Azure cost optimization is generally regarded to be the third stage of “cloud awareness” – the stage reached after companies have embraced cloud computing (Stage 1), deployed multiple resources into the cloud (Stage 2), and realized how much it is costing them.
Optimizing the cost of Azure then becomes a priority in order to regain control of budgets and IT governance, and also to prevent Azure accounts from being suspended if the monthly spend exceeds a predefined monthly limit.
There are various paths to achieving Azure cost optimization. Prepayments and Enterprise Agreements can result in discounts, while switching regions or pricing plans can also reduce Azure costs. However, these measures do not necessarily optimize Azure costs or achieve the maximum savings possible.
Measures to Optimize Azure Costs
One of the reasons why Azure costs rise so quickly is because compute resources deployed into the cloud are always running unless switched off. Access to many non-production resources – such as development, testing and staging VMs – is only required during the working week.
By switching off non-production resources when not required, companies can save up to 65% on the cost of deploying development, testing and staging VMs on Microsoft´s cloud compute platform. There are three options available for switching off non-production resources:
- Instruct developers to switch off non-production resources when they are not required.
- Reassign development teams away from core projects to write scheduling scripts.
- Implement scheduling software to automate the on/off process.
Instructing developers to switch off non-production resources is not the most reliable option to optimize Azure costs. Developers can forget, or switch off VMs from within the resource rather than through the Azure portal – in which case Microsoft will continue to charge for reserved computing power.
Depending on the size of the company, how much it pays developers and the pricing plans for resources deployed on Azure, reassigning development teams to write and maintain scheduling scripts could cost more than the company saves. It will also delay the completion of core projects.
Automating the on/off process with scheduling software is undoubtedly the best way to optimize Azure costs, for not only does the software deliver direct savings of up to 65% on the cost of deploying non-production resources on Azure, it can also deliver indirect savings through improved IT governance.
Using Scheduling Software for Azure Cost Optimization
Using scheduling software for Azure cost optimization is not only effective, it is easy. System administrators connect with the company´s Azure account(s) via a SaaS application, create permission tiers for their development teams and assign resources to each.
When team members connect with their Azure account via the application, they can see only the resources assigned to them and recommendations about which non-production resources are suitable for scheduling (or “parking”) based on their names and tags.
Team members can select their own parking schedules without impacting on the schedules of other development teams and choose either a “one-size-fits-all” schedule, or park their non-production resources according to specific policies created through the application.
Subject to the number of non-production resources a development team is assigned, the parking process takes just a few minutes. After the schedules are confirmed, the application displays the projected savings over the next thirty days and, once operational, the application displays actual savings.
Parking schedules can be amended as necessary or “snoozed” when out of hours access is required. In many cases, the best way to optimize Azure costs with scheduling software is to park all non-production resources permanently and then simply snooze the schedule as necessary.
Indirectly Optimizing the Cost of Azure
The direct savings of Azure cost optimization are easy to quantify and measure. For example, if a development team were to park its non-production resources between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m., and throughout the weekend, the company would save more than 60% of the cost of deploying non-production resources on Microsoft Azure. It is harder to quantify indirect savings.
Indirect savings manifest via improved IT governance. System administrators can take advantage of the application´s single-view dashboard to monitor resource activity, identify and reassign unused resources, and increase accountability. They can also view and download reports on how Azure cost optimization is progressing to provide guidelines for future capacity, budget and project planning.
Further indirect savings are made by eliminating the need for parked non-production resources to be monitored by network security teams and for unnecessary virus scans. There is no risk of unauthorized intrusion while the resources are parked. These benefits and indirect savings contribute to overall Azure cost optimization and would not be realized with manual scheduling or scheduling scripts.
Optimize Azure Costs with ParkMyCloud
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If your company is evaluating the options for Azure cost optimization, we invite you to take advantage of a free fourteen day trial of ParkMyCloud in order to evaluate the merits of our tool for optimizing the cost of Azure in your own environment. At the end of the trial you can choose between continuing to use ParkMyCloud without charge, or upgrading to a premium account with more advanced functionality.
To start your free trial of ParkMyCloud, simply click on any “Try it Now” button on this page. You only need to share your email address in order to register for your free account. There are no credit cards required nor contracts to sign. Alternatively, if you have any questions about ParkMyCloud or the opportunity to optimize Azure costs for free, do not hesitate to contact us.