Azure Cost Optimization: A Beginner’s Guide from a Real User

Written by: Jason Meilleur
Published: March 19, 2024

Azure is a cloud platform that offers a range of services and capabilities to help you build, deploy, and manage your applications. However, using Azure also comes with a cost, and you may wonder how to optimize your cloud spending and get the most value out of your Azure resources. In this article, we will answer some of the commonly asked questions regarding Azure cloud cost optimization, and provide some tips and tools to help you save money and improve efficiency.

What is Azure cloud cost optimization?

Azure cloud cost optimization is a strategic approach to managing and minimizing expenses within the Azure cloud platform. The objective is to maximize the utility of cloud capabilities while avoiding unnecessary expenditures. Azure cloud cost optimization involves understanding and forecasting your cloud costs, optimizing your workload performance and configuration, and controlling your cloud spending with governance and policies.

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Why is Azure cloud cost optimization important?

Azure cloud cost optimization is important for several reasons. First, it can help you reduce your operational costs and increase your return on investment (ROI). By optimizing your cloud costs, you can allocate your budget more effectively and focus on what matters most to your business. Second, it can help you improve your cloud performance and reliability. By optimizing your cloud resources, you can ensure that your applications run smoothly and efficiently, and that you meet your service level agreements (SLAs). Third, it can help you enhance your cloud security and compliance. By optimizing your cloud governance, you can enforce best practices and standards, and protect your data and assets from unauthorized access or misuse.

How to recognize the signs that you need to optimize your cloud costs

You may be wondering if you need to optimize your cloud costs, or if you are already doing enough to manage your cloud spending and resources. Here are some of the signs that indicate that you need to optimize your cloud costs:

  • Your cloud bill is higher than expected or budgeted
  • You are not sure how much you are spending on each cloud service or resource
  • You are not sure how your cloud spending and resources are distributed across different projects, teams, or departments
  • You are not sure how your cloud spending and resources are aligned with your business goals and priorities
  • You are experiencing performance issues, downtime, or security breaches due to your cloud configuration or utilization
  • You are not taking advantage of the cost-saving options and offers that Azure provides
  • You are not following the best practices and standards for cloud cost optimization

If you are experiencing any of these signs, you should consider optimizing your cloud costs as soon as possible. By doing so, you can avoid wasting money and resources, improve your cloud efficiency and effectiveness, and achieve your cloud objectives and outcomes

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How can I optimize my Azure cloud costs?

There are many ways to optimize your Azure cloud costs, depending on your specific needs and goals. Here are some of the general strategies and tools that you can use:

  • Use cost-effective Azure pricing options such as reserved instances and spot VMs. Azure offers different pricing models for different types of resources and workloads. You can save money by choosing the most suitable option for your scenario. For example, you can use reserved instances to get a discount of up to 72 percent over pay-as-you-go pricing on Azure services when you prepay for a one- or three-year term with reservation pricing. You can also use spot VMs to get up to 90 percent off the pay-as-you-go price for unused Azure compute capacity.
  • Tag and group resources to understand them better. Azure allows you to assign tags to your resources, which are key-value pairs that you can use to categorize and identify them. You can use tags to group your resources by criteria such as project, department, environment, or cost center. This can help you monitor and analyze your cloud costs more easily and accurately, and allocate them to the right business units or teams.
  • Remove unused resources to conserve costs. Azure provides tools and recommendations to help you identify and eliminate idle or unnecessary resources that are consuming your cloud budget. For example, you can use Azure Advisor to get suggestions on which resources to shut down, and see how much you would save. You can also use Azure Policy to automatically delete or deallocate resources that are not in use.
  • Right-size resources to avoid over-provisioning. Azure also helps you to find and optimize underutilized resources that are wasting your cloud budget. You can use Azure Advisor to get recommendations on how to reduce your spend by reconfiguring or consolidating them. You can also use Azure Monitor to track the performance and utilization of your resources, and adjust them accordingly.
  • Set up VM autoscaling to adjust resources to actual demand. Azure enables you to dynamically scale your VMs up or down based on the load or schedule. This can help you optimize your cloud costs by ensuring that you have enough resources to meet your peak demand, but not more than you need. You can use Azure Autoscale to configure scaling rules and profiles for your VMs.
  • Take advantage of the Azure Hybrid Benefit. Azure offers a unique benefit for customers who have existing licenses for Windows Server and SQL Server. You can use the Azure Hybrid Benefit to save up to 85 percent on the cost of running these workloads on Azure, compared to AWS. You can also combine the Azure Hybrid Benefit with reserved instances or spot VMs to get even more savings.
  • Configure cost management governance best practices. Azure helps you to implement cost management governance best practices at your company using the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure. This framework provides guidance and tools to help you define and enforce policies, roles, and processes for managing and optimizing your cloud costs. You can use Azure Cost Management to monitor and analyze your cloud spending, set budgets and alerts, and generate reports. You can also use Azure Blueprints to create and deploy standardized cloud environments that comply with your cost management policies.

How to overcome the barriers and challenges of Azure cloud cost optimization

You may be wondering if Azure cloud cost optimization is worth the effort and investment, or if you have the skills and resources to implement it successfully. You may also be facing some common barriers and challenges, such as:

  • Lack of awareness and visibility of your cloud costs and usage
  • Lack of alignment and collaboration between your business and IT teams
  • Lack of expertise and guidance on how to optimize your cloud costs
  • Lack of tools and automation to simplify and streamline your cloud cost optimization process

However, these barriers and challenges can be overcome with the right approach and support. Here are some of the benefits and opportunities that Azure cloud cost optimization can offer you:

  • Gain more control and transparency over your cloud spending and resources
  • Align your cloud strategy and budget with your business goals and priorities
  • Improve your cloud performance, reliability, and security
  • Enhance your cloud innovation and agility
  • Increase your competitive advantage and profitability

To help you achieve these benefits and opportunities, you can leverage the service and expertise of 360 Visibility, a cloud solutions provider that specializes in Azure cloud cost optimization. 360 Visibility can help you:

  • Assess your current cloud situation and identify areas for improvement
  • Design and implement a customized cloud cost optimization plan that suits your needs and goals
  • Provide ongoing support and guidance to monitor and adjust your cloud cost optimization strategy
  • Provide access to various tools and solutions that Azure offers to help you manage and optimize your cloud costs

Ready to optimize your Azure cloud costs and achieve your cloud goals?

Contact 360 Visibility today and get a free cloud cost assessment and consultation.

360 Visibility is a cloud solutions provider that specializes in Azure cloud cost optimization. We can help you reduce your cloud expenses, improve your cloud efficiency, and align your cloud strategy with your business goals.

Don’t miss this opportunity to save money and get more value from your cloud resources. Visit Azure Cloud Cost Optimization by 360 Visibility and get started now.

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