cost management.

Azure Consultant

Underutilized resources can drain cloud finances. Azure Advisor identifies idle resources and files Overspending on the cloud. To access this service, log in to the Azure portal and select the advisor from any page. On the advisor dashboard, select the Cost tab. By shutting down or reducing unnecessary resources, organizations can be one step closer to optimizing their cloud spending.

Third-party tools can also help

Several third-party Azure cost management tools are worth considering. For example, VMware Aria Cost powered by CloudHealth – formerly known as CloudHealth by VMware – offers features for cloud budget management, cost allocation, and migration planning. Apptio Cloudability aims to drive collaboration across IT and business teams to improve cloud resources and spending. Another tool, NOps, helps organizations optimize container clusters, reduce cloud waste, and manage Reserved Instances. VMware Aria Cost supported by CloudHealth, Apptio Cloudability supports Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud, while NOps supports Azure and AWS.

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