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Azure Cost Management and Billing updates – May 2021

Posted on 1 June, 2021

Program Manager, Azure Cost Management

Whether you’re a new student, a thriving startup, or the largest enterprise, you have financial constraints, and you need to know what you’re spending, where, and how to plan for the future. Nobody wants a surprise when it comes to the bill, and this is where Azure Cost Management and Billing comes in.

We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Azure Cost Management and Billing can help you better understand where you’re accruing costs in the cloud, identify and prevent bad spending patterns, and optimize costs to empower you to do more with less. Here are a few of the latest improvements and updates based on your feedback:

Let’s dig into the details.

 

Expanded support for cost allocation across APIs and downloads

From breaking down invoiced charges for internal chargeback across business units to facilitating external billing for customers, many organizations are looking for a solution to help streamline the financial processing of shared services. In September, the cost allocation preview gave you a way to split the cost of these shared services and reallocate them across subscriptions, resource groups, and tags in the portal, which is great for cost transparency throughout your organization, but falls short of fully automating this process. This month, you can now see those same cost allocation rules take effect in your raw usage and charges downloads and exports.

Since raw usage and charges include all details about the billed usage, you'll notice a few differences that may go unnoticed in the portal. As you know, detailed usage includes resource, subscription, and product details in each row. With the addition of cost allocation, you'll also find a new costAllocationRuleName column to indicate which cost allocation rule is applied for any adjustments. This column will be empty for all of the actual, billed charges.

Raw usage record without cost allocation.

When you've applied a cost allocation rule, you'll also see 2 additional records. The first will remove the cost from the original subscription, resource group, or tag. The second will add it to the targeted subscription, resource group, or tag.

2021-05_CostAllocation_Allocated

Looking at the above example, each record adds up to no cost in the original subscription and a new resource in the target subscription. Pretty simple. Just make sure to filter out records with a cost allocation rule when reconciling your invoices with usage data.

Learn more about cost allocation and let us know what you'd like to see next.

 

Management group exports in Azure Government

In February, you saw two exciting releases for Azure Government with the cost allocation preview and support for Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) subscriptions. This month, you'll also see support for management group exports of your Enterprise Agreement (EA) and PAYG subscriptions.

Learn more about organizing subscriptions into management groups and automating usage and charges downloads with Cost Management exports.

 

Reminder: Cloudyn retiring on June 30

Microsoft acquired Cloudyn in July 2017 to bring a wealth of cost management experience and capabilities to the broader Azure community. Many organizations have known and loved the capabilities Cloudyn brought to the table and now that many of these have been (or are being) integrated into Azure Cost Management, Cloudyn will be retiring on June 30, 2021. Whether you relied on cross-cloud cost governance or cost allocation and chargeback, or maybe you simply need basic cost reporting, accountability, and optimization, Azure Cost Management has you covered. And that's not all. There's even more in the roadmap coming this year, so stay tuned.

If you're a Cloud Solution Provider still using Cloudyn, we've already reached out to you, but as a reminder, you (and your customers) will be able to view, manage, and optimize costs using Azure Cost Management once you transition to Microsoft Customer Agreement and an Azure plan. Again, Cloudyn will be retiring on June 30, 2021, and will no longer be accessible. We thank you for your patronage and look forward to supporting you and your financial goals with Azure Cost Management.

 

Selecting relative dates in the cost analysis preview

Last month, you saw a new experience for selecting custom date ranges within the cost analysis preview. This month, you'll find a new option to view relative dates.

You can already select the last 7, 30, or 90 days or 1, 3, 6, or 12 months with the date picker. Now you can pick any arbitrary number of days, weeks, or months to fine-tune your view to exactly what you need to cover. Selecting the last 28 days, as an example, will give you a view of your cost over a steady, 4-week period without daily fluctuations caused by more or fewer weekends, depending on the day of the week.

