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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 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:
- Introducing Azure savings plans.
- Group costs by Azure Virtual Desktop host pool.
- Azure Advisor score now generally available.
- Help shape the future of cost management for cloud services.
- Cost optimization using Azure Migrate.
- Drive efficiency through automation and AI.
- What’s new in Cost Management Labs.
- New ways to save money with Microsoft Cloud.
- New videos and learning opportunities.
- Documentation updates.
- Join the Microsoft Cost Management team.
Let’s dig into the details.
Introducing Azure savings plans
As a cloud provider, we are committed to helping our customers get the most value out of their cloud investment through a comprehensive set of pricing models, offers and benefits that adapt to customer’s unique needs. Today, we are announcing Azure savings plan. With this new pricing offer, customers will have an easy and flexible way to save up to 65 percent on compute costs, compared to pay-as-you-go pricing, in addition to existing offers in market including Azure Hybrid Benefit and Reservations.
Azure savings plans lower prices on select Azure services with a commitment to spend a fixed hourly amount for one or three years. You choose whether to pay all upfront or monthly at no extra cost. As you use services such as virtual machines (VMs) and container instances across the world, their usage is covered by the plan at reduced prices, helping you get more value from your cloud budget. During the times when usage is above the hourly commitment, you’ll be billed at your regular on-demand rates.
Azure savings plan is available for the following services today:
- Virtual machines
- App Service
- Azure Functions premium plan
- Container instances
- Dedicated hosts
To learn more, see Optimize and maximize cloud investment with Azure savings plan for compute.
Group costs by Azure Virtual Desktop host pool
Many organizations use Azure Virtual Desktop to virtualize applications, often as part of their cloud migration strategy. These applications can cover anything from pure virtual machines to SQL databases, web apps, and more. With such a broad set of connected services, you can imagine how difficult it might be to visualize and manage costs. To help streamline this process and deliver a holistic view of costs rolling up to your Azure Virtual Desktop host pools, Cost Management now supports tagging resource dependencies to group them under their logical parent within the cost analysis preview, making it easier than ever to see the cost of your Azure Virtual Desktop workloads.
To get started, simply apply the cm-resource-parent tag to the virtual machines and/or other child resources you want to see rolled up to your host pool. Set the tag value to be the full resource ID of the host pool. Once the tag is applied, all new usage data will start to be grouped under the parent resource.
For a guided walkthrough, check out the following videos:
- The Real Cost Of Cloud Applications (6 minutes)—Walks through how to enable resource parenting manually in the portal.
- If Only I Knew THIS About Azure 5 Years Ago (5 minutes)—Walks through how to enable resource parenting via Azure Policy.
To learn more, see Group costs by host pool with Cost Management now in Public Preview for Azure Virtual Desktop. To learn more about the cm-resource-parent tag and how to group resources of any type, see Group related resources in the cost analysis preview.
Azure Advisor score now generally available
Azure Advisor score offers you a way to prioritize the most impactful Advisor recommendations to optimize your deployments using the Azure Well-Architected Framework. Advisor displays your category scores and your overall Advisor score as percentages. A score of 100 percent in any category means all your resources, assessed by Advisor, follow the best practices that Advisor recommends. On the other end of the spectrum, a score of 0 percent means that none of your resources, assessed by Advisor, follow Advisor recommendations.
Advisor score now supports the ability to report on specific workloads using resource tag filters in addition to subscriptions. For example, you can now omit non-production resources from the score calculation. You can also track your progress over time to understand whether you are consistently maintaining healthy Azure deployments.
To learn more, see Optimize Azure workloads by using Advisor Score.
Help shape the future of cost management for cloud services
Are you responsible for managing purchases, cost, and commerce for your cloud services and SaaS (software as a service) products? Do you perform tasks such as acquisition, account management, cost management, billing, and cost optimization for those services? Do your job responsibilities cover scenarios such as understanding cloud solution spending, discovering resources/services needed, acquiring licenses/subscriptions, monitoring spending over time, analyzing resource utilization, updating licenses/subscriptions, and paying invoices?
If so, we are interested in having an hour-long conversation with you. Please send an email to CE_UXR@microsoft.com to highlight your interest and we will get back to you.
Cost optimization using Azure Migrate
During Microsoft Ignite, we highlighted our continued commitment to cost optimization through support for SQL Server assessments, prior to migration and modernization using Azure Migrate. Customers can now perform unified, at-scale, agentless discovery and assessment of SQL Servers on Microsoft Hyper-V, bare-metal servers, and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) of other public clouds, such as AWS EC2, in addition to VMware environments. The capability will allow customers to analyze existing configurations, performance, and feature compatibility to help with right-sizing and estimating cost. It will also check on readiness and blockers for migrating to Azure SQL Managed instance, SQL Server on Azure virtual machine, and Azure SQL Database. All this information can also be presented in a single coherent report for easy consumption while reducing cost for customers.
Please see our tech community blog for more details. The blog presents a step-by-step procedure to get started, followed by details on scaling and support. Post-assessment options and more details on related topics are covered as well.
Drive efficiency through automation and AI
This year at Microsoft Ignite we explore how organizations can activate AI and automation directly in their business workflows and empower developers to use those same intelligent building blocks to deliver their own differentiated experiences.
The global pandemic has created unprecedented levels of uncertainty, as well as the need to sense and reshape our physical and digital environments, sometimes in completely new ways. Leaders across industries recognize innovation as the only path forward. Critically, we’ve seen a shift from “innovation for innovation’s sake” toward a desire to lower operating costs, anticipate trends, reduce carbon footprints, and improve customer and employee experiences. We’re calling this commitment to innovation “digital perseverance.”
Read the full blog post to learn about automation opportunities through Microsoft Syntex and Power Platform.
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:
- 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 VMs 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
New and updated general availability offers:
- Microsoft Teams Premium.
- Reserved capacity for Azure Backup Storage.
- Azure Hybrid Benefit for AKS and Azure Stack HCI.
- Azure Monitor Logs capabilities to add value and lower costs.
- Zone-redundant storage support by Azure Backup.
- Stream Analytics in Qatar Central.
- Include standard and Spot VMs in the same Virtual Machine Scale Set.
- Azure Firewall Basic.
- Azure NetApp Files backup in Southeast Asia and UK South.
New videos and learning opportunities
If you manage related resources and are looking for a simpler way to view costs across resources, you’ll want to check out these new videos:
- The Real Cost Of Cloud Applications (6 minutes).
- If Only I Knew THIS About Azure 5 Years Ago (5 minutes).
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 two documentation updates you might be interested in if you use reservations or are interested in more flexible ways to save money in Azure:
- New: Save with Azure savings plans.
- Updated: Self-service exchanges and refunds for Azure Reservations.
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!
Join the Microsoft Cost Management team
Are you excited about helping customers and partners better manage and optimize costs? We’re looking for passionate, dedicated, and exceptional people to help build best in class cloud platforms and experiences to enable exactly that. If you have experience with big data infrastructure, reliable and scalable APIs, or rich and engaging user experiences, you’ll find no better challenge than serving every Microsoft customer and partner in one of the most critical areas for driving cloud success.
Watch the video below to learn more about the Microsoft Cost Management team:
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.
We know these are trying times for everyone. Best wishes from the Microsoft Cost Management team. Stay safe and stay healthy.