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How to Reduce Azure Costs and Keep them from Creeping Back Up

Azure costs can creep up on you if you're not careful. In this blog post, we'll discuss how you get a grip on and reduce your Azure costs and keep them from creeping back up. Making sure they stay under control for the long term.

If you're like most organizations, you're always looking for ways to reduce your Azure costs. It's a necessary evil, but it can be tough to keep them from creeping back up. It can often feel like a quarterly game of wack a mole on a moving target with the Azure platform evolving as you go.

The steps involved to quantify and then reduce your Azure costs can generally be grouped into two main areas:

  1. Azure platform optimisation - What can you do with what you consume from Azure cloud services? Can this be procured a different way?
  2. Azure workload optimisation - What can you do with your workloads and how they operate - rearchitect, redevelop, and review working patterns


Azure platform optimisation:

Audit your Azure usage regularly

As any savvy business owner knows, monitoring your expenses is crucial to maintaining a healthy bottom line. And if you're using Azure, keeping an eye on your usage costs is especially important. With Azure, you're charged for the resources you use, so it's important to audit your usage regularly and take steps to reduce unnecessary costs.

There are a number of ways to do this, but one simple method is to monitor your usage reports in the Azure portal. By taking a close look at your usage data, you can identify areas where you may be able to cut back and save money. So don't wait - audit your Azure usage today and start saving tomorrow.

This is the first step in diagnosing any problem, find out what you are being charged for and when. This allows you to have a clear understanding of how much you are going over budget and where it is going, rather than just getting a retrospective Azure bill each month and getting surprises.

Understand what you are using Azure for and categorize your services

Understanding your Azure architecture and what each service component is being used for will help you apportion the cost in a meaningful way. You can then put costs against the workloads for departments or products, or customers depending on how your business is structured.

This can be done either with out-of-the-box features in Azure or with a third-party tool. Knowing which services are being used for what purpose will help you understand where an overspend is occurring or where you have unexpected costs in the business.

For example:

  • Are there shared services for things like backup or storage that are going over budget unexpectedly?
  • Do you have old or redundant Azure services or infrastructure that can be removed or decommissioned?

This information can then be used to optimize and reduce costs where possible.


Monitor your spending and set alerts to notify you when costs are getting high

Again there are ways to do this in Azure out of the box, but there are also third party tools like CloudOps that include this and much more.

Alerts can be set up for when costs exceed a certain threshold so you can take action quickly to prevent overspending. This could be done at different levels such as:

  • Service – for when an individual service is going over budget such as storage
  • Department or product - if developers have an allowance for development environments and they are running for longer than expected
  • Customer - A customers infrastructure expands and this need to be taken into account or its costing you more than expected

This allows you to take the necessary steps to reduce your Azure spend in a timely manner, rather than waiting for the end of the month when it's too late.

Use Reserved Instances (RI) to get a discount on your compute costs

If you're looking for a way to reduce your Azure compute costs, consider using Reserved Instances (RIs). RIs are a cost-effective way to save money on your Azure compute costs and can be purchased for one or three years.

When you purchase an RI, you're essentially pre-paying for your compute usage, and in return, you get a discount of up to 80% off the regular price. RIs can be purchased for a variety of Azure services, including VMs, Web Apps, and SQL Database.

To learn more about RIs and how to purchase them, however, be aware that these are a longer-term commitment, so you need to be able to plan your infrastructure for the time that you reserve. There is also an option to sell these back to the market place, so all is not lost if you take them and then things change.


Azure workload optimisation:

There are many factors to consider when optimizing your Azure workloads, but one of the most important is to ensure that you're using the right mix of Azure services for your needs. Using the wrong mix of services can lead to increased costs and unexpected spikes in billing.

Configure auto-shutdown for resources that are not in use

Understand your usage patterns and act accordingly. Shut down or scale back deployments out of hours. CloudOps includes this approach for fine-tuning your deployment to your usage patterns. What's the point of having applications available 24/7 when your business might only need them 9 to 5?

Optimize your code and database queries

This is often one of the most difficult to implement but rewarding areas. Many software as a service or independent software businesses we work with have successfully moved their software to the cloud. However, there are always legacy issues to do with the way the application has been built that have an impact on how it works in Azure.

Finding a balance between reworking and the pay off you get on the platform is a bit of a balancing act and one we understand well with our history as a company. We have helped our customers with advise on how to quantity those redevelopment decisions and balance the saving over the investment of time and effort to align their software to the cloud environment.


Compare the features of different Azure pricing plans

Use the Azure calculator to compare the different options and what impact they would have on your monthly Azure bill. Just be aware that the calculator is as complex as Azure, it has options for all the services and their configurations across the globe.

To help you get accurate estimates out of the Azure calculator we have put together an overview of how to get the best estimates possible out of it by following a few simple steps.

Our cloud management software CloudOps uses algorithms and machine learning to evaluate your deployments and then make recommendations around cost based on balancing cost vs performance. These can then be discussed with your dedicated account manager and implemented seamlessly once approved.

Rather than having to continue to monitor things manually, CloudOps takes this headache away and as Azure evolves over time, CloudOps keeps your cloud spend on track.

Next steps: Azure cloud management options

Azure cloud services can be expensive if not managed correctly. In this post, we’ve outlined two ways you can reduce your costs and keep them from creeping back up - optimising what you consume and how you operate your workloads. If these tips seem daunting or too time-consuming, don’t worry - our team at CloudOps is here to help. We offer a unified cloud management solution that can manage your Azure costs so you stay within budget.

Take a test drive of CloudOps today to learn more about how we can help save you money on Azure!

Or if you want to find out more about how to manage your Azure costs effectively then read our article here.