Keep control of your Azure Costs and save money

Getting a grip on cloud costs: how do you gain & maintain control? The 3 key success factors!

Published: 12 May 2023

Cloud Cost Management is growing in importance, especially when you collaborate with a larger number of employees or with different cloud vendors. You don't want to be confronted with unexpected high usage costs afterward. So getting a grip on your costs is a must! In this article we dive into the key success factors, cost management tools & best practices to manage your cloud costs. Let's go!


The success factors:


Succesfactor 1: Plan ahead


Whether you still need to migrate to Azure or already use Microsoft cloud services, plan ahead! Your cloud strategy based on your company's KPIs should be the leading element of your plan. With this strategy, you develop a cloud migration plan. It describes the activities, roles, and responsibilities and determines the resources needed. In order to plan the estimated monthly costs in advance, we recommend the Azure Price Calculator. Plan ahead how you want to keep a grip on your costs in Azure, based on your situation:

If you aren’t using Azure yet:

If you aren’t yet using Azure, determine your cloud strategy and develop a clear cloud migration plan with your costs in mind. This means:                                

  • Determine required resources;
  • Predict spending;
  • Determine budgets;
  • Set the parameters or tags on which you will assess;

You can use the above-mentioned Azure price calculator to estimate your monthly costs. 

No idea how to set up such a cloud migration plan? Or how to create an Azure Design, calculate your Azure costs, or how to implement the above? Schedule a call for a Cloud design, our experts are ready to help you!


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Already on Azure:

If you are already using Microsoft cloud services, there is a good chance that you can save money on your monthly recurring Azure bill. In many cases, gaining insight into who is responsible for which costs within your company is interesting, so create visibility in your cloud spend. When you know what you can spend, you determine the tooling and set budgets per business unit, products, resources, or roles.

Success factor 2: Insight into costs 


The only way to keep a grip on costs and save on your Azure expenses is by gaining visibility into who incurs which cloud costs within the company. We share the do's & don'ts with you:


Do's & Don'ts:

1. Determine where your cloud costs are coming from and allocate your resources to the business units, products, and roles within your company. If you use Azure for your customers (which applies to many software companies) you can take it a step further by determining your Azure Costs per customer. Very interesting if you want to pass on hosting costs one-to-one or if you simply want to know what Azure costs you have per customer.

2. If the customer needs access to the Azure portal, create a separate subscription per customer. This way the client can easily access his own resources, you will receive one invoice per client and you will not make any mistakes in allocating your resources. The Finance department within your company can simply book the costs to the correct cost carrier. It also allows Management and IT to easily reduce cloud costs.

The above clarification of costs is necessary to analyze spending patterns and ultimately set budgets. See the next success factor.


Success factor 3: Analyze


After creating a clear overview of the costs, you are ready to start analyzing. This will allow you to identify spending patterns over time and determine bottlenecks. Pay attention to the following points in the analysis:                                                
1. It is important that you structurally balance the costs against your budget and determine whether you are still on track. The Cost Management Tools we discuss in more detail below offer you tools for this. For example, the Cost Management Tool 'Azure Costs' gives you an overview of your Overall Spending, Daily Burn Rate, and Billing History. Besides filtering on your custom-made tags, you can easily filter on standard tags like: Service "Types, Size Categories, Region, Primary Meter, Primary Meter Unit", Resource Groups, your subscriptions, etc.

2. Set budgets and set alerts: If you haven't already, it's important to set budgets. You can then attach warnings to these budgets. You can also configure automatic triggers. For instance, a VM is automatically turned off after a certain time. It can also be helpful to pre-configure which resources development or operations may roll out. This prevents you from discovering during the analysis that the most expensive workloads have been accidentally enabled, resulting in a high invoice. 

3. Keep optimizing after the analysis: the takeaway from this article is that small adjustments can create big changes in cost management. Especially with the right tools, this is easily manageable! Our suggestions:

  • Using just a limited number of resources: compare your cloud usage (Azure detailed Usage) to your billing costs (Azure invoice)
  • Azure Cost Management: Analyze past cloud usage and spending and forecast future spending. Identify trends and anomalies & opportunities for optimization and savings. Highly recommended!
  • The Intercept Azure Cost Scan - (temporarily free of charge, normally worth 699 euros) in which our in-house consultants provide a professional savings recommendation within a few hours, based on your current Azure cloud usage. Simple, easy-to-implement suggestions for change!



Wrap up: optimization tips & tricks:


Finally, some last  'quick wins' to help you cut costs on Azure:

1. Identify unused resources and deploy them. You can also easily benefit by resetting underutilized resources to a lower resource, whether automated or not. You'd be surprised how many organizations overpay for unused resources.

2. With Azure Reservations, you make an upfront commitment to purchase many workloads. Microsoft indicates that you can save up to 80 percent for the same resources. In practice, we see that this leads to more than 50% savings for our customers.

3. Within CSP, Software Subscriptions can be used that allows you to commit to Windows Servers. This can result in discounts of up to 70%.

4. Use the Microsoft CSP instead of Microsoft's direct model (credit card). This will quickly save you 5% or more on your monthly bill. Check out the different purchase models from Microsoft.