Table of Contents
- Why is Azure So Expensive? The Areas You Are Neglecting and Their Solutions
- Why is Azure So Expensive?: the Problems
- Why is Azure So Expensive?: the Solutions
- Is Azure Truly Expensive?
Why is Azure So Expensive? The Areas You Are Neglecting and Their Solutions
Microsoft Azure can be relatively easy to master, but surprisingly tough to crack when it comes down to the pricing. But only if you haven’t done your research!
‘Why is Azure so expensive?’ is a popular question that many users turn to ask when it comes down to paying for the popular cloud service. And their claims don’t seem to be dumbfounded since despite keeping costs as low as possible, a lot of consumers have seen their bills jump up by 45% or more over a 12 month time period. That’s quite an exorbitant amount when you come to think of it.
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However, Azure is after all up at second place as the most used cloud service provider in the world after Amazon Web Services. And it is only growing in popularity, with a reported 116% year-on-year growth since 2016; the best performance increase was seen by Microsoft amongst all its groups.
All this demand inadvertently welcomes pricing complexities and additional costs as well as some benefits. Compared to when it was first launched, Microsoft has launched two of Azure’s applications: SQL Server and Office on an on-demand basis amongst other numerous options. The versatile pricing menu isn’t meant to trap users into paying more, but for the uninitiated, it can lead to some unnecessary complications. Therefore, before moving to Azure completely it’s a good idea to understand your needs and what they’re priced at fully.
Fortunately, not only does the stiff competition with Amazon prevent Azure from hiking up its prices too beyond reach, but there are also other easily identifiable solutions to keeping your Azure budget in check.
Our compilation of potential reasons for your increasing Azure costs, and ways to keep them in check should help you with straightening out your budget.
Why is Azure So Expensive?: the Problems
Leaving Your Virtual Machines Running
A common cause of increasing expenses reported by almost all cloud providers is running virtual machines. Users and companies start up virtual machines then forget to shut them down which results in being charged overtime. This is akin to leaving the lights switched on when no one is in the house, regardless of whether they are in use or not, the virtual machines are charged for their spinning.
Third Party Claims
If you land into legal hot water or incur any charges for third party contract breaches or liabilities then Microsoft Azure won’t be helping you pay for them. In fact, Azure’s Online Service Activation (OSA) key, a pre-paid credit of $100 increments over 12 months that can be used on any Azure service SKU will limit recovery on any such claims because of the way the OSA agreement is set up.
So if you happen to have any third-party misdealing, contract breaches or liabilities, all of which are extremely common occurrences in the cloud world, are prepared to see an increase in your bill. It’s a risk that often keeps companies out of the cloud, but something that must be considered.
Migrating Server Costs
In the age of cloud architecture, a lot of companies are choosing to make the leap and migrate their old server systems to a virtual cloud. As much as this may seem feasible, making a full-scale jump including a complete replication of the hardware to virtual may add up to a lot of money on any cloud service, including Azure. Depending on the core, memory, and storage, prices can stack up fast. Consider this: a single core, 0.75GB memory, and 20 GB virtual storage space on the cloud will cost $0.018 per hour.
However, double this amount or increase it to an 8 core with a 14 GB memory and prices can go up to $0.60 per hour. The costs increase as per your specifications and requirements, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. For small businesses or even a medium-sized company, this can prove to be a big burning hole in the company’s budget and a partial move to the cloud would be more ideal.
Be forewarned! Your current on-premises server might just give you better downtime protection than Microsoft Azure can. Azure’s SLA for cloud services and virtual machines offers connectivity on one instance out of two deployed almost 99.95% of the time. In the world of IT, this too isn’t good enough and any power outages can lead to losses. It’s your job to monitor service levels at all times to be reimbursed for any losses by Microsoft, or otherwise, be willing to pay for cuts on your own.
MSDN Subscription Charges
You’ll have to get a separate Microsoft Subscription Developer Network (MSDN) to use images on Azure as the cloud service doesn’t support access to Windows 7 or 8, or Os. An MSDN subscription can put you back by $5,999 for the first year and $2,568 for renewals annually.
Storage Space Costs
Azure’s storage design is based on the capacity you opt for; however, the design and capacity are charged as two separate entities which are often confusing to a novice. The storage options called virtual hard disks (VHDs) also charge for every 100,000 transactions, but what defines a transaction remains a little ambiguous with Microsoft.
Customer Support Prices
You’ll need customer support at some point when using Microsoft Azure. However, the support you get depends on what you’re paying for it. Developer support is $29 per month per developer, but since it’s the most basic level on offer, think up to 8 hours of wait time, business hours availability, and only email interactions for your problems. Premier levels of support charge up to $1000 a month, but their services are available 24/7 with under 15minutes of response time and a virtual machine app. It’s really up to you on what you want tier of support you want to go for, but reliable support does add to your monthly Azure costs.
