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Azure cost optimization best practices

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You’ve moved your workloads to Azure cloud 

You want to make the most of the investment and the ideal next step is optimizing your Azure costs to meet your financial objectives.  

But how do you decide which costs to optimize on Azure? 

As organizations move resources to the cloud, cloud costs become a large part of IT budgets.  

And for many business owners, optimizing how they fund their critical IT projects is a difficult task 

Optimizing cloud spend 

Optimizing costs is a top cloud initiative, according to Flexera’s 2020 State of the Cloud Report.  

Ensuring your Azure workloads are cost optimized can help free up funds to support essential surge areas like remote work.  

You can get started on Azure cost management by:  

  1. Understanding and forecasting your costs
  2. Optimizing Azure workload costs
  3. Cost management controls

Azure cost optimization 

Azure cost optimization offers guidance designed to help you manage and optimize your Azure spend. With Azure cost optimization, you manage your cloud spend while focusing on what matters the most to you. Continuous monitoring and analytics give you visibility and draw cost awareness, improve the efficiency of your cloud setting, and let you set up resources that are anchored on Azure cost optimization. 

These are some of the ideal ways to ensure Azure cost optimization:

  1. Block the unused and right-size the underused resources 
  2. Prefer pay-as-you-go pricing for consistent workloads 
  3. Meet performance needs by allocating and reallocating resources 
  4. Ideally, allocate a budget and monitor your organization’s cloud spending 
  5. Choose cost-efficient operation by selecting the right compute service for applications 

Understand and forecast your Azure costs 

Understanding your Azure spend now and forecasting what your bill is going to be like is a good start to optimizing Azure costs.  

Azure Cost Management Billing tool gives you a full set of capabilities to track resource usage and manage costs across all your clouds. Which means you can easily manage costs across Azure and AWS from a single location.  

Azure Cost Management + Billing gives users a single, unified view of resource usage and costs. Which gives access to rich operational and financial insights that help to make informed decisions.  

It allows you to: 

  1. Analyzeyour Azure bill 
  2. Manage budgets and set spend alerts
  3. Allocate team and budget costs 

When new priority workloads come in or you must go back to existing ones to explore cost optimization opportunities, you’ll have to create an estimate of the cloud costs.  

Use the help of the Azure pricing calculator and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculator to create cost estimates for next Azure project.  

Optimizing Azure workload costs 

Once you’ve understood where you spend, the next area of focus is optimizing existing Azure resources and workloads.  

  1. Azure Advisorhelps to cost optimize Azure resources and gives you recommendations on best practices based on your IT setup configurations 
  1. Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Frameworkgives broader architectural level guidance for workload cost optimization.  It’s all about managing costs to get the most value out of your Azure workloads and covers. The framework includes five pillars of architecture excellence: Cost Optimization, Operational Excellence, Performance Efficiency, Reliability, and Security. 

You can also save with Azure offers and licensing terms such as: 

  1. Azure Hybrid Benefit: Savebig on Azure by using your on-premise Windows Servicer and SQL server license on Azure cloud at no added expense. This licensing benefit helps businesses to significantly bring down costs of running cloud workloads.  
  2. Azure Reservations: Reserve resources in advance and saveclose to 72% over pay-as-you-go pricingThis pricing model gives you more of Azure cloud for lesser cost, while maintaining simplicity and flexibility.  
  3. Azure Spot Virtual Machines: Access unused compute capacity of Azure in a huge discount of up to 90% compared topay-as-you-go model. Spot VMs are ideal for workloads that can be interrupted, providing scalability and reducing costs.  
  4. Azure Dev/Test Pricing: You can get discounted rates on Azure to support your ongoing DevOps.This means, you would not have to pay Microsoft software charges on VMs.  

Azure cost management control 

Now that the workload costs are optimized, the final area of focus is deploying an organization-wide cost management policy to maintain the costs 

Governance is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to working on the cloud.  

Another challenge is balancing workload requirements – like the demand for better performance and need for higher reliability 

To help with such needs, the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure provides organizational cloud management guidance together with the cloud governance strategy.  

Cost management best practices in the guidance helps to mitigate cloud spending risks.  

