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Azure Cost Optimisation Guide for Sydney Businesses

You’ve just made the switch from on-premises to cloud and now you’re wondering how much it costs. You’re not alone. This can be a confusing time for many organisations who are forced to make decisions about the best way to manage their cloud costs. There are so many moving parts in this transition, and it can be really difficult to know what is right for your business and ensure that your cloud spend doesn’t get out of control.

To help you reduce your cloud spend effectively, let’s take a look at how Azure cost optimisation can benefit your business, and what you can do to manage costs on the platform.

What is Azure cost optimisation?

Azure’s range of cost-optimising tools, such as Azure Advisor and Azure Cost Management, helps organisations manage cloud costs by providing visibility into the cloud services they use, what resources those services consume, and how much they’re costing them. With Azure cost optimisation, you’ll be able to see where your money is going and what you’re spending on.

The key feature of Azure cost optimisation is that you get an entire overview of all your cloud expenses. You can see how much you’re spending on each service as well as the size and duration for each individual resource. In addition to this, you can receive recommendations for how to optimise your spend based on data collected from other customers who have made similar investments. With Azure, you have all the tools you need to help streamline your expenditures, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.

The benefits of Azure cost optimisation

The benefits of Azure cost optimisation are easy to understand, and they can go beyond simple cost savings. You’ll be able to quickly deploy new software and services with no additional IT resources required. This saves you time and money because you don’t have to hire more people or purchase more hardware. However, these benefits are only available when you’re not paying too much for your cloud services.

To maximise the benefits of Azure cost optimisation, we suggest that you use Azure’s Cloud Pricing Calculator so that your organisation can determine what its total cost is per month. It’s important to remember that costs will vary depending on how many users are in your organisation and the type of hosting environment you choose.

Steps to optimise your Azure spend

The first step is to understand the different types of Azure services and the costs associated with them. The next step is to gather all your current Azure bills, calculate their total cost for each service, and determine what are the highest-value services for your business. The last step is to start implementing changes like those listed below to optimise your Azure spend.

Reduce or shutdown under-used resources

One of the first steps you should take before diving into cost optimisation is to identify all resources that are under-utilised. This might be something as simple as identifying how many virtual machines you’re using. Under-utilised resources in Azure can add to your cloud costs. If you don’t need them, you should shut them down.

There are a number of ways to identify under-utilised resources:

  • Use the Azure portal or PowerShell to list your resources and check which ones are using little or no resources.
  • Use the Azure Cost Analysis tool. This is a very powerful tool that can give you a detailed view of your resource usage. It will also allow you to compare your actual cost with the expected cost.
  • Use the Azure Usage Insights to monitor your environment, identifying usage trends and anomalies in resource usage. This will allow you to see if you have any under-utilised resources.

If you identify any under-utilised resources in your Azure environment, shutting them down will help you save money.

Set up autoscaling

Before you can effectively reach your optimal costs with Azure, you need to configure autoscaling. This is the process of computing and maintaining a target utilisation level for your virtual machines. With autoscaling, you’re able to automatically increase or decrease the number of virtual machines in your subscription based on the demand at any given time.

This will allow you to have more resources when you need them and less if you don’t. In this case, the virtual machines will be turned off if they are not in use. This is a very effective method for ensuring the stability of your virtual machines, as well as reducing the cost of your Azure subscription.

Choose the Azure compute service that fits your business

There are several different Azure compute services you can use depending on your business needs and selecting one that doesn’t suit your operations could be costing your business money.

Some of the compute services include:

  • Azure Virtual Machines – allow you to run a full operating system in Azure and are used for development, test, and production workloads. Virtual machines (VMs) are the most common type of Azure cloud services.
  • Azure Container Service – allows you to run container-based applications in Azure. Containers are lightweight, portable, and isolated applications that can be run in any environment.
  • Azure App Service – allows you to build web apps and mobile apps that scale automatically across all your users’ devices.
  • Azure Batch – allows you to run large-scale parallel and high-performance computing workloads in the cloud.
  • Azure Service Fabric – allows you to run highly available and scalable microservices in the cloud.

Now that you know the compute services available to you, it’s time to select the right one, so you are not wasting money on a compute service that is not right for your business.

Use the Azure Cost Management feature

Once you have the Azure Cost Management feature set up, your next step is to use it to manage your cloud costs. Here, you’ll get an overview of all the services and subscriptions that are running on Azure. From this view, you can see the overall cost of these services, the cost per service and its projected future costs.

This is a great way for you to see where your money goes and make decisions about what’s important to continue paying for – or stop paying for.

Reserve resources and capacity for consistent workloads

A consistent workload is one that has a set of tasks that repeat over and over again. The difference between a consistent and an inconsistent workload can be seen in the number of CPUs needed to run it.

The standard Azure pricing model is based on the amount of CPU, memory, and storage you use. If your application does not use all of them, you will end up paying for unused resources. This can be particularly expensive if you are running a database in the same region as your web application and have an instance with a high number of cores and memory, which is typical of a production database.

It’s essential to reserve instances for consistent workloads that are ready to be run 24/7 on all available resources. By doing so, you will reduce the cost of your Azure cloud subscription because you will be able to take advantage of more resources than if you were using only a small part of them.

Get the Azure Hybrid Benefit

The Azure Hybrid Benefit is the process of bill consolidation for Azure. When you utilise the Hybrid Benefit, the cost of your cloud infrastructure is spread across both on-premises and Azure over time. This has the effect of lowering the total cost of ownership (TCO) for your business with Azure.

If you’re currently not using the Hybrid Benefit, you’ll need to apply for it. To do this, you’ll need to send in a form that contains your current usage on both on-premises and Azure.

You’ll also need to include a copy of your current IT infrastructure agreement and a letter from your IT department stating that both on-premises and Azure will be utilised in the future (this is required) because, in order to qualify for this benefit, you’ll need to keep a minimum usage level on both on-premises and Azure.

Don’t lose control of your cloud spend…

Microsoft Azure provides cost-effective cloud solutions that help businesses grow and put more money in their pocket. However, if you’re not utilising the features of the platform that can help you keep control of your cloud spend, you won’t be getting the cost savings you’d hoped for when migrating to the platform.

If you’d like to know more about how you can reduce your cloud spend and get the full benefit of Azure in your Sydney business, contact the Azure experts at INTELLIWORX. As a Microsoft Gold partner with Azure Competency, they’ll be able to help you get the most out of your cloud investment.

Shane Maher

We passionately work on the IT Infrastructure of mid-tier businesses and support MSPs into cloud services. I have over 17 years of commercial experience that includes supporting and managing IT systems, developing infrastructure solutions, both onsite & in the cloud.

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