Interconnected guidance for an optimized cloud journey

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Tech Community - Latest Blogs - .

The cost of cloud computing can add up quickly, especially for businesses with a high volume of data, high traffic or mission-critical applications. As organizations increasingly put cloud capabilities to work, they are constantly looking for ways to trim costs and focus their cloud spend to align to the right business priorities. Cost optimization is key to making that happen. But how do you know when there are opportunities to optimize?  

To make it easier for you to identify cost optimization opportunities during every step of your Azure journey, we provide resources, tools and guidance to help you evaluate your costs, identify efficiencies, and set you up for success. From building your business case to optimizing new workloads, you’ll find interconnected guidance and assessments designed to continually increase the value of your Azure investments and enable you to invest in projects that drive ongoing business growth and innovation. Whether you're migrating to the cloud for the first time or already have Azure workloads in place, these cost management, governance and monitoring tools can help you visualize your costs and gain insights.  

Let’s take a closer look at each of these tools and how you can use them to understand and forecast your bill, optimize workload costs, and control your spending. 



Azure Pricing Calculator 
Before you can make informed decisions about your cloud spend, you’ll need to turn your anticipated usage into an estimated cost. The Azure Pricing Calculator is a web-based tool that makes it easier to plan and budget for your Azure usage and make informed decisions about your cloud spending. It helps you estimate the cost of creating new or expanding existing deployments by providing cost estimates based on the services used. With this tool, you can explore various configurations of many different Azure services as you identify which SKUs and how much usage keeps you within your desired price range. The calculator also provides a cost estimate for your Azure consumption with your negotiated or discounted prices and strategic pricing offers such as Azure Hybrid Benefit, Reserved Instances and Azure savings plan for compute. 

The estimate is split into upfront and monthly costs. Your input from the Pricing Calculator can also help estimate the cost of any changes to your deployed workloads and that data can help inform more specific recommendations based on your current usage. Your estimated costs also come with links for next steps, such as using Azure Migrate to build a migration business case.  


Microsoft Cost Management 
Cost management is the continuous process of planning and controlling costs. No matter where you are in your cloud journey, you need to know what you’re spending, where it’s being spent, and how to plan for the future. This is where Microsoft Cost Management comes in. 

Microsoft Cost Management helps you implement financial governance, understand and control cloud costs, analyze trends and optimize costs. Once you’ve begun migrating to Azure, you can use Microsoft Cost Management to continually track and monitor your cloud spending and improve the cost-effectiveness of your current investments.  

Here are a few examples of what you can do in Cost Management: 

  • Report on and analyze costs in the Azure portal, Microsoft 365 admin center or Power BI 
  • Monitor costs proactively with budget, anomaly, reservation utilization and scheduled alerts 
  • Enable tag inheritance and split shared costs with cost allocation rules 
  • Automate business processes or integrate cost into external tools by exporting data 
  • Tailor recommendations for cost optimization through reservations, rightsizing and removing idle resources 

Microsoft Cost Management also includes a new AI-powered functionality––available in preview on the Azure Portal––which generates quick analysis, insights and recommendations to help you better understand, analyze, manage and forecast your cloud spend. 

Microsoft Cost Management is available to anyone with access to a billing account, subscription, resource group or management group. You can access Cost Management within the billing and resource management experiences or separately as a standalone tool optimized for FinOps teams who manage cost across multiple scopes.  
Azure Advisor 
Multiple Azure subscriptions, resource groups and resources can make optimization a daunting task. Azure Advisor is designed to help you focus your efforts and save time on cloud optimization. Advisor is a personalized and customizable cloud consultant that helps you follow best practices to optimize your Azure deployments and improve reliability, security, and performance, achieve operational excellence, and reduce costs. It then offers simple, step-by-step guidance and quick actions for fast remediation​. 

With Azure Advisor you can: 

  • Get proactive, actionable and personalized best practices recommendations 
  • Improve the performance, security and reliability of your resources as you identify opportunities to reduce your overall Azure spend 
  • Get recommendations with proposed actions inline 
  • Set up notifications—via email, SMS, webhook, runbook, and other methods—that notify you about new optimization opportunities as they become available​ 

Advisor also has built-in sharing features that make it easy to share and remediate recommendations with other people across your teams. 


Incorporating FinOps best practices in your Azure journey  
In addition to the tools above, adhering to FinOps best practices can be critical for helping you optimize cloud spend. FinOps is a framework that establishes a cross-functional team that includes finance, IT, engineers, and business leaders to create a culture of financial accountability where everyone takes ownership of their cloud usage. This collaboration increases visibility into your cloud investment to all levels of the organization while helping you gain more financial control and predictability.  

The FinOps lifecycle is an iterative loop that includes 16 capabilities designed to support incremental changes and maximize cloud business value. Each of the tools discussed above – Azure Pricing Calculator, Microsoft Cost Management and Azure Advisor – can be used to enable FinOps capabilities, including cost allocation, managing shared costs, resource utilization and efficiency, and managing commitment-based discounts. In addition, we recently released a FinOps Review Assessment based on guidance from the FinOps Foundation framework that can help you work to align your business with the FinOps practices and principles. 


An interconnected experience to help you achieve cost optimization  
Cost optimization is about driving continuous improvement and optimization of your architecture and workloads while continuously improving your cost efficiency. Each of the tools discussed above are designed to help you get insights into your Azure costs throughout the lifecycle of your workloads, from estimating usage costs with the Azure Pricing Calculator, to tracking and monitoring your cloud spending with Microsoft Cost Management, to optimizing the cost-effectiveness of that investments with actionable recommendations from Azure Advisor. 


Learn more about FinOps on Azure and visit our dedicated FinOps playlist on this topic.  

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