Businesses looking to reduce their Azure VM cost have three options available to them. They can ask their developers to switch off development, staging and testing VMs when not in use, reassign development teams to write scheduling scripts, or implement off-the-shelf scheduling software.
Asking developers to switch off their non-production VMs is probably the least effective of the three options. Developers can be distracted and forget to switch their VMs off, or try to shut them down from within the VMs themselves, which will not reduce Azure VM cost because the Azure platform will continue to reserve compute resources for the VMs.
Reassigning development teams to write scheduling scripts may not reduce a business´s Azure VM cost at all. Depending on the size of the business, how much it pays its development teams and the type of Azure VMs deployed, it could cost more to write and maintain scheduling scripts than the business saves by implementing them. It will also delay the completion of other, core projects.
Although many business have the mindset of “we have the ability to build, so why buy”, implementing off-the-shelf scheduling software is the most viable of all the three options for reducing Azure VM cost. Scheduling software also offers the benefits of increasing accountability and simplifying resource management to improve the cost-efficiency of the business´s development teams.
How Scheduling Software Reduces Azure VM Cost
Scheduling software reduces Azure VM cost by automating the on/off times of non-production VMs. The simple process for scheduling on/off times – or “parking” as we refer to it – involves a system administrator connecting to their Microsoft account via the software application, creating permission tiers for each development team, and assigning each team its VMs.
When each development team subsequently logs in – again through the software application – they can access their VMs and see recommendations about those that are suitable for parking based on the VM names and tags. Team members can select pre-configured parking schedules, or create their own via an intuitive UI. The choice exists of assigning one parking schedule to all their non-production VMs or selecting a unique schedule for each one. Administrators and developers also have the choice to have schedules automatically applied based on policies they create – for example, all VMs with “dev” in the name can be automatically assigned to the development schedule.
When the schedules have been confirmed, the UI displays how much Azure VM cost will be saved over the next thirty days. Once the schedule is running, the UI also displays the actual Azure VM cost saved. System administrators can view and download savings reports organized by teams and credentials, and also have a single dashboard view of their development team´s VMs to increase accountability and simplify resource management.
Parking schedules can be snoozed if development, testing and staging VMs need to be accessed while parked. In order to minimize Azure VM cost, development teams can schedule their non-production VMs to be permanently parked and simply snooze the schedule when access is needed. Safeguards exist to ensure the parking schedule returns to a permanently parked state if developers neglect to manually activate the schedule when access to the non-production VMs is no longer required.
How Much Can Azure VM Scheduling Software Save?
The amount by which businesses can reduce Azure VM cost depends on a number of factors. Savings can be influenced by the proportion of production VMs to non-production VMs, their sizes, pricing tiers and deployment regions. Larger businesses may also be taking advantage of discounts due to their existing software licenses or Microsoft Enterprise Agreements.
If, for example, a business was to park its development, staging and testing VMs between the hours of 7:00 in the evening and 8:00 in the morning from Monday to Fridayand throughout the weekend, it would achieve savings of more than 60% on its non-production VMs. Higher savings would be likely if an “always parked” schedule was selected and the schedule snoozed when access was required.
There are also indirect savings that can be achieved by implementing Azure VM scheduling software. With a higher level of governance and increased accountability, development teams will likely be more productive and complete projects in a shorter space of time. Improved resource management will enable the reallocation of stale resources so that businesses are not paying for VMs they are not using.
Indirect savings will also be apparent in the reduced amount of network security required to monitor non-production VMs while they are parked. Parked VMs are not accessible unless the schedule is snoozed, so there is no risk of unauthorized access or hacking. There is also no need to run virus scans on parked VMs, further reducing the demand on resources.
Reduce Your Business´s Azure VM Cost with ParkMyCloud
If your business deploys non-production VMs on Microsoft Azure, and you would like to reduce your Azure VM cost, you are invited to take advantage of a free fourteen day trial of ParkMyCloud – our easy-to-use and cost-efficient Azure VM scheduling software.
Our free trial offer gives you the opportunity to evaluate the merits of ParkMyCloud in your own environment. When the free trial is finished, you have the optionsof continuing to use ParkMyCloud on our free plan, upgrading to a premium plan with more advanced features, or not reducing your Azure VM cost.
For more information about our free trial offer, contact us today.