Relative dates are always before the current period. For instance, the last three days will be yesterday and the two previous days, but will not include the cost of the current day. To include the current period, simply select the Include today option. The same applies for weeks and months. The exact date range is shown to help you confirm what it is today.

Custom date picker with options to select months, days, or relative date ranges based on the current period.

Once again, this new flexibility is based on all the great feedback you've shared when using cost analysis in the portal. This is still early days for the cost analysis preview, but these options will become even more valuable over time as charts, filters, and saved views are added. Keep using the preview and let us know what you'd like to see next.

 

Help improve usability for Azure reservation and savings features

Are you responsible for purchasing reservations for your organization in Microsoft Azure? If you are, we are interested in getting your feedback on a new savings feature in Azure Cost Management and Billing. The session will be about an hour and will run the week of June 14. Please contact our research team and we'll schedule you for a usability session.

 

What's new in Cost Management Labs

With Cost Management Labs, you get a sneak peek at what’s coming in Azure Cost Management and can engage directly with us to share feedback and help us better understand how you use the service, so we can deliver more tuned and optimized experiences. Here are a few features you can see in Cost Management Labs:

  • Updated: Improved custom date selection in the cost analysis preview Now available in the public portal
    Select one month, a range of months, or start and end dates for a range of days in the cost analysis preview. New this month is the ability to also select a relative date range of days, weeks, or months. Share feedback about this preview.
  • Create up to 100 views per scope Now available in the public portal
    You already know you can create and save customized views within cost analysis. Now you can create up to 100 private and 100 shared views per scope in cost analysis, giving you even more flexibility to build out the views you need to analyze your costs.
  • View cost for your resources
    The cost for your resources is one click away from the resource overview in the preview portal. Just click View cost to quickly jump to the cost of that particular resource.
  • Remember last-used scope
    Azure Cost Management now remembers the last scope you used, making it easier than ever to pick up where you left off. You can see the preview in Cost Management Labs.
  • Change scope from the menu
    Change scope from the menu for quicker navigation. You can opt-in using Try Preview. Share feedback about this preview.
  • Open configuration items in the main menu
    This is an experimental option to show the selected configuration screen as a nested menu item in the Cost Management menu. You can opt-in using Try Preview from Cost Management Labs. Share feedback about this preview.
  • Streamlined Cost Management menu
    Only show settings in Configuration. Remove Cloudyn, Exports, and Connectors for AWS from the Cost Management menu. You can opt-in using Try Preview from Cost Management Labs. Share feedback about this preview.

Of course, that’s not all. Every change in Azure Cost Management is available in Cost Management Labs a week before it’s in the full Azure portal. We’re eager to hear your thoughts and understand what you’d like to see next. What are you waiting for? Try Cost Management Labs today.

 

New ways to save money with Azure

This month, you have four new generally available offerings to help you optimize your costs:

 

New videos and learning opportunities

For those visual learners out there, there are two new videos:

Follow the Azure Cost Management and Billing YouTube channel to stay in the loop with new videos as they’re released and let us know what you'd like to see next.

Want a more guided experience? Start with Control Azure spending and manage bills with Azure Cost Management and Billing.

 

Documentation updates

Here are a couple documentation updates you might be interested in:

Want to keep an eye on all of the documentation updates? Check out the Cost Management and Billing doc change history in the azure-docs repository on GitHub. If you see something missing, select Edit at the top of the document and submit a quick pull request.

 

What’s next?

These are just a few of the big updates from last month. Don’t forget to check out the previous Azure Cost Management and Billing updates. We’re always listening and making constant improvements based on your feedback, so please keep the feedback coming.

Follow @AzureCostMgmt on Twitter and subscribe to the YouTube channel for updates, tips, and tricks. You can also share ideas and vote up others in the Cost Management feedback forum or join the research panel to participate in a future study and help shape the future of Azure Cost Management and Billing.

We know these are trying times for everyone. Best wishes from the Azure Cost Management and Billing team. Stay safe and stay healthy.