AI + Machine Learning, Announcements, Azure Monitor, Cost Management
Microsoft Cost Management updates—April 2023
By Michael Flanakin Program Manager, Azure Cost Management
9 min read
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 it’s being spent, and how to plan for the future. Nobody wants a surprise when it comes to the bill, and this is where Microsoft Cost Management comes in.
We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Microsoft 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:
- FinOps Foundation announces a new specification project to demystify cloud billing data.
- Centrally managed Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server is generally available.
- Scheduled alerts in Azure Government.
- Register for Securely Migrate and Optimize with Azure.
- Register for Optimize your IT costs with Azure Monitor.
- Cut costs with AI-powered productivity in Microsoft Teams.
- 3 ways to reduce costs with Microsoft Teams Phone.
- What’s new in Cost Management Labs.
- New ways to save money with Microsoft Cloud.
- New videos and learning opportunities.
- Documentation updates.
Let’s dig into the details.
FinOps Foundation announced a new specification project to demystify cloud billing data
Microsoft partnered with FinOps Foundation and Google to launch FOCUS (FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification), a technical project to build and maintain an open specification for cloud cost data. As one of the key contributors and principal steering committee members for this project, we’re incredibly excited about the potential value this will bring for organizations of all sizes.
Some of the benefits you’ll see include the ability to:
- Better understand how they’re being charged across services and especially cloud providers.
- Reduce data ingestion and normalization requirements.
- Streamline reporting and monitoring efforts, like cost allocation and showback.
- Leverage shared guidance across the industry for how to monitor and manage costs.
FOCUS will play a major role in the evolution of the FinOps Framework and its guidance as it drives more consistency in how to analyze and communicate changes in cost, including anything from measuring key performance indicators (KPIs) to managing anomalies and commitment-based discounts to tracking resource utilization and more.
To learn more, read the FinOps Foundation announcement and join us at FinOps X, where we’ll announce an initial draft release. All FOCUS steering committee members will be on-site for deeper discussions about its roadmap and implementation.
Centrally managed Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server is generally available
If you’re migrating from on-premises to the cloud, Azure Hybrid Benefit should be part of your cost optimization plan. Azure Hybrid Benefit is a licensing benefit that helps customers significantly reduce the costs of running their workloads in the cloud. It works by letting customers use their on-premises licenses with active Software Assurance or subscription-enabled Windows Server and SQL Server licenses on Azure. You can also leverage active Linux subscriptions, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Linux Enterprise server running in Azure. Traditionally, you would track available licenses that you’re using with Azure Hybrid Benefit internally and compare that with cost reports available from Cost Management Power BI reports, which can be tedious. With centralized management, you can assign SQL Server licenses to individual subscriptions or share them across an entire billing account to let the cloud manage the licenses for you, maximizing your benefit and sustaining compliance with less effort.
Centralized management of Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server is now generally available.
To learn more, see Azure Hybrid Benefit documentation.
Scheduled alerts in Azure Government
Last month, you saw the addition of scheduled alerts for built-in views in Cost analysis. This month, we’re happy to announce that scheduled alerts are now available for Azure Government. Scheduled alerts allow you to get notified on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis about changes in cost by sending a picture of a chart view in Cost analysis to a list of recipients. You can even send it to stakeholders who don’t have direct access to costs in the Azure portal. To learn more, see subscribe to scheduled alerts.
Register for Securely Migrate and Optimize with Azure
Did you know you can lower operating costs by up to 40 percent when you migrate Windows Server and SQL Server to Azure versus on-premises?1 Furthermore, you can improve IT efficiency and operating costs by up to 53 percent by automating management of your virtual machines in cloud and hybrid environments. To maximize the value of your existing cloud investments, you can utilize tools like Microsoft Cost Management and Azure Advisor. A recent study showed that our customers achieve up to 34 percent reduction in Azure spend in the first year by using Microsoft Cost Management. To learn more about how to achieve efficiency and maximize cloud value with Azure, join us and register for Securely Migrate and Optimize with Azure, a free digital event on Wednesday, April 26, 2023, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM Pacific Time.
To learn more, see 5 reasons to join us at Securely Migrate and Optimize with Azure.
Register for Optimize Your IT Costs with Azure Monitor
Join the Azure Monitor engineering team on May 17, 2023 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Pacific Time, as they continue to listen and respond to feedback to ensure your corporate priorities are kept at the forefront!
The Azure Monitor team introduced some new pricing plans that can drive costs down without compromising performance. The team has taken some of the key points along with valuable guidance and best practices and will share it during this webinar.
In this webinar, you will learn:
- New Azure Monitor pricing plans and different scenarios in which the new price plan can be applied.
- Other levers that you can take advantage of to optimize your monitoring costs.
- No regret moves you can implement today to start realizing cost savings.
Register for Optimize your IT costs with Azure Monitor and join us on May 17, 2023 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Pacific Time.
Cut costs with AI-powered productivity in Microsoft Teams
As we face economic uncertainties and changes to work patterns, organizations are searching for ways to optimize IT investments and re-energize employees to achieve business results. Now—more than ever—organizations need solutions to adapt to change, improve productivity, and reduce costs. Fortunately, modern tools powered by AI hold the promise to boost individual, team, and organizational-level productivity and fundamentally change how we work, including intelligent recap for meetings in Microsoft Teams Premium with AI-augmented video recordings, AI-generated notes, and AI-generated tasks and action items, reusable meeting templates, and more.
