Three best practices for managing your Azure cost

November 9 2023, by Slava Drozd | Category: Cloud Services
Three best practices for managing your Azure cost | Macquarie Cloud Services

It’s a common misconception that cloud environments such as Microsoft Azure are always more cost-effective than their on-premise or private cloud counterparts. After all, you’re eliminating the heavy expenditure associated with hardware, hypervisor software, data centres and people – and that means substantial savings, right?

While experience shows that a well-managed Azure environment can deliver significant cost management benefits for most organisations, there are some complexities. Costs can blow-out if you’re not educated, tuned-in and vigilant.

Microsoft calculates your Azure costs based on the time you use the resources you have in your environment. In general, this pricing model makes life much easier for IT leaders who are looking to predictably manage project budgets (rather than balancing multiple CAPEX and OPEX line items).

On the downside, there are still some variables in this model. Most of these relate to the people who are interacting with your network. A great example of this is when an employee creates a virtual resource for a genuine business purpose, then shifts roles or leaves the organisation. The resource is then forgotten and unused for months or even years. Meanwhile, you’re still paying (unwittingly) for it to sit in Azure.

Thankfully, there are steps IT leaders can take to manage their Azure costs. Let’s take a look at our top-three strategies for a cost-effective Azure environment.

Always work with an (expert) partner.

There are many situations in life where you should aim to cut out the middleman, but setting up your Azure environment is not one of them! Azure is a sophisticated platform, and one of the biggest impediments organisations face when it comes to cost management is lack of knowledge. Managed service providers hire people who know all the shortcuts, hacks and insights – so you don’t have to.

As a matter of fact, Microsoft encourages organisations to work with managed service providers, to ensure you’re capturing the best value and navigating the complexities of your Azure environment. Thus, Azure Expert MSP partners (we are proud to be one!) have Microsoft’s blessing to sell the product at a discount.

Meanwhile, if you purchase Azure directly from Microsoft, in most cases you’ll be paying full price – no discounts, no deals.

And preferential subscription fees are just the start of it – partners are also empowered to save you money in a range of ways related to billing, licensing and best practice. We can’t give away all our secrets here, but trust us – it’s worth it to have an expert partner in your corner.

Understand and manage your server time.

When it comes to cloud environments, server/compute time is nearly always the most expensive resource. In most environments (including Azure) it’s billed per hour, so if you’re not using particular servers at particular times (e.g. overnight), you can save money just by turning them off.

And the good news is that all this can happen automatically – if you have the right tools. We’ve seen server hours slashed by more than half when automated tools have been introduced into various Azure environments – literally overnight. That can represent thousands of dollars on the monthly bill.

Take a strategic look at your resources.

Microsoft likes to call this “right-sizing and clean up” of the environment, and once again it all comes down to tools (unless you fancy a lengthy manual clean-up process!).

Essentially, one of the many benefits of cloud computing is the pay-as-you-go subscription model. However, you’re going to lose much of that benefit if you’re paying for resources you’re not even using.

The first step is to run diagnostics to find the resources that are either not being used, or are underutilised. The next step is to ask questions of the resource owners to find out which of these can be deleted (and hence, costs saved).

It’s also critical this process is properly sequenced. You’ll want to prioritise the resources that are contributing the most to ongoing costs – and get them right-sized as soon as possible.

Already on Azure and looking to manage cost?

If you’re already on Azure and want to manage your cost, you’re in the right place. The first step is to evaluate your current setup. And we’ve got just the tool to help you with that — check out our Macquarie Lens, you will unlock invaluable insights into your Azure environment, courtesy of one of our principal consultants.

The best part? This service is absolutely free for our new clients. Yes, you read that correctly — normally valued at $2500, Macquarie Lens is our gift to you as you embark on the quest to manage your Azure costs.

When it comes to mastering the art of Microsoft Azure, look no further than Macquarie Cloud Services. We’re not just a player in this field; we’re leaders, setting the benchmark for skills and capability in Microsoft Azure.

What sets us apart? We are proudly an Azure Expert Managed Service Provider (AEMSP). This distinction isn’t just handed out; it’s earned through rigorous independent assessments that ensure we meet the highest standards in Managed Services.

Get in touch with us.

Are you ready to optimise your Microsoft Azure environment? We’re excited to embark on this journey with you. Reach out to us today at 1800 004 943 or drop us an email at to explore how we can help you manage Azure cost. Let’s make your Azure experience not only cost-effective, but also seamless and productive.

Slava Drozd

About the author.

Slava, our Principal Consultant in the Azure Practice, is your go-to expert for everything Azure, automation, and all things Microsoft. With a solid background in software development across various platforms, programming languages, and databases, he's great at aligning infrastructure and development teams. Slava's all about guiding our customers to embrace the best tools, practices, and technologies, ensuring not just efficiency but also long-term roadmap success. With Slava by your side, it's all about making things easier and enjoying the ride!

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