Cloud computing has many benefits, such as scalability, flexibility, and agility. However, it also comes with challenges, such as managing and optimizing your cloud costs. If you are using Azure, you may wonder how to get the most value out of your cloud investment without overspending or wasting resources. In this blog, I will share some Tips and Tricks for Azure cost optimization that can help you achieve your business goals while staying within your budget.
Plan with Cost in Mind:
The first step to optimize your Azure costs is to plan your cloud solution with cost in mind. This means you need to understand your business requirements, expected usage patterns, and performance needs before you choose the Azure services and resources that suit your scenario. You can use the following tools and resources to help you plan your Azure costs:
- Azure Pricing Calculator: This tool allows you to estimate the cost of your Azure solution based on the services, regions, and configurations you select. You can also compare different options and scenarios to find the best fit for your budget.
- Azure Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator: This tool helps you compare the cost of running your workloads on-premises versus on Azure. It takes into account factors such as hardware, software, labor, power, cooling, and maintenance costs. It also shows you how much you can save by using Azure offers and benefits, such as reservations and hybrid benefits.
- Azure Well-Architected Framework: This framework provides a set of best practices and design principles for building and operating reliable, secure, efficient, and cost-effective cloud solutions on Azure. It covers five pillars: cost optimization, operational excellence, performance efficiency, reliability, and security. You can use this framework to guide your architectural decisions and optimize your cloud costs.
Analyze and Manage Your Costs:
The second step to optimizing your Azure costs is to analyze and manage your cloud spending on an ongoing basis. This means you need to monitor and track your Azure usage and costs, set budgets and alerts, allocate costs to different teams and projects, and identify opportunities for cost savings. You can use the following tools and services to help you analyze and manage your Azure costs:
- Azure Cost Management: This service helps you monitor and control your Azure spending across multiple subscriptions, resource groups, and services. You can use it to view your current and forecasted costs, create budgets and alerts, download and analyze your usage data, optimize your reserved instances, and access cost-saving recommendations from Azure Advisor.
- Azure Advisor: This service provides personalized guidance and best practices for improving the performance, reliability, security, and cost-effectiveness of your Azure resources. You can use it to get recommendations for reducing costs by deleting idle resources, right-sizing underused resources, configuring autoscaling, choosing the right compute service, taking advantage of Azure offers and benefits, and more.
- Azure Policy: This service helps you enforce rules and standards for your Azure resources to ensure compliance with your organizational policies and regulations. You can use it to implement cost management governance best practices by creating policies that limit the types, sizes, locations, and configurations of resources that can be deployed or used by different users or groups.
Optimize Your Workloads:
The third step to optimize your Azure costs is to optimize your workloads for efficiency and scalability. This means you need to design and configure your Azure resources to meet your performance needs while minimizing waste and maximizing utilization. You can use the following techniques and strategies to help you optimize your workloads:
- Choose the Right Resources: Azure offers a variety of services and resources for different scenarios and workloads. You should choose the ones that match your requirements in terms of functionality, availability, scalability, durability, security, etc. For example, if you need a database service that supports high availability and scalability without requiring much management overhead, you can use Azure Cosmos DB instead of a self-managed SQL Server VM.
- Right-Size Your Resources: Azure allows you to adjust the size and capacity of your resources according to your workload demands. You should right-size your resources to avoid paying for more than what you need or underprovisioning them which may affect performance or availability. For example, if you have a VM that is running at low CPU utilization most of the time, you can resize it to a smaller SKU or switch to a burstable VM that can handle occasional spikes in demand.
- Configure Autoscaling: Autoscaling is a feature that automatically scales your resources up or down based on predefined rules or metrics. You can use autoscaling to optimize your resource utilization and costs by ensuring that you have enough resources to handle peak loads while reducing them during off-peak hours or periods of low demand. For example, if you have a web app that experiences daily or seasonal traffic fluctuations, you can use autoscaling to scale the number of app service instances or VMs based on CPU utilization or request rate.
- Use Spot VMs: Spot VMs are Azure VMs that run on unused capacity in the Azure data centers and offer significant discounts compared to regular VMs. You can use spot VMs for workloads that are interruptible, flexible, or not mission-critical, such as batch processing, testing, development, or backup. For example, if you have a batch job that can run at any time of the day or week, you can use spot VMs to reduce your compute costs by up to 90 percent.
Leverage Azure Reservation and Azure Hybrid Benefit:
The fourth step to optimize your Azure costs is to leverage Azure Reservation and Azure Hybrid Benefit for your eligible workloads. These are two licensing offers that can help you save money by committing to one-year or three-year plans for multiple products or by using your existing on-premises licenses in the cloud. You can use the following benefits and features to help you leverage Azure Reservation and Azure Hybrid Benefit:
- Azure Reservation: This offer allows you to prepay for one-year or three-year terms for multiple products, such as virtual machines, SQL databases, storage, and App Services. By committing to a reservation, you can get a discount on the resources you use, up to 72% from pay-as-you-go prices. You can also pay for a reservation upfront or monthly with no extra fees. After you purchase a reservation, the discount automatically applies to matching resources in your subscription or billing scope.
- Azure Hybrid Benefit: This offer allows you to use your on-premises licenses with Software Assurance or subscriptions for Windows Server, SQL Server, or Linux in the cloud. By applying this benefit, you can reduce your resource costs by paying only for the base compute rate of the virtual machine or service. The base compute rate is equal to the Linux rate for virtual machines or services. You can also use Azure Hybrid Benefit with adjacent Azure benefits and offers, such as reservations, savings plans for compute, and extended security updates.
By applying both offers, you can save up to 80% on your Azure virtual machine costs.
Use Azure Savings Plans for Compute:
The fifth step to optimize your Azure costs is to use Azure Savings Plans for Compute for your consistent compute spend. This is a flexible pricing model that provides savings up to 65% off pay-as-you-go pricing when you commit to spending a fixed hourly amount on compute services for one or three years. You can use the following advantages and features to help you use Azure Savings Plans for Compute:
- Azure Savings Plans for Compute: This offer allows you to get discounts on any compute resource within the scope of the savings plan, such as virtual machines, App Services, Functions, Container Instances, etc. By committing to a savings plan, you can save money on your compute usage up to the hourly commitment amount. Usage charges above the commitment are billed at your on-demand rate.
- Flexibility and Simplicity: You don’t need to assign a savings plan to your compute resources. The savings plan benefit is applied automatically to compute usage that matches the savings plan scope. You can also change the reservation scope, size, or term of your savings plan at any time without any fees or penalties.
- Up-front or Monthly Payment: You can pay for a savings plan upfront or monthly with no extra fees. The total cost of the up-front and monthly savings plan is the same. You can also trade in your existing reservations for a savings plan if you want more flexibility and simplicity.
Azure cost optimization is a continuous process that requires planning, monitoring, and action. By following the best practices and using the tools and services mentioned in this blog, you can optimize your Azure costs and get the most value out of your cloud investment. If you need more help or guidance on Azure cost optimization, feel free to contact us. We are a team of Azure experts who can help you design, implement, and manage your cloud solutions on Azure.
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P.S. Modern AI tool has been used for creating some of the content. Technical validation and proofing are done by the author.