Azure cost management software is an important tool for any business running their Virtual Machines (VMs) on Microsoft´s Azure platform. Cost management is often cited as one of the top priorities for companies utilizing public cloud resources today – and estimates show that $14 billion or more in cloud spend is wasted every year on resources that aren’t being used, making Azure cost management tools more important than ever.
What can this kind of software do? It provides a single view of all a business´s Azure accounts, VM types and the pricing categories into which they are placed – enabling businesses to make informed decisions about how they can cut Azure costs by rightsizing overprovisioned resources and scheduling on/off times for non-production VMs.
As well as using the software for Azure cost control, businesses can create permission tiers, track resource usage within those tiers, and gather information to improve governance and accountability. Combined, the features of Azure cost management software not only help businesses lower Azure expenses and better manage an Azure bill, but also better inform system administrators with capacity planning and forecasting in order to meet Azure budget demands.
Microsoft EAs and Other Ways to Cut Azure Costs
Microsoft does provide several native Azure cloud cost management functions, in various discount and contract formats. Here are the most common.
Microsoft Enterprise Agreements
Microsoft Enterprise Agreements (EAs) can be attractive options for larger businesses in the right circumstances. Generally speaking, Azure Enterprise Agreements help cut Azure costs for qualifying businesses – those with more than 500 users – by providing software licenses, software support and standardization to the most current versions of Microsoft product releases over a contract period – typically three years. However, there are other ways to cut Azure costs that do not require such a long-term commitment.
Azure Reserved Instances
Another commitment you can take advantage of to reduce costs is Azure Reserved Instance pricing. This option lets you commit on a resource level on a one- or three-year term to get a lower cost compared to Azure On Demand pricing. This option is a good fit when you have a predictable, long-term production workload, though for more variable options, it may not be the best pricing. For example, if Azure drops its On Demand pricing during the period of your contract, you won’t get to take advantage of that discount. And if you need to cancel your reservation, you’ll pay a cancelation fee.
Azure Low Priority VMs
Another way to get a discount from Azure On Demand costs is through low priority VMs, which you may know as Azure spot instances. These compute instances allocated from spare capacity, offered at a fixed discount of 60-80% compared to on-demand. The “low priority” part means that these VMs can be “evicted” for higher priority jobs, which makes them suitable for fault-tolerant applications such as batch processing, rendering, testing, some dev/test workloads, containerized applications, etc.
Low priority VMs are available through Azure Batch and VM scale sets. Through Azure Batch, you can run jobs and tasks across compute pools called “batch pools”. Since batch jobs consist of discrete tasks run using multiple VMs, they are a good fit to take advantage of low priority VMs. On the other hand, VM scale sets scale up to meet demand, and when used with low priority VMs, will only allocate when capacity is available.
Azure Dev/Test Pricing
Azure Dev Test Pricing offers several ways to discount resources users need for developing and testing. Individuals interested in this option will receive a credit, while EA customers get access to low Dev/Test rates. Other customers can get the “teams” option for dev/test pricing, which offers a lower On Demand price point for these VMs.
Turning VMs Off When Not Needed
Another way to save is to reduce Azure waste – the money that gets wasted due to overprovisioning and leaving VMs running when they are not required. Azure waste can also be attributable to decreases in demand that go unnoticed or unattached storage volumes and aged snapshots that are no longer required. The problem is finding these overprovisioned and zombie assets – especially if you have been operating in the Azure public cloud for a considerable amount of time.
Azure Start/Stop VM Solution
In the Azure marketplace, you can find a tool called the “Azure Start/Stop VM solution.” It is designed to turn non-production VMs off nights and weekends to save money. However, Azure users have found that this solution lacks functionality and is “pai
nful to use” – see a full breakdown of the solution here.
