My 101 guide to making the most of you Azure Budget

I was recently chatting to someone around the costs of Azure and how they could make best use of a Visual Studio subscription which gave them around £115 a month to spend on Azure resources. My advice, shut resources that you can down when you aren't using them. You can make significant savings right out the door by doing this. Let's way through a common scenario to prove my point… Within Azure you get the ability to run virtual machines, these can be useful in lab or test environments to help you spin up somewhere to test scripts, tools, etc. However running it 24/7 on a capped Azure subscription can quickly eat away at your budget. Let's walk through the costs and show you were you can be economical. Within Azure in the virtual machine field you pay for two things on, compute and storage. Compute can be turned on and off, however storage is always on.

Monthly running costs

If we use March 2018 as an example, there are 31 says in the month, which is 744 hours. If you spun up a Windows D2 v2 virtual machine in the UK South Azure data center, which will give you 2 cores and 7GB of RAM you will be looking at a compute costs of £181.32 a month, if you adding a Standard 128GB managed disk to give you some storage you will be adding an additional £4.83 a month to your bill. Breaking that cost down you are looking at:

  • £5.85 a day for the compute costs
  • 16p a day for the storage costs
    Now on a capped subscription of £115 a month you would burst your budget running that virtual machine and storage for the month of March. So what can you do?

Reduce costs

Out of the 31 days in March, nine of those days are weekends. If you were only using the virtual machine for testing during the week you could shutdown the virtual machine for those nine days. This reduces the amount of hours you would run the virtual machine down to 528. The virtual machine would cost £128.68 for the month. Your storage costs would be the same for the month as that is always on. Breaking that down we are looking at:

  • £4.15 a day for compute cost
  • 16p a day for storage
    Straight away you have saved £57.57 a month just by shutting your virtual machine down at the weekends.

Further reduce costs

If you went further and said we only used the virtual machine during the hours as 7am-7pm Monday to Friday, you would only need to run your virtual machine for 264 hours a month. So your compute costs are taken down to £64.34 a month. Again storage is unchanged. Breaking that down we are looking at:

  • £2.97 a day for compute cost
  • 16p a day for storage
    So only running your virtual machine during working hours you can save a whopping £121.81 a month. And in this use case we could easily run the virtual machine within the £115 budget. The cloud is agile, make use of it and only have resources running where possible.