Analyzing Current Costs
Analyzing Current Costs

Microsoft Azure provides a variety of cloud services in a variety of cloud service models: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. When businesses migrate to the cloud, they must choose which model is best suited to their needs and is the most cost-effective. This course is designed to assist Cloud Architects in identifying their current Azure expenditures and providing greater awareness of the costs associated with each deployment model as well as each aspect of an Azure deployment.

Optimizing Azure costs begins with knowing your current Azure expenditures. This course introduces you to the tools built into the Azure Portal that can help you understand the total overall expenditures in Azure as well as break down those costs by area: Compute, Network, Storage, Identity, and App/Cloud Services.

The remainder of the course drills down on specific costs associated with each area of Azure identifies the costs associated with each service and provides very clear and concise methods for reducing Azure expenditures. Many of the cost savings methods will require minimal changes to your Azure deployment and will take just minutes to implement while other cost savings methods may take a shift in your Azure strategy, such as moving from Iaas to PaaS. By the end of this course, you will have gained a thorough understanding of how charges are incurred, how to reduce or even avoid some of the charges, and you will have learned how to significantly reduce overall Azure expenditures and get the most out of what is spent in your Azure deployment.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify current Azure expenditures
  • Optimize compute costs
  • Optimize network costs
  • Optimize storage costs
  • Optimize identity costs
  • Optimize App Service and Cloud Service costs

Intended Audience

  • Azure architects who are exploring options for reducing their Azure spending


  • Good understanding of Azure administration and management



For the planning phase of an Azure deployment, Microsoft provides an excellent online tool to assist in estimating your Azure costs. This tool allows you to select and estimate the cost of deploying resources to Azure. Of course, to generate the best cost estimate, you'll need to know exactly what resources you plan to deploy to Azure and their compute and storage requirements. For example, Azure virtual machines are available in a range of sizes based on the number of CPU cores and memory. 

So if you plan to deploy IaaS virtual machines, you'll need to choose from these sizes based on current demands of the workloads that will be hosted on the Azure virtual machines and on projected growth. The bottom line is that a cost-efficient Azure deployment requires careful and extensive planning. In the case where you already have resources deployed to Azure, the first step in optimizing Azure resource costs is to analyze current Azure resource consumption in order to gain an overall understanding of the resources currently deployed to Azure and their associated costs. There are two tools that can be used for determining overall Azure costs: the Azure billing portal and the Azure Cost Management tool. The Azure billing portal can be accessed from the Azure portal by choosing Cost Management and Billing. 

The overview provides a roll-up of the costs associated with each subscription. By clicking on a subscription, you can view the costs associated with that subscription graphically broken down by resource type, as well as spending rate and forecast. This page can be particularly helpful in determining where most of your Azure dollars are being consumed. Clicking on any of the resources takes you to the Costs by resource window. Here each resource is listed along with its type, resource group, and tags. Clicking on any of the items takes you to the Cost history window. This information can be helpful in identifying usage trends on a per resource basis. The Azure Cost Management tool is another good tool for monitoring and analyzing Azure costs.

 This tool can be accessed from the Cost Management and Billing blade. Resource costs vary somewhat by region, so if possible, create your resources in a region with lower costs. Ideally, you should place your resources close to the geographical location of your consumers of those resources. Nonetheless, you may find a nearby region that offers the same resources for less. Use the pricing calculator to assist in finding the lower cost regions. In this example, note the difference in cost between West US and West US 2. Also note the significant difference in cost savings in using one-year and three-year reserved plans. Reserved plans will be covered later.

About the Author

Jeff is a technical trainer and developer residing in Arizona, USA. He has been a Microsoft Certified Trainer for the past 18 years, providing in-house development and training on Microsoft server operating systems, PowerShell, SQL Server and Azure.  When he’s not developing and delivering courses on Azure, he’s photographing galaxies, nebulae and star formations from his computer-automated observatory in Chino Valley, Arizona using a 14” Schmidt Cassegrain telescope.