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The advantages of the cloud are widely recognized, including enhanced scalability, growth opportunities, and innovation potential. These all hold significant value for most businesses. However, what might be less clear are the optimal strategies and resources that allow you to confidently operate in the cloud while prioritizing long-term efficiency and productivity. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping our customers improve their Azure workloads with resources, tools, and guidance promoting optimization of their cloud investment.

At Microsoft, we understand that customers strive to improve workload reliability and security and optimize their cloud spend so they can accelerate business innovation without worrying about workload vulnerabilities or ballooning cloud costs. We want to help you foster a cycle of continual improvement of your Microsoft Azure workloads and realize the cost benefits of the cloud. Once the key elements of Azure optimization are in place, customers are able to consistently extract maximum value from their cloud investment.

Improve workload reliability and security

Your company can accelerate development in the cloud by leveraging a comprehensive set of guidance that helps you design reliable and secure workloads. The Azure Well-Architected Framework empowers organizations to seamlessly construct, design, and implement cloud deployments that are optimized for security, reliability, performance, sustainability, and cost-efficiency. Importantly, the Well-Architected Framework includes guidance to help you understand the security and reliability tradeoffs associated with cost optimization and reduce unnecessary expenses.

In tandem, the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure provides clear directions for creating and deploying cloud environments that are precisely tailored to meet specific business needs while adhering to best practices. To ensure the seamless operation of these cloud environments and workloads, organizations can establish a Cloud Center of Excellence, facilitating effective management and governance.  

These two frameworks also include documentation specific to hybrid or multi-cloud environments so you can integrate reliability and security anywhere you run Azure workloads. The Cloud Adoption Framework hybrid scenario provides comprehensive guidance for organizations to accelerate cloud adoption, and hybrid Azure Well-Architected guidance helps reduce workload complexity.

Manage cloud spend and optimize costs

Adhering to FinOps best practices can be critical for helping your business manage cloud spend and optimize costs to improve efficiency of cloud operations. FinOps is a framework that establishes a cross-functional team that includes finance, IT, engineers, and business leaders to create a culture of financial accountability where everyone takes ownership of their cloud usage. This collaboration increases visibility into your cloud investment to all levels of the organization, while minimizing costs and maintaining accountability.

Strategically managing your cloud spend can produce long-term gains in efficiency, innovation, and competitiveness. Azure’s optimization products and tools can effectively manage your organization’s cloud expenses and enhance cost optimization through a range of strategic measures. These include taking advantage of various pricing and licensing options, such as the Azure Hybrid Benefit, Azure savings plan, and Azure Reservations, all of which can contribute to reducing the cost of operating in the cloud.

Additionally, Microsoft Cost Management is available to every customer with an Azure subscription and allows organizations to closely monitor, allocate, and optimize cloud expenditures. Earlier this year, we introduced the GPT-powered AI chat capability for Microsoft Cost Management. This feature, currently in preview, makes it even easier to optimize your cloud costs. Further cost optimization insights can be gained through Azure Advisor, another free tool which offers personalized recommendations to optimize cloud resource usage and costs.

For a proactive approach to cost management, the Azure Pricing Calculator and Azure Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator empower businesses to comprehend projected cloud costs prior to deployment, aiding in informed decision-making.

Achieve continuous improvement in the cloud

Once you’ve deployed Azure workloads, we recommend several things to improve workloads and ensure lasting improvement. Aligned to the Well-Architected Framework, Azure Advisor analyzes your workloads, identifies opportunities for optimization, and monitors progress effectively.

Another tool to identify and recommend workload improvement is the Well-Architected Review, an assessment that provides curated and personalized recommendations to guide identified remediations. Azure services recommendations is directly accessible in the portal and is a helpful tool when deploying new services.

Furthermore, you can align your growth trajectory with your business objectives by leveraging proactive services provided by Microsoft Unified. With Microsoft Unified, you can get scenario-specific support services that help you maintain, onboard, and optimize your Azure solution with prescriptive and tailored guidance. It also includes access to experts that proactively help tailor Azure solutions to meet your unique needs.

Optimize your cloud investment and accelerate innovation

The convergence of optimized workloads and effective cost management forms the bedrock of successful cloud adoption. Once you can consistently and confidently design, build, and manage optimized workloads, then you should start thinking about your future business priorities. At that point, you’ll be able to consider how to reallocate cloud spend toward modernization or new business innovation. We call this “an optimization mindset”, and it is what enables future cloud success.

Depending on where you are in your cloud journey, these next steps can help you start optimizing your Azure investment.

  • If you’re considering adopting Azure, Azure Migrate and Modernize and Azure Innovate are new offerings that provides access to centralized, comprehensive resources with optimization guidance built in, access to experts, and opportunities for partner funding. These offerings support you at every stage of your cloud journey from migration to innovating with AI.
  • If you want to optimize your existing Azure workloads, start by using Azure Advisor and the Well-Architected Review.

Keep in mind that no one is expecting you to do this on your own. To help with the decisions and tradeoffs that will arise, we always recommend using the expertise of a Microsoft partner, reaching out to a Microsoft consultant, or engaging with your Unified Support account manager about services for optimization.  

Visit the Azure Optimization Collection to explore a range of optimization tools and resources, and discover training opportunities to support your optimization journey.

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