How to Lower Microsoft Azure Pricing and Achieve Effective Azure Cost Management?
Cloud computing is continuing to occupy the center stage, helping businesses thrive by offering great advantages over traditional systems. Also, thanks to the global pandemic, 7 out of 10 companies have decided to invest more money to move their data into the cloud, and about 50% of the companies have already moved their workloads to the cloud.
Although it is quite evident that cloud computing can save a lot of money over traditional systems when used judiciously, AWS itself has admitted that about 35% of cloud resources spent goes down the drain. Overspending is definitely a huge issue to be addressed when it comes to using cloud computing services. Unfortunately, such issues are not taken care of by cloud providers. It has to be managed by the companies and enterprises using cloud services.
In this post, we will look into the different ways of lowering the pricing of one of the most popular cloud services - Microsoft Azure.
Table of Contents
- Tip #1 - Choose to pay in advance to get discounts
- Tip #2 - Opt-in for EA agreements to maximize Azure discounts
- Tip #3 - Shutdown instances that are not in use
- Tip #4 - Use various tailor-made tools for cost optimization
- Tip #5 - Use auto-scaling during off-hours
- Tip #6 - Switching to a different Azure region for better pricing
- Tip #7 - Taking care of storage services costs
Tip #1 - Choose to pay in advance to get discounts
One of the best features of platforms like Microsoft Azure is that you pay just for the resources that you need and also only when you need them. The best part is that these cloud platforms offer tremendous discounts if you pre-pay for the services. Prepayment can also be a good option if you are not so familiar with the capacity of cloud resources you need. It can help you avoid cost overruns. Note that Microsoft offers discounts at a rate of 2.5-5% if you prepay between 6 or 12 months in advance.
Tip #2 - Opt-in for EA agreements to maximize Azure discounts
EA agreement is an annual monetary payment plan that offers a predefined discount rate. If you go beyond your annual monetary payment, then you will be billed quarterly for any overruns. An EA agreement can save up to 20%-30% on some Azure resources. However, your discount rates may vary depending on the different resources you opt for. For instance, cloud services may offer up to 10%-20% discounts and SQL Azure up to 5% discount. Before finalizing an EA agreement, carefully plan the Azure resources you need to maximize the discount on the SKUs mentioned in the EA agreement. SKUs are nothing but services that are for sale under a product in Microsoft Azure.
Tip #3 - Shutdown instances that are not in use
This is another common mistake that many enterprises and cloud teams make. Continuing to pay for unused services is a criminal wastage of money. Auto shutdown helps you to schedule the shutting down of unused instances that might be forgotten in the rush of closing your work that day. Azure DevTest Labs can help in managing the non-production servers, including the auto-shutdown feature.
Tip #4 - Use various tailor-made tools for cost optimization
Azure cost management is a cost management tool provided by Azure to keep a constant watch on your Azure environment for global spending or even identify the costs spent on a granular level. When used with a resource tagging policy, the costs spent on the platform can be easily tracked down by Azure cost management.
Also, to avoid unexpected cost overruns, you can use the Azure budgets and thresholds to set up cost alerts in case you go past the threshold level set for a particular resource. Cost alerts notify you through emails if the costs are going beyond the threshold level.
The Azure Advisor is another tool that helps in cost optimization as one of its key components. Azure Advisor can help you identify idle and underutilized resources, reducing your overall Azure spend.
Tip #5 - Use auto-scaling during off-hours
User traffic to your server is not always at its peak on all days of the week. In other words, the traffic is high during peak hours, and during off-hours, it is reduced by a huge margin. This is where autoscaling in Azure comes to your rescue. You can use this autoscaling feature to scale down your server during slower periods. Autoscaling supports different services, including cloud services, app services, and container services.
Shutting down your app is also a part of scaling if there is no traffic to your app. App services also have a feature called AlwaysOn that determines whether the app should be shut down or not due to no activity.
Tip #6 - Switching to a different Azure region for better pricing
Azure prices vary in different regions, even across the US. Switching to a different Azure region that has reduced prices is a great option to optimize costs. The least expensive Azure regions are us-west-2, us-west-central, and Korea-south.
Tip #7 - Taking care of storage services costs
Storage services costs are common in cloud computing services. However, most developers and teams forget that the I/O operations performed on storage files also incurs costs. Data transfers are charged per GB when transferring data between regions or between virtual private clouds.
Every read or write operation you perform on your s3 bucket requests for an API call. And the service providers charges based on the requests per API call.
Since the read/write operations on the cloud incur costs, it is best to confine your I/O operations to your local files until it is optimized to be used on the cloud or meet the architectural requirements to minimize the data transfer over the cloud to a greater extent.
Almost every enterprise is shifting its current workloads to the cloud in the pursuit of digital transformation. Although the end result is cost-effective, the process is not. If you are not careful about cloud cost optimization, then the cost overrun might have serious repercussions. Therefore following the above tips can help you manage your cloud spending with confidence and cut down your cloud budget by a huge margin.