Cloud Spend Management

Optimizing Your Azure Environment

Optimizing your Azure Environment

In this article we will discuss how you can manage and optimize your Azure spending. We also show optimization options for Reserved Instances.

Cloud computing provides a basis for replacing your old infrastructure in a world full of new possibilities. Microsoft shows this with its cloud platform: Microsoft Azure.

In addition to the current infrastructure made up of servers, storage and networks, solutions can now also be discovered for optimizing your databases and websites using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The big advantage of cloud solutions is that the cloud provider is responsible for the underlying infrastructure. This way you don't have to worry about installations and the management of on-premise systems. A single click opens up a range of new systems and services that are immediately available in the cloud; flexible use and maximum security of your company data in one. You only pay for what you use and you do not need large investments for the purchase of server hardware.

Tips to Get Started

At first glance, cloud solutions seem simple, but given the new nature of the technology, it is important to embrace the cloud correctly. You need to decide which services should be migrated to, or mapped in Azure, and with which tools. If you need help in this area, our AzureSimple offering can ensure the strategy, design and migration plan of moving to the cloud is simplified while realizing the full technical benefits of Azure.

In addition, it is a challenge for Admins to focus on all the functionality Azure has to offer. Why is that important? Every action in Azure can incur cost, for example app developers no longer need to purchase additional server hardware to run tests, instead Azure virtual machines can easily be set up and used for testing. However, if these virtual machines on Azure aren’t shut down after the test phase, then you will continue to pay.

With the Cloud Spend Management Module in our PyraCloud platform (which is included as part of our AzureSimple offering), you have a complete overview of your Azure consumption and spend. Watch the short 2-minute video below to learn more.

Steps to Take to Manage and Optimize Your Environment

The below steps outline how PyraCloud can be used to simplify the governance, budgeting, spend tracking and charge back of cloud costs to your organization. PyraCloud can do this across your on-premise and multiple cloud environment.

Creating Azure Tags

Centralize tagging across your Azure (and AWS) environments. This enables you to discover, group and consistently tag cloud resources across your cloud providers – manually or through automated tag rules. Maintaining a consistent tagging structure allows you to see resource information from all cloud providers for enhanced governance, cost analytics and chargeback.

PyraCloud Tag Manager
Image 1: PyraCloud Tag Manager, source: SoftwareONE

Creating Azure Hierarchy

Structure workloads and environments into business units and cost centers. You can define your hierarchy based on your internal reporting needs. Resources can then be grouped into business units and cost centers. You can also split the cost of shared resources such as storage or security services across multiple groups to better manage usage and spend.

PyraCloud Group Structure Management
Image 2: Creating Azure Hierarchy in PyraCloud, source: SoftwareONE

Establish Azure Budgets

Set budgets by business unit or project. By setting budgets, you can track costs down to the workload level, establishing strong accountability for cloud spend. Once set, you can view where your organization is against that specific budget, for the defined length of time. Additionally, indicators and alerts can be set to show you how your organization is tracking against budgets.

PyraCloud Cloud Budget Manager
Image 3: PyraCloud Cloud Budget Manager, source: SoftwareONE

Analyze Azure Spend

Customized reports and dashboards provide insight into cloud budget and spend across your Azure (or multi-cloud environment as shown below) including reserve instance spend. These insights enable lines of business and stakeholders to govern, manage and optimize budget and spend of cloud resources.

pyracloud_cloud_consumption_dashboard
Image 4: PyraCloud Dashboard, source: SoftwareONE

Distribute Azure Costs

Consolidate Azure spend, mark-up as required and distribute the costs across your organization. You no longer need to manage this process manually, you can allocate cloud costs by creating internal chargeback’s. These chargeback’s can then be shared with key stakeholders across your business to show the precise amount of cloud resources they have consumed within a given time period.

PyraCloud Chargeback Manager
Image 5: Chargeback Management in PyraCloud, source: SoftwareONE

Optimize your Azure Environment

Leverage intelligent recommendations and suggestions to optimize, streamline and improve your Azure Environment. Recommendations provide bespoke and tailored recommendations that help you to identify cost saving opportunities, streamline spend, uncover underutilized resources and track other key success metrics.

 

PyraCloud Recommendations
Image 6: Recommendations in PyraCloud, source: SoftwareONE

Azure Hybrid Use Benefit and Reserved Instances

In addition to continuously monitoring costs in Microsoft Azure and optimizing resources i.e. ensuring that idle resources are cleared as quickly as possible. There are other ways to save costs in Azure - Reserved Instances and the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit.

Azure Hybrid Use Benefit (AHUB) is a pricing offer that helps customers maximise the value of their existing on-premises Windows Server and/or SQL Server license when migrating to Azure where customers pay a reduced rate on Azure Virtual Machines. It is important to track where AHUB is being used across your organization and PyraCloud can help you do this.

Summary

Azure Reserved Instances help customers to save money by committing to a one-year or three-year plan for virtual machines. In return, you receive discounts of up to 72 percent on the selected resource. PyraCloud provides recommendations on possible optimizations i.e. which virtual machines may benefit from reserved instances or identifying which existing reserved instances are not being utilized. Watch our short 2-minute video below to see it in action:

Want to Exploit the Benefits Offered by the Azure Cloud Platfrom?

Have a closer look to our AzureSimple offer.and get in contact with our Azure experts. We are happy to assist you in all aspects of Azure implementation and advice.

Discover AzureSimple

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Author

Eric Berg

Microsoft MVP, independent Azure expert

Microsoft MVP for Microsoft Azure and Cloud & Datacenter Management

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