Published on:

16 February 2021


Rachael Adams

10 Smart Ways to Save on Azure Costs – Without Reducing Benefits

There’s no denying that cloud has been a game changer. The majority of businesses are using cloud technologies for good reason, and we’re no exception. It is fair to say that we are some of Microsoft Azure’s biggest fans – so much so that everyone in our organisation has achieved certification. Still, cloud overspend is common: research suggests that around a third of cloud spend is wasted. We’ve put together the 10 best ways you can cut your Azure costs, without reducing your benefits.

1. Review and adjust specification of virtual servers (or virtual machines)

When you first put a workload in the cloud, you specify the size of the VM you want, based on memory, CPU, and disk storage. Sure, you can back this with some research into your business patterns and its peaks and troughs, but there is an element of the unknown when you start out. After a few months, review your usage. If you went way too big, you can now cut back. Azure has monitoring on all resources, making it easy to look back on what you used. Getting these metrics right can mean big savings.

2. Reserved instance and reserved capacity

Microsoft offers savings of up to 80% for commitment when you reserve the servers you need. Once you have done your review, you will have a clearer picture of your needs, and should be in a better position to lock in your commitment. Before you do, though, consider any impending changes in your organisation – for example, if you’re moving to a subscription version of your CRM system, will you need the same capacity?

3. Shut down your VMs when possible

Virtual servers are charged per hour, so if you only use some apps during business hours, why pay 24/7? You wouldn’t leave the lights on when you leave the office, and you also don’t need to pay for unused cloud services. If a server is not needed after hours, or over the Christmas break, you can shut it down and save some dollars.

4. Use automation

You could simply schedule everything to shut down outside of business hours, but what if someone had to work overtime? You can now use automation to look for patterns in app use, and based on that pattern, automatically shut down workloads, or add them for busy times, such as end of month processing. Automation helps you to pay when you use Azure, not when you don’t.

5. Move away from legacy server apps

Apps that require a server can rack up your costs, but there may be a better cloud alternative on the market, with more functionality, scale, and productivity. Commonly used cloud apps like MYOB are generally cheaper to buy and run than their on-premise predecessors. If you’re running everything as you did before, there’s likely to be plenty of room for efficiencies – this is one of the places we inevitably help customers to save money and improve productivity.

6. Workload consolidation

In the on-premise era, you may have had separate servers for each task, but now you have moved workloads to Azure, it is likely that there’s room to consolidate. Some servers may be underused, but you should work with internal or external IT specialists to be sure all impacts and inter-dependencies are considered, and that modern, cloud-based alternatives are assessed.

7. Use not-for-profit (NFP) pricing

Microsoft now offers attractive discounts for NFP organisations, so if you qualify, make sure you take advantage. Organisations such as charities, education establishments and disability services, for example, can use Microsoft’s simple qualification tool to check eligibility, or check in with your technology partner.

8. Build and maintain an IT strategy

Having a good strategy in place means that your technology environment isn’t just left as the status quo. When you continually look for best fit apps, your organisation won’t get left behind… and won’t keep paying for something sub-par.

9. Use Azure free accounts for testing and training

Microsoft adds new features every week, so it is inevitable that you may want to test them out. If you add everything at once, the dollars can soon mount up, but using Azure free accounts and trial licences allows you to sample some of those services to decide if they’re right for your business. Check your options before you pull out that company credit card.

10. Monitor your Azure costs

It sounds obvious, but it is now too easy to buy or grow something with a few clicks. If nobody is tracking purchases, the costs soon rise. A lot of organisations experience bill shock when ideas are tested, and then the user moves on to the next project without ‘clearing up’ afterwards. Part of the project process must now be adjusted to address the clean-up, and Azure has some handy tools to help.

How much can you save? One organisation we helped didn’t even realise they had a problem, but by implementing just a few of these measures, without losing an ounce of performance or functionality, they cut their Azure spend from $10,000 per month to $4,000.

Time to tighten your cloud belt? Contact our friendly Azure experts today.