IoT Data Hikes
The Internet of Things (IoT) is all the rage in smart architecture and Microsoft has added IoT support to Azure for remote monitoring and data predictability services. However, IoT has a lot of endpoints and active users, and unless monitored carefully data output can run up huge costs.
No Scalable Network Performances
Azure doesn’t have a scalable internal and external network performance system for which reason there is a lot of trial and error involved when it comes to a successful deployment. This could mean a lot of high-level servers paid for and wasted and other extraneous costs that can be easily avoided.
Licensing Mobility Payments
If your application is eligible for license mobility then your on-premises license will be transferred to Azure. However, you’ll need to be aware ahead of time if your application servers qualify or not. This development is only available for apps and not Windows Server so you need to find out what is supported before you pay or commit.
Why is Azure So Expensive?: the Solutions
Consider B-Series virtual machines
Stop unchecked cloud spending by monitoring your virtual machines. Although an option is to move to platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings, virtual machines are still preferred by a lot of cloud service users. However, they are a challenge in terms of cost, because despite being minimalistic in terms of specifications with idle periods of usage, they can incur full costs when powered on.
Moving to burstable virtual machines, or a B-Series family of virtual machines can be a solution in this regard. Designed for always available workloads with idle spikes, they are also 15 and 55% less than the price of the quintessential D-Series VMs. However, they must be converted with caution as they have some usage specifications such as a baseline CPU power which must not be crossed.
Identify Idle Resources
A bevy of unused resources on your Azure subscription is a more than likely reason for chalking up a hefty bill. The best solution to tell which workloads are being used and which ones can be decommissioned is to implement a basic cloud asset governance plan.
Use Azure’s set of usage statistics to measure how much activity your resources are taking. These can be checked from the Azure Portal and can help you identify which assets are in disuse and help you take appropriate action.
Choosing the Right Resource Size
.Azure offers a large number of options to accommodate different storage and size requirements for your resources. The wrong size could have you paying more than you need while your machine is in an idle state, or having a machine that’s at 100% CPU usage. Both these situations can impact your application performance. Using a cloud optimization tool can help you monitor unnecessary resource consumption and downscale it to the right size.
Delete Unused Disks
Storage disks for deleted virtual machines can still be saved in your Azure account and costing you money every month. This is especially the case with classic virtual machines than the new ARM variety. This is because Azure does not systematically delete disks upon deleting a virtual machine, to prevent accidental data loss.
This problem can be easily solved from the Azure portal and can vary depending on whether you’re using managed disks or classic disks.
Leverage elastic pool databases
The pricing for SQL databases in Azure can get very high. With Azure SQL, each database has a reserved amount of resources, which is charged for even if the database is idle. This is fine for multiple databases with consistent use; however if you have a large number of databases with an on-off usage pattern the prices are too high. For this reason, there are two options: Using a bigger more expensive database or using a lower tier database to save costs, at the expense of peak time performance hours.
Azure offers a new tier of SQL database services called Managed instances, which are virtual machines that host a SQL Server. Managed instances don’t have all of the features that are built into Azure SQL single-database services, but it doesn’t require managing the operating system or SQL Server installation. It’s a virtual machine whose configuration and maintenance is already handled.
Another option in Azure is called the SQL elastic pools. Instead of reserving certain resources for a single database, SQL elastic pools reserve some resources and share them across other databases. This has the benefits of Azure SQL and allows handling of spiky usage across multiple databases. Elastic pools are very popular and are an ideal option for multi-faceted applications.
However, one or more databases with higher usage than the other databases in a pool may need to purchase a more expensive elastic pool tier to handle usage peaks. Sometimes this can be more cost-effective to split out high-usage databases into single database offerings and pay for a smaller elastic pool for the remaining lower usage databases.
It is a good idea to look at database DTU usage: if a single database is 40% or more of the elastic pool’s DTUs at any given time, one may be able to save costs by splitting it off from the pool, then scaling down the pool to a less expensive tier.
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Is Azure Truly Expensive?
In today’s technological environment, companies are looking for features that are scalable, flexible and that will make their lives easier and more efficient. The adoption of cloud services has rapidly become a driving force for every organization as apps are moved from on-premise data to cloud platforms. Users have unlimited computing power and storage and they are able to compete with large organizations since they can get the same type of infrastructure as them at a fraction of a cost.
Azure enables companies to increase or decrease their needs to meet their business requirements. Most consumers choose Microsoft Azure because of the value it provides as a productive, intelligent, cost-effective, and trusted cloud service.
Azure is not very expensive as compared to its counterparts. Azure’s pricing for its services is very similar to its competitors, such as AWS. If you feel Azure is charging you more than it should then check if you are not running or using services that are not in disuse as that would cost you more, no matter which platform you use. Destroying Virtual Machines disks, switching off VMs, locating idle resources if not in use, scaling services, can all help in reducing your Azure bills.