Azure Virtual Machine:- Cost saving!

Azure Virtual Machine cost saving – 10 ways to save!

1. Virtual Machine Up-Time

A simple procedure to implement that can have a big impact on your monthly cost! Have a review of your virtual machines, do they need to be on 24/7?

A quick sum:-

Virtual Machine D11v2  Region: UK South
per hour cost: £0.2833
Monthly cost (730 hours) £206.81

If you reviewed this VM’s uptime and decided you only need availability 24 hours a week, this would be: £27.20

Imagine your development environment consisting of 10-20 virtual machines, this would be a great saving!

2. Azure Hybrid Benefit (Windows OS only)

Already have Windows Server licenses with software assurance or Windows Server subscription? You can save up to 40% of your virtual machine cost!

3. Do you need that bigger VM instance? Resize those over-provisioned VMs!

Quite a few times you may create an environment from pre-requisites that contained a VM spec; after a number of months begin to review your VM usage to determine if you really need that VM spec or if a smaller instance is viable. This can drastically save cost over time.

Ways this can be monitored include:-

  • Your third-party monitoring solution such as Zabbix/Nagios
  • Azure Monitor
  • View virtual machine metrics from the Virtual Machine within the Azure Portal

4. Virtual Machines in a different region

May sound drastic but deploying virtual machines into a different region can save money, various Azure regions are cheaper than others for VM deployments. If you are not required for data compliance etc to have your VMs in a specific region(s) then looking at another region is a viable option in relation to cost saving.

Virtual Machine D11v2 Region: UK South
per hour cost: £0.2833
Monthly cost (730 hours) £206.81
Virtual Machine D11v2 Region: East US
per hour cost: £0.197
Monthly cost (730 hours) £143.81

Cost saving of more than £60 by selecting a different region – perfect for a development/testing environment where latency and other region related issues may not be effective.

5. Burst-series deployment

Azure B-series Virtual Machines are an economic series that provides a lower-cost option for workloads that are not usually  CPU intensive and can run at a low to moderate CPU baseline. Ideally workloads running on B-series do not require use of the CPU all the time but on occasions may need an additional burst to complete a task more rapidly. A great alternative for environments that may include test, development or even small-to-medium proof of concepts

Virtual Machine: B2S Region: UK South
per hour cost: £0.053
Monthly cost (730 hours) £38.69
Virtual Machine: DS2_v2  Region: UK South
per hour cost: £0.22
Monthly cost (730 hours) £160.60

6. Select the correct VM series

There are quite a number of VM series’ available to chose from, each having specific benefits – key ones include:-

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Image reference: docs.microsoft.com

7. Azure DevTest Labs

Another cost-saving option for development environments, DevTest labs!

“Fast, easy and lean dev-test environments” – azure.microsoft.com

Features of an Azure DevTest Labs include:

  • Simplify cost management
  • Quickly setup environments
  • Integrate with existing tool chains
  • Tailor to your environment

Additionally by using DevTest Labs, you can management costs by numerous configurations including:

  • Number of VMs allowed per lab
  • Maximum number of VMs allowed per user
  • Set VM Size Limits (CPU/Memory)
  • VM startup/shutdown times
  • Select VM expiry dates

Note: Azure DevTest Labs do not have any additional cost to use this service, you simply pay for the VMs used.

8. Select the correct storage to use

Need a storage account for your build? Decide on the correct storage-type, will your environment need Geographically Redundant storage? Storage account types, from a replication perspective:-

  • LRS – Locally Redundant Storage
  • ZRS – Zone Redundant Storage
  • GRS – Geographically Redundant storage
  • RA-GRS – Read Access GRS

Using managed disks with your VMs? I recommend you do so, advantages over a non-managed disk include a greater guaranteed SLA along with not having the requirement to managed your storage (.VHDs) Azure manages this for you.

Again, there is various types of managed disks – each with their premium depending if you decide on HDD, Standard SSD or Premium SSD

9. Reserved instances

Knowing you will be using the same VM sizes in the coming year or more? Reserved instances are for you, purchasing one-year or three-year term Azure Reseved instances with a single, upfront payment could save you up to 72% of your VM cost – along with Azure Hybrid Benefit even up to 80%!

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Image reference: docs.microsoft.com

Virtual Machine:DV3 VM (2 vCPU 8GB RAM) Region: UK South
per hour cost: £0.072
Monthly cost (730 hours) £52.56
1 year Reserved per hour cost: £0.041
1 year Reserved Monthly cost (730 hours) £29.93
3 year Reserved per hour cost: £0.028
3 year Reserved Monthly cost (730 hours) £20.44

Give it a go, reserved instances even have a purchase experience, where Microsoft will make a number of recommendations based on your last 30 days usage and will include potential further savings.

10. Analyze your spending

Azure has several ways to assist you with analyzing and auditing your current spend, these tools can be used to identify where you’re spending unnecessary and unused resources can be removed or shutdown to save money.

Azure advisor

Enabling advisor will give you recommendations and potential cost savings!

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/advisor/advisor-overview

Auditing your Azure usage

Speaking wider than just VMs it can be easy to leave unused resources sitting within your subscription and depending on the subscription size – possibly forgotten about! This can result in additional unnecessary costings.

I would recommend auditing your azure usage on a monthly basis – them few hours to begin with could have quite a cost saving in the coming months. A good auditing tool is found within your Azure subscription in the portal, viewing this can even show you, your current burn rate which you can potentially see cost savings without any Azure recommendations!

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cost-management/quick-acm-cost-analysis

Azure Pricing Calculator

A handy URL that will assist you throughout beginning with your initial costing to further thinking about expanding your environment the calculator will assist you https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/pricing/calculator/

Thanks for reading this rather lengthy blog – hopefully some pointers can assist you with Azure Virtual Machine cost saving!

Pricing for the above examples taken from:-

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/pricing/details/virtual-machines/windows/

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