Achieving accurate and effective Azure rightsizing is a great way to reduce cloud costs because it saves money by eliminating excess capacity. However, it can be a complicated process because of the method Microsoft uses to charge for its cloud computing services – “provisioning”.
Provisioning means you pay for a fixed capacity. In the case of cloud computing it could be CPU capacity, memory capacity, bandwidth capacity or any other capacity. With provisioning, you are paying for the maximum amount of capacity you might want to use at any given moment, not how much of that you actually use.
Another reason overprovisioning is so prevalent is that it is important you do not provision less capacity than you need. This would result in VMs not being able to cope with their tasks or being unavailable during peak demand – application performance and accessibility reign supreme. But whereas the fixed capacity you selected may have been appropriate at the time you initially deployed a VM, demand can change over time. It is likely that, without Azure rightsizing, you are paying for more capacity than you need. Many developers choose the biggest VM size available, even for resources used for non-production purposes such as development, testing, staging, and QA.
Ultimately, costs determine how far your budget can go, so efficiency is key. Resizing your VMs and selecting the correct type can have a dramatic impact on your Azure cost. For example, by going down one size within the same VM family, you can reduce costs by 50%. By making changes between families and/or other Azure VM sizes by region, you have the potential for even greater savings.
Azure VM Types for your Workload
When choosing a VM, it’s not always easy to figure out a given system’s requirements ahead of time, so it can be tempting to select the highest option available just to be on the safe side. It’s also quite common to then forget about it and leave it oversized, leading to unnecessary costs month after month.
However, Microsoft Azure does provide you with a wide range of VM types that are optimized to meet various needs. Machine types are specialized, and vary by virtual CPU (vCPU), disk capability, and memory size, offering hundreds of thousands of permutations – and the ability to match any workload, but the ability to misconfigure as well.
Remember that finding the right machine type for your workload will always depend on your needs. And these can change.
Rightsizing your Azure VM’s
When you rightsize your Azure VM’s, you focus on maximizing utilization of existing and new resources at the lowest possible cost.
To properly rightsize your VMs, you need first to understand utilization trends in your environment, then apply utilization metrics to compare with available VM sizes –– easier said than done! In fact, it does take some analysis of usage patterns and consideration of availability to do this.
Tools like ParkMyCloud can help identify the proper sizing for your VMs. ParkMyCloud’s RightSizing feature matches workloads with the best Azure virtual machine to support them in order to optimize costs.
Azure RightSizing with ParkMyCloud
One of the reasons why Azure rightsizing can be complicated is that you are not only trying to rightsize one element of a VM – i.e. CPU capacity or memory capacity or bandwidth capacity – you are trying to rightsize a balance between all the capacities you need in order to extract optimum VM performance for the least possible cost. ParkMyCloud makes this balancing act simple by identifying which VMs are overprovisioned and recommending more appropriate feature-sets.
It does this by first conducting a discovery of your resources deployed on Azure via a permissions-limited dedicated credential. The results of the discovery are displayed on ParkMyCloud´s dashboard with details about each resource´s name, location, type, cost and the team to which it is assigned. By clicking on the graph icon to the right of each resource, you can access a customizable utilization report displaying the peak and average utilization of each VM by element or date.
Based on the parameters you enter, ParkMyCloud will make Azure rightsizing recommendations if the VM is overprovisioned. These may be to resize the VM to a more appropriate feature set, change the VM to a less expensive pricing option, or terminate the VM if it is no longer used or belongs in a group for which it is no longer required. ParkMyCloud does not change the VM configurations automatically, as this would involve switching off the VM. If you want to take advantage of ParkMyCloud´s Azure rightsizing recommendations, the changes have to be made manually when access to the VM is not required.
Optimize Costs by Auto-Scheduling Stop/Start Times
Assuming demand for some VMs has lessened over a period of time, Azure rightsizing will help you reduce your cloud costs. In order to optimize your cloud costs, you can use ParkMyCloud´s scheduling software to automate stop/start times for non-production VMs – typically those used for development, testing and staging that access to is not required outside of office hours. This is easy to achieve by going back to where your resources are displayed on the ParkMyCloud dashboard.
Alongside the list of resources, ParkMyCloud will indicate which VMs are suitable for auto-scheduling based on the names and tags assigned to them. To schedule stop/start times, you simply select the VMs you want to switch off when access to them is not required, and either apply one of the preconfigured parking schedules or create one of your own via the dashboard´s intuitive interface. The dashboard will also display the projected savings for each schedule over the next thirty days.
You do not have to apply the same parking schedules to every suitable VM. You may have development teams working different hours or maybe even in different time zones. ParkMyCloud allows you to set whichever parking schedules are most appropriate for each VM, and – if access is needed to a parked VM during its downtime – the schedule can be snoozed with the click of a mouse. The schedule will restart automatically after a period of inactivity.
Get Azure RightSizing Recommendations for Free
ParkMyCloud platform’s cost optimization capabilities has offered scheduling of idle cloud resources since 2015 and last year introduced Rightsizing.
ParkMyCloud’s Rightsizing capabilities offer up to 3 recommendations per resource and can take action for you once you accept a recommendation, including scheduling that resize action for a future time (such as during a maintenance window). Or, choose to review and accept recommendations manually
If you have VMs deployed on Microsoft Azure, and would like to get Azure right sizing recommendations for free, we invite you to get in touch and request a free trial of ParkMyCloud. The trial will show you it doesn´t have to be complicated to find the optimum configurations for your VMs, and give you an opportunity to see how much you can save by auto-scheduling stop/start times for non-production VMs. Furthermore, the savings from Rightsizing (and parking) are tracked and reported in ParkMyCloud, so you can show management or the CFO just how much money you’re saving the company.
To find out more, do not hesitate to contact us. If you have any questions about Azure rightsizing or ParkMyCloud before starting your free trial, our Customer Support team will be happy to answer them. Once the trial has started, we will be able to guide you through ParkMyCloud´s features and explain the benefits as they apply in your specific circumstances. Thereafter, if you find your cloud costs have been optimized by ParkMyCloud, we offer competitive subscription rates to make sure your cloud costs stay optimized.