To learn more, see Microsoft Teams Premium: Cut costs and add AI-powered productivity.
3 ways to reduce costs with Microsoft Teams Phone
As the way we work evolves, today’s organizations need cost-effective, reliable telephony solutions that help them support flexible work and truly bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds. Our customers are searching for products that help them promote an inclusive working environment and streamline communications. And they need solutions that simplify their technological footprint and cut the cost of legacy IT solutions and other non-essential expenses.
After examining the potential ROI that companies may realize by implementing Teams Phone, a recent study found that businesses could:
- Reduce licensing and usage costs.
- Minimize the burden on IT.
- Help people save time and collaborate more effectively.
To learn more, including customer quotes, see 3 ways to improve productivity and reduce costs with Microsoft Teams Phone.
What’s new in Cost Management Labs
With Cost Management Labs, you get a sneak peek at what’s coming in Microsoft 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:
- New: Settings in the cost analysis preview—Enabled by default in Labs.
Get quick access to cost-impacting settings from the Cost analysis preview. You will see this by default in Labs and can enable the option from the try preview menu.
- Update: Customers view for Cloud Solution Provider partnersCustomers view for Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners—Now enabled by default in Labs.
View a breakdown of costs by customer and subscription in the Cost analysis preview. Note this view is only available for CSP billing accounts and billing profiles. You will see this by default in Labs and can enable the option from the Try preview menu.
- Merge cost analysis menu items.
Only show one cost analysis item in the Cost Management menu. All classic and saved views are one-click away, making them easier than ever to find and access. You can enable this option from the try preview menu.
- Recommendations view.
View a summary of cost recommendations that help you optimize your Azure resources in the cost analysis preview. You can opt in using the try preview menu.
- Forecast in the cost analysis preview.
Show your forecast cost for the period at the top of the cost analysis preview. You can opt in using Try preview.
- Group related resources in the cost analysis preview.
Group related resources, like disks under virtual machinesVMs or web apps under App Service plans, by adding a “cm-resource-parent” tag to the child resources with a value of the parent resource ID.
- Charts in the cost analysis preview.
View your daily or monthly cost over time in the cost analysis preview. You can opt in using Try Preview.
- 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 resource.
- Change scope from the menu.
Change scope from the menu for quicker navigation. You can opt-in using Try Preview.
Of course, that’s not all. Every change in Microsoft Cost Management is available in Cost Management Labs a week before it’s in the full Azure portal or Microsoft 365 admin center. 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 in the Microsoft Cloud
Lots of cost optimization improvements over the last month! Here are 10 general availability offers you might be interested in:
- Azure Kubernetes Service introduces new Free and Standard pricing tiers.
- Spot priority mix for Virtual Machine Scale Sets (VMSS).
- More transactions at no additional cost for Azure Standard SSD storage.
- Arm-based VMs now available in four additional Azure regions.
- New General-Purpose VMs—Dlsv5 and Dldsv5.
- Azure Cosmos DB for PostgreSQL cluster compute start and stop.
- New burstable SKUs for Azure Database for PostgreSQL—Flexible Server.
- Azure Database for PostgreSQL—Flexible Server in Australia Central.
- App Configuration geo-replication.
And six new preview offers:
- New Memory Optimized VM sizes—E96bsv5 and E112ibsv5.
- Azure HX series and HBv4 series virtual machines.
- Azure Container Apps offers new plan and pricing structure.
- Read-write premium caching for Azure HPC Cache.
- In-place scaling for enterprise caches in Azure Redis Cache.
- Azure Chaos Studio is now available in Brazil South region.
New videos and learning opportunities
Here’s one new video you might be interested in:
Follow the Microsoft 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.
Want a more guided experience? Start with Control Azure spending and manage bills with Microsoft Cost Management.
Here are a few documentation updates you might be interested in:
- New: Calculate Enterprise Agreement (EA) savings plan cost savings.
- Updated: Understand usage details fields.
- Updated: Group and allocate costs using tag inheritance.
- Updated: Allocate Azure costs.
- Updated: EA Billing administration on the Azure portal.
- Updated: Create a Microsoft Customer Agreement subscription.
- Updated: Change an Azure reservation directory.
- Updated: Optimize Azure Synapse Analytics costs with a Pre-Purchase Plan.
- 22 updates based on your feedback.
Want to keep an eye on all documentation updates? Check out the Cost Management and Billing documentation 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. You can also submit a GitHub issue. We welcome and appreciate all contributions!
These are just a few of the big updates from last month. Don’t forget to check out the previous Microsoft Cost Management updates. We’re always listening and making constant improvements based on your feedback, so please keep the feedback coming.
Follow @MSCostMgmt 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 Microsoft Cost Management.
We know these are trying times for everyone. Best wishes from the Microsoft Cost Management team. Stay safe and stay healthy.
1 Forrester Consulting, “The Total Economic Impact™ of Azure Cost Management and Billing”, February 2021.