• 6 min read

Azure Cost Management and Billing updates – November 2020

Get your budget emails in the language of your choice, enjoy a preview of new cost views optimized for resources and reservations, and take advantage of even more ways to save money! November is as action-packed as ever. And don't forget to check out new videos and documentation updates to help you be more successful than ever in driving financial health within your organization.

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.


Customize language in budget alerts

Budgets allow you to get notified as you breach predefined thresholds. You can set up budgets for yourself or for others within your organization to drive accountability and proactively notify teams about potentially excessive spending patterns. When a threshold is exceeded, an email alert is sent to the configured recipients to notify them about the budget status. Email alerts are sent using the same language as the billing account for convenience, but in some cases, like for an international or multilingual organization, you may want to send emails using a different language. Now you can! Simply select one of the 21 supported languages when configuring your alerts.

Set the language to use in emails when creating a budget


Preview new views optimized for resources and reservations

We receive a ton of great feedback in Cost Management. Thank you for that! We’re constantly looking for ways to improve your experience based on this feedback and that’s exactly what you’ll see with the latest cost analysis preview and the new Resources and Reservations views. These new views will be the basis for all new views going forward and we’d love to get your feedback before they’re released more broadly.

Identifying your most expensive resources and understanding what makes up those costs is critical. You may be familiar with the Cost by resource view today. We’re taking a fresh look at this view with a focus on performance and usability in the new Resources view.

We also get a lot of questions about reservations today. The new Reservations view shows what reservations you’re using and which resources are using them, facilitating internal chargeback. Billing account admins can also see how much of these reservations is unused, helping you identify opportunity to save even more.

These are just the beginning, but we’d love to get your thoughts! Any feedback you share here will impact all new built-in views, so this is a great opportunity to make a big impact! To see the preview, please fill out this quick, 5- to 10-minute survey:

Take the survey (the preview link is on page two of the survey). 

New Resources view in the cost analysis preview

New Reservations view in the cost analysis preview


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:

  1. Improved getting startedNow available in the public portal
    Expanded getting started experience covering more options across Cost Management and Billing.

  2. New cost analysis views for resources and reservations
    Introducing new, faster cost views that break costs down by resource and reservation. We’re still working on these. You can opt into the new views using Try Preview from Cost Management Labs.

  3. NEW: Change scope from the menu
    Allow changing scope from the menu for quicker navigation. You can opt-in using Try Preview from Cost Management Labs.

  4. NEW: Open configuration items in the main menu
    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.

  5. NEW: 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.

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

Lots of cost optimization improvements over the past month! Here are a few you might be interested in:

Looking for more? Check out How to optimize Azure workload costs for tips on where to start.


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/or to look for opportunities to optimize costs with Azure reservations and Azure Hybrid Benefit, just to name a few. If you’re doing any analysis or have setup integration based on product details in the usage data, please update your logic for the following.

Effective December 1, 2020, Azure Backup price and meter IDs in South Africa will change:

  • South Africa North
    • LRS Data Stored
      • Old: fa185be7-f94a-4b13-9d13-a28f14355341
      • New: 2d8d338-7922-4eee-9b00-0365c76cfdb5
    • GRS Data Stored
      • Old: 9ddbc061-ffa0-4ccc-bf20-3919502f70e5
      • New: 86a2bc4c-1095-586f-b1cc-dc292b43bd8d
  • South Africa West
    • LRS Data Stored
      • Old: b26cd07d-b0e7-4d14-9d4f-64beccea3656
      • New: 941c1855-6d9e-4c4d-ac8a-41173138a6d8
    • GRS Data Stored
      • Old: 13cb3789-91a1-4ac6-9825-bbe4ed7df110
      • New: d237c29f-8845-5404-8ea5-28078fae1686

Also, remember the key-based Enterprise Agreement (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.


New videos and learning opportunities

For those visual learners, here are 7 new videos you might be interested in:

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

This month we have a few great updates to help you troubleshoot common issues with reservations:

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. And, as always, share your ideas and vote up others in the Cost Management feedback forum.

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