Azure Cost Optimization: 5 proven ways to Save on Azure

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If moving to the cloud to reduce costs is one end of the spectrum, the other end is optimizing the cloud costs. Cloud cost optimization has always been a challenge for businesses and most companies experience cost overruns at some point in their business. A recent survey revealed that 57% of IT leaders have exceeded their cloud budget at one point or another.

The roots of overspending lie in the lack of control and improper usage of resources and not actually in the costs involved. Proper utilization of services and strategical cutting back on costs, could quite possibly optimize your spending and reduce your monthly bill to a great extent. This article discusses this in detail.

1. Use Reserved Instances

Reserved Instances could be one good option for cutting down your costs on your Azure cloud. For those who don’t know, reserved Instances (RI) are a unique type of reservation that you can make based on computing capacity, which allows you to choose both the instance type and size, as well as the Availability Zone, with an upfront commitment of either one or three years.

In addition to the guaranteed compute capacity, you get to enjoy great savings which serves you the purpose of keeping a spare instance at a much lower rate. An upfront payment could fetch you a discounted price for the instance, which could save you up to 75% compared to on-demand rates. They are quite flexible, appropriate for any stable, long-term workload and offer cost benefit much better than the pay-as-you-go model. Moreover, Existing workloads can easily be transferred to a reserved instance, and the capacity can be reconfigured over time.

2. Identify and act on idle resources

Finally, a quick step that’s rarely taken is simply turning off instances when they’re not required. A surprising number of companies keep instances running when they’re unneeded. This is equivalent to leaving your air conditioner running when you’re away from home. Gartner has estimated that up to half of public cloud instances are “zombies,” i.e., VMs that are running continuously but not attached to anything useful. 
The best solution would be to go back in time and implement a basic cloud asset governance plan.

Cloud users can reduce their costs by up to 90 percent in some cases by eliminating idle resources.

In a nutshell, for each resource you create, you’ll want to:

  • Use tags and other strategies to categorize how the asset will be used (dev, test, prod, etc.)
  • Specify a single owner for the resource (typically the person who requested the resource)
  • Determine an expiration or check-up date for the resource (and make sure to follow the schedule and eliminate unnecessary resources promptly)

Once you have this information, it’s a lot easier to determine whether or not a given resource is still needed and act accordingly.

3. Right-sizing resource

Many data centers over-provision their resources without the estimate of storage is needed. As a result, there’s too much infrastructure available relative to actual usage- which causes overspending to a drastic scale.

Though the peaks are covered, there’s too much money going towards unused capacity. DevOps.com predicted that:

Cloud waste in 2019 would exceed $14 billion, with $5.3 billion coming from oversized resources.

-DevOps.com

A more economical approach involves provisioning for actual usage and then resorting to burst and elastic spending to cover any temporary fluctuations in demand. The terms elasticity and bursting mean:

  • Elasticity allows for instances to be scaled up and down to match current utilization levels.
  • Bursting delivers critical compute, storage and/or networking resources on-demand.

When you pair your right-sizing strategy with cloud infrastructure, bursting and elasticity will keep your overall spend more sustainable. You could use built-in tools or third-party utilities for end-to-end visibility necessary for understanding your cloud environment and also provide you the key metrics such as CPU and memory utilization.

4. Shift workloads to containers

VM’s are the most popular compute option in Azure, but they aren’t the only one. Containers are more lightweight than VMs, and they provide lower costs because of the lesser footprint and faster operability they bring. Almost every organization is considering ways to move from VMs to containers for this reason.

Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) is a fully managed container hosting platform. Kubernetes has become the de-facto choice for managing cloud-native infrastructure. However, installing, updating, and maintaining a Kubernetes instance on your own is not for the faint-hearted. AKS is a great way to operate containers without the management overhead. AKS has features like one-click updates, wizard-based resource management, role-based access controls (RBAC), integration with Active Directory, built-in monitoring, and more. If you’re going the container way, (and just about every organization is), Azure AKS is one of the best options out there.

5. Partner with the right Cloud Managed Service Provider

Finally, once you’ve exhausted all the options to save money through your own efforts, it makes sense to partner with a Cloud Managed Services (CMS) provider, preferably an Azure-certified partner, to review your Azure usage and suggest cost optimizations.

The ideal cloud managed services provider can enable optimization deep dives to help you find opportunities to reduce app footprint, optimize storage usage, identify security vulnerabilities, gain visibility into unused instances and get more out of your Azure spend.

This is where we can help. Tekpros, a Microsoft Cloud partner, provides reliable and effective monitoring services using our platform to monitor cloud instances, network, storage, applications and workloads on both IaaS and PaaS environments. With our experience managing cloud for multiple clients, we consistently verify the health on the cloud environment, optimize it, generate reports and proactively mitigate risks thus avoiding any outages.

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