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Improvements to meter names and impacts to Power BI content pack reporting

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Last November, Microsoft announced a new version of the Power BI content pack for Azure Enterprise users called Microsoft Azure Consumption Insights. This content pack replaces the prior Microsoft Azure Enterprise content pack, which will be decommissioned by October 31, 2018.

The latest Power BI content pack provides the ability to query on Azure usage and charges by any desired date range or billing period (up to 36 months). The latest APIs enable you to gain deeper insights into your usage and accurately monitor, predict, and optimize costs on Azure. We encourage you to migrate to the latest version prior to October 31, when the Microsoft Azure Enterprise content pack will be decommissioned. 

Another benefit to migrate to the latest version is that it more seamlessly supports the improvements we're making to our naming taxonomy, the first phase of which was released on August 16. This first phase significantly improves our naming conventions associated with virtual machine usage. Please note that depending on how you are generating your reports, you might need to update them to accommodate our new naming taxonomy. Please refer to the sections below for more details.

The remaining improvements to our naming conventions for all other Azure services will be effective during the first week of October 2018.

Microsoft Azure Enterprise content pack impacts

If you continue to use Microsoft Azure Enterprise content pack scheduled to be decommissioned at the end of October 2018, usage prior to the name changes will be displayed under the old naming convention. Usage during the effective month of name changes will display the new naming structure. So, If you pivot on any month prior to the name change and any month including or after the name change, you will see two entries: one entry with the old naming structure for months prior to the name changes, and one entry with the new naming structure for months including and after the name changes. The name changes will affect four default visuals in the “Usage Trend By Services” dashboard, as seen in figures 1 and 2 below.

Figure 1. Dashboard prior to Azure Virtual Machines name changes in August, with affected visuals highlighted.

  • Box 1 - Meter Category: The Virtual Machines Meter Category has not changed. Other services might have a new Meter Category in October.
  • Box 2 - Cost by Date and Meter Sub-Category: The Meter Sub-Category names were changed for Virtual Machines in August. Other services might have a new Meter Sub-Category in October.
  • Box 3 - Product: The Product names for Virtual Machines were changed in August. Other services might have a new Product name and Unit of Measure in October.
  • Box 4 - Cost by Date and Product: The Product names for Virtual Machines were changed in August. Other services might have a new Product name, Unit of Measure, and Region in October.

Figure 2. Dashboard after Virtual Machines name changes in August, with affected visuals highlighted.

 

Microsoft Azure Consumption Insights impacts

If you're using the latest version of the content pack, the new names are displayed for both historical and current usage. In August, any visuals that use the following fields for reporting on Virtual Machines usage might need to be modified:

  • Meter Sub-Category
  • Meter Name
  • Product Name

After the final changes are made in October for all Azure services, any visuals that use the following fields for reporting on usage might need to be modified:

  • Meter Category
  • Meter Sub-Category
  • Meter Name
  • Product name
  • Unit of Measure
  • Region Name

The name changes will affect four default visuals in the “Usage Trend By Services” dashboard, as seen in figures 3 and 4 below.

Figure 3. Dashboard prior to Virtual Machines name changes in August, with affected visuals highlighted.

  • Box 1 - Meter Category: The Virtual Machines Meter Category has not changed. Other services might have a new Meter Category in October.
  • Box 2 - Cost by Date and Meter Sub-Category: The Meter Sub-Category names were changed for Virtual Machines in August. Other services might have a new Meter Sub-Category in October.
  • Box 3 - Product: The Product names for Virtual Machines were changed in August. Other services might have a new Product name and Unit of Measure in October.
  • Box 4 - Cost by Date and Product: The Product names for Virtual Machines were changed in August. Other services might have a new Product name, Unit of Measure, and Region in October.

Figure 4. Dashboard after Virtual Machines name changes in August, with affected visuals highlighted.

 

Adjusting your reports in the Microsoft Azure Consumption Insights content pack

After the name changes are implemented in August for Virtual Machines and later in October for all other Azure services, you will notice some differences in the level of granularity reported using either default or custom visuals. Below are two default visuals that you might want to modify, depending on your reporting requirements.

1. Top 5 Usage Drivers - Cost by Month and Meter Name

Prior to the Virtual Machines name change in August, you might have seen a visual similar to that in figure 5. Note that Compute Hours is summarized across all Virtual Machines usages.

Figure 5. Dashboard showing Meter Names prior to name changes.

After the Virtual Machines name change, by default, each virtual machine size will be reported separately under Meter Name. Note that Compute Hours might still be itemized separately if you have usage under other compute resources, such as Azure Cloud Services or HDInsight, until name changes for these services are effective in October.

Figure 6. Dashboard showing Meter Names after name changes.

If you want to summarize your virtual machine usage, you have a couple of options. You will need to modify the filters to view top 5 cost by month.

Option 1: Group by Virtual Machines series - To group by Virtual Machines series and operating system (for example, A Series Windows or B Series), remove Meter Name from the legend in the Visualizations pane and replace it with Meter Sub-Category.

Figure 7. Modified dashboard showing virtual machine usage grouped by series (Meter Sub-Category) after name changes.

Option 2: Group by Virtual Machines - To report all Virtual Machines usage, remove Meter Name from the legend in the Visualizations pane and replace it with Meter Category.

Figure 8. Modified dashboard showing all Virtual Machines usage grouped by Meter Category after name changes.

2. Usage by Services - Cost by Date and Meter Sub-Category

Prior to the Virtual Machines name change in August, you might have seen a visual similar to that in figure 9, where both the operating system and the size information are displayed. 

Figure 9. Dashboard showing Meter Sub-Category prior to the name changes.

After the Virtual Machines name change is effective, by default, this report will show series and operating system information of Virtual Machines (for example, A Series Windows or B Series), but the virtual machine size will now be reported in the Meter Name field. Note that other compute resources, such as Cloud Services or HDInsight, will not have the same changes applied until October.

Figure 10. Dashboard showing Meter Sub-Category after name changes.

If you want to summarize your Virtual Machines usage for this visual by size, remove Meter Sub-Category from the legend in the Visualizations pane and replace it with Meter Name.

Figure 11. Modified dashboard showing Virtual Machine usage grouped by size (Meter Name).

If you have questions about these changes, contact us.

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