And once the organizational policies for cost management are set, implement the cost controls directly on the Azure environment to achieve real-time cloud compliance at scale.  

Managing Azure storage costs 

Another area where costs can get out of hand is storage. Since costs are based on use, management of storage costs can make a huge difference in your Azure bills.  

Azure has five main storage products: Azure Disk Storage, Azure Blob Storage, Azure Archive Storage, Azure Files and Azure NetApp Files 

Each product has a different pricing structureAnd cost is determined by the GB of data stored, data transfer costs and data operation charges.  

To optimize storage costs, enterprises must ensurwhat is stored in the Azure storage account is used.  

Let’s see what the storage products do for you: 

Azure Disk Storage: You can put your mission- and business-critical applications on Azure Disk Storage that offers high performance and durable block storage.  

Optimize costs with precise storage you need for your workload needs.  

It offers 4 disk storage options – Ultra Disk Storage, Premium SSD, Standard SSD and Standard HDD 

Azure Blob Storage: This is a scalable and secure object storage system for your unstructured data 

Azure Blob Storage helps you optimize costs with its tiered storage and supports long-term data and flexibility needs.  

Azure Archive Storage: You can store your rarely accessed data on Azure Archive Storage to save costs as it is the lowest priced storage tier. Your data is automatically encrypted and secured 

Azure Files: Fully managed serverless file shares in the cloud 

Usage is priced according to quantity of data stored, duration of storage, number of operations done on the data, data redundancy options and storage tier.  

Azure NetApp Files: Easily deploy intensive and latency sensitive file-based workloads using Azure NetApp Files.  

Pricing is based on how much storage is used, priced per GB per hour.  

If this information feels overwhelming, Nuvento’s Azure experts can guidand support you on the products you need to support your specific storage needs and bring down your Azure costs. 

Azure Cost Optimization: Tips and Best Practices 

Optimize your cloud costs with Azure cloud cost management by following the best practices: 

  1. Delete idle resources: Azure Advisor finds idle virtual machines and other resources on your Azure accountShut these resources down and see how much you could save. 
  2. Right-size underutilized resources: Identify resources that are underused and study how they could be reconfigured to fit the real need and reduce costs.  
  3. Reserve instances to support consistent workloads: Reserve instances for your consistent workloads in advance and save costs. 
  4. Configure your auto scaling options: Allocate and deallocate resources dynamically according to usage to match your performance needs.  
  5. Keep a budget and allocate costs to teams and projects: Create and manage budgets for the Azure services you use and monitor your enterprise’s cloud spend with Azure Cost Management.  
  6. Choose the right Azure compute service: Selecting the right compute service for your application lets you function more cost efficiently. 
  7. Select pricing option according to your need: Charges for resources are based on how long users avail them. So, select the right pricing option to reduce the overall cloud bill.
  8. Move workload to containers: Containers are a lighter computing option and are less expensive. Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is a fully managed container hosting platform you can use for your computing needs 
  9. Shifting workloads to serverless computing: Azure Functions is an event driven serverless compute platform that lets to build, deploy and operate at scale. Pay only for the resources you use and avoid VM rent costs. 
  10. Use B-series VMs: B-series VM are used for typically idle applications that have sudden usage bursts. B-series VMs use baseline-level CPU power having you paying only for the minimal usage. When there’s a sudden burst, CPU power increases and you pay extra for the extra used capacity. 
  11. Delete unused disks: Deleting a VM does not mean deleting a virtual disk. Disks continue to live and cost you until you identify and delete them. Save costs here.  
  12. Move from Database VMs to Elastic Databases: VMs are expensive and running an SQL server on Azure can get quickly expensive. Move you SQL server instances to the Azure SQL service and see a dramatic reduction in costs.  

Get optimizing on Azure costs now 

Optimizing costs on your Azure usage is critical to keeping your Azure spend down. Following these best practices can let enterprises meet their compute needs and achieve business goals while keeping costs under control.  

For guidance on setting up the right instances and optimizing Azure costs for your specific workloads, talk to Nuvento’s Azure consultants today for the cloud cost management services.

Request free consultation