Azure Cost Management updates – November 2019

Posted on December 2, 2019

Program Manager, Azure Cost Management

Whether you're a new student, 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 Microsoft Azure Cost Management comes in.

We're always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Cost Management 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.

Cost Management now available for Cloud Solution Providers

In case you missed it, as of November 1, Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners can now see and manage costs for their customers using Azure Cost Management in the Azure portal by transitioning them to Azure plan subscriptions via Microsoft Customer Agreement. Partners can also enable Azure Cost Management for customers to allow them to see and manage the cost of their subscriptions.

If you're working with a CSP partner to manage your Azure subscriptions, talk to them about getting you onboarded and your subscriptions switched over to the new Azure plan using Microsoft Customer Agreement. Not only will this allow you to see and manage costs in the Azure portal, but you'll also be able to use some Azure services that aren't currently available to your classic CSP subscriptions. As an example, some organizations have dependencies on external solutions that still require classic services, including virtual machines. To work around this, organizations are creating separate pay-as-you-go subscriptions for those resources. This adds additional overhead to manage separate billing accounts with Microsoft and your partner. Once you've switched over to Azure plan subscriptions, you may be able to consolidate any existing CSP and non-CSP subscriptions into a single billing account, managed by your partner. In general, you'll have the same benefits and offerings at the same time as everyone else using Microsoft Customer Agreement. Make sure you talk to your partner today!

If you're a CSP provider, enabling Cost Management for your customers involves three steps:

  1. Confirm acceptance of the Microsoft Customer Agreement on behalf of your customers
    Present the Microsoft Customer Agreement to your customers and, once they've agreed, confirm the customer's official acceptance in Partner Center or via the API/SDK.
  2. Transition your customers to Azure plan
    The last step for you, as the partner, to see and manage cost in the Azure portal is to transition existing CSP offers to an Azure plan. You'll need to do this once for each reseller and direct customer.
  3. Enable Azure Cost Management for your customers
    In order for your customers to see and manage costs in Azure Cost Management, they need to have access to view charges for their subscriptions. This can be enabled from the Azure portal for each customer and shows them their cost based on pay-as-you-go prices and do not include partner discounts or any discounts you may offer. Please ensure your customers understand the cost will not match your invoice if you offer additional discounts or use custom prices.

To learn more about what you'll see after enabling Azure Cost Management for your customers, read Get started with Azure Cost Management for partners.

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:

  • Get started quicker with the cost analysis Home view
    Cost Management offers five built-in views to get started with understanding and drilling into your costs. The Home view gives you quick access to those views so you get to what you need faster.
  • Performance optimizations in cost analysis and dashboard tilesNow available in the public portal
    Whether you're using tiles pinned to the dashboard or the full experience, you'll find cost analysis loads faster than ever.
  • NEW: Show views name on pinned cost analysis tilesNow available in the public portal
    When you pin cost analysis to the dashboard, it now shows the name of the view you pinned. To change it, simply save the view with the desired name and pin cost analysis again!
  • NEW: Quick access to cost analysis help and supportNow available in the public portal
    Have a question? Need help? The quickstart tutorial is now one click away in cost analysis. And if you run into an issue, create a support request from cost analysis to send additional context to help you submit and resolve your issue quicker than ever.
    Use the 'Quickstart tutorial' command at the top of cost analysis to see documentation and 'New support request' to create a support request with additional context to resolve your issue quicker

Of course, that's not all. Every change in 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.

Customizing the name on dashboard tiles

You already know you can save and share views in cost analysis. You'll typically start by saving a customized view in cost analysis so others can use it. You might share a link so they can jump directly into the view from outside the portal or share an image of the view to include in an email or presentation. But if you really want to keep an eye on specific perspectives of your cost every time you sign in to the portal, the best option is to pin your view to the dashboard.

Azure portal dashboard with tiles for all the built-in views available in Azure Cost Management

Pinning is easy: Just click the pin icon in the top-right corner of cost analysis and you're done. When you pin your view, the tile shows the name of your view, the scope it represents, and the main chart or table from cost analysis. If you have an older tile you need to rename, open it in cost analysis, click Save as to change the name of the view, then pin it again.

Enjoy and let us know what you'd like to see next!

Upcoming changes to Azure usage data

Many organizations use the full Azure usage and charges to understand what's being used, identify what charges should be internally billed to which teams, and to look for opportunities to optimize costs with Azure reservations and Azure Hybrid Benefit. If you're doing any analysis or setup integration based on product details in the usage data, please update your logic for the following services. All of the following changes will start effective December 1:

Also, remember the key-based EA billing APIs have been replaced by new Azure Resource Manager APIs. The key-based APIs will still work through the end of your enrollment, but will no longer be available when you renew and transition into Microsoft Customer Agreement. Please plan your migration to the latest version of the UsageDetails API to ease your transition to Microsoft Customer Agreement at your next renewal.

Save up to 72 percent with Azure reservations – now available for 16 services

Azure reservations help you save up to 72% compared to pay-as-you-go rates when you commit to one or three years of usage. You may know Azure Advisor tells you when you can save money with virtual machine reservations, but did you know with the addition of six new services, you can now purchase reservations for a total of 16 services? Here's the full list as of today:

  • Virtual machines and managed disks
  • Blob storage
  • App Service
  • SQL database and data warehouse
  • Azure Database for MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL
  • Cosmos DB
  • Data Explorer
  • Databricks
  • SUSE and Red Hat Linux
  • Azure Red Hat OpenShift
  • Azure VMWare solution by CloudSimple

What services would you like to see next? Learn more about Azure reservations and start saving today!

New videos

If you weren't able to make it to Microsoft Ignite 2019 or didn't catch the Azure Cost Management sessions, they're now available online and open for everyone:

If you're looking for something a little shorter, you can also check out these videos:

Subscribe to the Azure Cost Management 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.

Documentation updates

There were many documentation updates. Here are a few you might be interested in:

Want to keep an eye on all of the documentation updates? Check out the Cost Management 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. 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. And, as always, share your ideas and vote up others in the Cost Management feedback forum.