ParkMyCloud’s Azure Cost Management Tool
Another solution to the problem of resource scheduling and rightsizing is ParkMyCloud´s Azure cost management software. Although primarily an Azure VM scheduler, ParkMyCloud also identifies which resources are no longer required or overprovisioned, and makes recommendations about their optimum configurations. In most cases, ParkMyCloud´s recommendations will cut Azure costs; but our software can also identify VMs that could perform better with increased capacity as well.
Using ParkMyCloud as an Azure VM Scheduler
ParkMyCloud is a lightweight SaaS app that helps lower Azure expenses by providing the facility to “park” non-production VMs when they are not required. The app is simple to use, and all administrators have to do is log into their Microsoft account through ParkMyCloud, create a permissions-limited role for the app and allow the app to locate the business´s assets deployed on Azure and extract their metadata. The results are displayed across an easy-to-view single-pane dashboard.
The app reads the names and tags assigned to VMs and recommends which are suitable for scheduling (“parking”). Administrators can select a default parking schedule (for example “on” from 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. Monday to Fridays) and apply the schedule to every recommended VM, create individual parking schedules for groups of non-production VMs, or select an “Always Parked” schedule that switches non-production VMs off until access to them is required.
This third option is ideal for development teams that work irregular hours or in irregular patterns, as the “Always Parked” schedule can be overridden with the click of a mouse. Safeguards exist to reactivate the schedule after a period of inactivity so resources are not left running unnecessarily. Whereas the default parking schedules are an effective way to reduce Azure waste, the “Always Parked” schedule can lower Azure expenses the most and best help administrators meet Azure budget demands.
Using ParkMyCloud to Further Reduce Azure Waste
With regard to rightsizing overprovisioned VMs and identifying zombie resources, ParkMyCloud does the hard work for administrators by providing utilization-based heatmaps. The heatmaps make it clear to see which resources are not being used to their full capacity – or not at all – and provide all the metrics administrators need to facilitate the most appropriate configurations. The heatmaps and metrics are easy to access via the ParkMyCloud dashboard.
As far as how much businesses can lower Azure expenses, it has been estimated that 55% of resources deployed in the public cloud are not correctly sized for their workloads, while a further 15% of cloud computing costs is accounted for by duplicated and zombie resources. Our own research shows that 44% of workloads are non-production workloads such as those used in quality assurance, development, testing and staging; and if you were to apply the 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. default schedule mention above to non-production resources, you would lower Azure expenses by 70% of 44% of your Azure bill.
More than 1,000 companies use ParkMyCloud’s Azure cost manager, including:
- A global fast food chain is managing 3,500+ resources in ParkMyCloud and saving more than $200,000 per month on their cloud spend
- A global registry software company has saved more than $2.2 million on their cloud spend since signing up for ParkMyCloud – an ROI of 6173%
- A global consumer goods company with 200+ ParkMyCloud users saves more than $100,000 per month on their cloud spend
Manage Your Azure Bill with ParkMyCloud for Free
We invite you to manage your Azure bill with ParkMyCloud over a free trial period and see how much you could save. The free trial offer is for a fully-enable version of our Azure cost management software, with all the features mentioned above, no set-up costs, contracts to sign or obligation to commit to our service once the trial period has ended. Furthermore, no credit card is required in order to take advantage of our offer, and all the savings your business makes during the trial period are yours to keep.
To find out more about our invitation, the benefits of our Azure VM scheduler, and the pricing options available should your business decide to continue practicing Azure cost control with ParkMyCloud, contact us today. Our experienced Customer Service team will be happy to answer any questions you have, and explain how ParkMyCloud can help you reduce Azure waste, lower Azure expenses and help meet Azure budget demands.
- ParkMyCloud is an effective solution for helping businesses reduce their cloud computing costs.
- Our scheduling software automates the process of switching non-production VMs on and off.
- Businesses can save up to 65% on the cost of deploying resources on Microsoft Azure.
- ParkMyCloud also helps identify over-provisioned resources and those no longer required.
- Further benefits of ParkMyCloud include better governance and enhanced accountability.
- Try ParkMyCloud for free and see how easy it is to manage your costs on the Azure platform.