4 Easy Ways to Optimize Your Azure Costs

2020 has challenged our customers to find new ways to reduce their IT spend.  Cost optimization is at the forefront of our customers’ minds.  Fortunately, there are many simple (and unrealized) ways to optimize your spend in Azure, and reduce the overall burden of costs in the cloud.  See below for 4 easy ways to optimize your Azure Costs.

1) For already deployed solutions, use Azure Advisor to review and take action on cost-saving recommendations

Are you using this tool yet?  Azure Advisor is a free service that helps you optimize your already-deployed Azure resources for cost, security, performance, reliability, and operational excellence.  Targeted at the resource level, Advisor’s recommendations are personalized to your Azure environment.  

Examples of Advisor cost recommendations include:

  • Right-sizing underutilized workloads
  • Shutting down unused resources
  • Buying reserved instances (our next recommendation…)

2) Azure Reservations – Effectively, Microsoft will offer you a discount in return for committing to consistent workloads over time

Receive a discount on your Azure services by purchasing Azure Reservations.  This is a one-year or three-year commitment to specific Azure services.  Doing so benefits Microsoft by giving them visibility into your resource needs, which in turn, allows them to be more efficient.  In return, Microsoft offers savings of up to 72%*. 

*Note this 72% is the largest cost-saving example on one M32ts Azure VM for Windows OS in US Gov Virginia region running for 36 months on a 3-year reservation… but I digress.

Still it is very, very beneficial to take advantage of RI’s if you have predictable workloads in Azure.

3) Take advantage of current Windows Server and SQL Server licensing via Azure Hybrid Benefit

Azure Hybrid Benefit is a licensing benefit that lets you bring your Windows Server and SQL Server on-premise licenses (with active Software Assurance) to Azure.  This previous investment in Microsoft licensing allows our customers to significantly reduce the costs of running your workloads in the cloud.  Effectively, you only pay compute costs in Azure.  

License Mobility is a licensing benefit which allows you to bring your own Windows Server and SQL Server licenses to the cloud, leveraging SQL Server in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) environments.  Unique benefits such as free fail-over server licensing for SQL Server Disaster Recovery and Free Extended Security Updates make Azure a great home for Windows Server and SQL Server.

Note:  Both of these items give Microsoft Azure a competitive advantage against AWS, something that is often missed in the comparison between the two major cloud platforms.

4) Architect your solutions in ways that maximize your investment while minimizing costs

Take advantage of Microsoft’s Well-Architected Framework advice, and see their Principles of cost optimization article to design cost-effective workloads in Azure.  Finally, leverage a trusted partner to help you deploy resources in the most cost-effective manner possible.

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