Whether you’re a new student, thriving startup, or the largest enterprise, you have financial constraints and you need to know what you’re spending, where, and how to plan for the future. Nobody wants a surprise when it comes to the bill, and this is where Azure Cost Management + Billing comes in.

We’re always looking for ways to learn more about your challenges and how Azure Cost Management + Billing can help you better understand where you’re accruing costs in the cloud, identify and prevent bad spending patterns, and optimize costs to empower you to do more with less. Here are a few of the latest improvements and updates based on your feedback:

Let’s dig into the details.


Azure Spot Virtual Machines now generally available

We all want to save money. We often look at our largest workloads for savings opportunities, but make sure you don’t stop there. You may be able to save up to 90 percent on interruptible virtual machine workloads with Azure Spot Virtual Machines (Spot VMs), now generally available.

Spot VMs allow you to utilize unused compute capacity at very low rates compared to pay-as-you-go prices. Spot VMs are best suited to batch jobs, supplementing workloads that can be interrupted, dev/test environments, stateless applications, and other fault-tolerant applications. Spot VMs can be very useful in reducing the cost of running applications significantly or alternatively staying within budget while scaling out your applications.

Learn more about how to identify and track Spot VM costs in Azure Cost Management.


Monitoring your reservation and Marketplace purchases with budgets

Azure Cost Management budgets help you plan for and drive organizational accountability by ensuring everyone is aware as costs increase. You already know you can monitor usage of your Azure and AWS services. Now you can also track and get notified when a reservation or Marketplace purchase causes you to exceed your budget.

With the inclusion of purchases, your budgets become even more powerful. You have a more complete picture of your costs, enabling you to proactively manage and optimize costs to stay within your financial constraints. You can even target these costs more specifically, for finer-grained monitoring.

Let’s say you don’t expect your Marketplace purchases to be over $1000 per month. Create a monthly budget where PublisherType is set to Marketplace and ChargeType is set to Purchase. Setup notifications for 50 percent, 75 percent, or another portion of your budget, and you’ll get an email if those thresholds are hit. Pretty simple.

How about reservation purchases? You may not want to limit reservation purchases since they do help save money, but maybe you just want to be notified when they’re used throughout the organization. Create a yearly budget where PublisherType is set to Azure and ChargeType is set to Purchase. You’ll get notified as purchases cause the threshold to be exceeded and at that point, you can even increase the budget amount to continue to get notified as new reservations are purchased.

Alternatively, if you only want to monitor usage, simply filter ChargeType to Usage. That’s it!

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Learn more about how to monitor and control spending with Azure Cost Management budgets.


Automate cost savings with Azure Resource Graph

You already know Azure Advisor helps you reduce and optimize costs without sacrificing quality. And you may already be familiar with the Azure Advisor APIs that enable you to integrate recommendations into your own reporting or automation. Now you can also get recommendations via Azure Resource Graph.

Azure Resource Graph enables you to explore your Azure resources across subscriptions. You can use advanced filtering, grouping, and sorting based on resource properties and relationships to target specific workloads and even take that further to automate resource management and governance at scale. Now, with the addition of Azure Advisor recommendations, you can also query your cost saving recommendations.

Query Azure Advisor cost recommendations in Azure Resource Graph from the Azure portal

Querying for recommendations is easy. Just open Azure Resource Graph in the Azure portal and explore the advisorresources table. Let’s say you want a summary of your potential cost savings opportunities:

// First, we trim down the list to only cost recommendations
| where type == 'microsoft.advisor/recommendations'
| where properties.category == 'Cost'
// Then we group rows...
| summarize
// ...count the resources and add up the total savings
     resources = dcount(tostring(properties.resourceMetadata.resourceId)),
     savings = sum(todouble(properties.extendedProperties.savingsAmount))

// ...for each recommendation type (solution)
     solution = tostring(properties.shortDescription.solution),
     currency = tostring(properties.extendedProperties.savingsCurrency)
// And lastly, format and sort the list
| project solution, resources, savings = bin(savings, 0.01), currency
| order by savings desc

Take this one step further using Logic Apps or Azure Functions and send out weekly emails to subscription and resource group owners. Or pivot this on resource ID and setup an approval workflow to automatically delete unused resources or downsize underutilized virtual machines. The sky’s the limit!


Azure Cost Management covered by FedRAMP High

Azure Cost Management is now one of the 101 services covered by the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) High Provisional Authorization to Operate (P-ATO) for Azure Government—more services than any other cloud provider.

Learn more about the expanded FedRAMP High coverage.


Tell us about your reporting goals

As you know, we’re always looking for ways to learn more about your needs and expectations. If you already responded last month, thank you! If not, we’d like to learn about the most important reporting tasks and goals you have when managing and optimizing costs. We’ll use your inputs from this survey to help prioritize reporting improvements within Cost Management + Billing experiences over the coming months. The 9-question survey should take about 10 minutes. Please share this with anyone working with Azure Cost Management + Billing. The more diverse perspectives we get, the better we can serve you, your team, and your organization.

Take the survey.


New ways to save money with Azure

Lots of cost optimization improvements over the past month. Here are a few you might be interested in:


New videos and learning opportunities

For those visual learners out there, there are five new videos and a new MS Learn learning path you should take a look at:

Follow the Azure Cost Management + Billing YouTube channel to stay in the loop with new videos as they’re released and let us know what you’d like to see next.

Want a more guided experience? Start with Control Azure spending and manage bills with Azure Cost Management + Billing.


Documentation updates

Here are a few documentation updates you might be interested in:

Want to keep an eye on all of the documentation updates? Check out the Cost Management + Billing doc change history in the azure-docs repository on GitHub. If you see something missing, select Edit at the top of the document and submit a quick pull request.


What’s next?

These are just a few of the big updates from last month. Don’t forget to check out the previous Azure Cost Management + Billing updates. We’re always listening and making constant improvements based on your feedback, so please keep the feedback coming.

Follow @AzureCostMgmt on Twitter and subscribe to the YouTube channel for updates, tips, and tricks. And, as always, share your ideas and vote up others in the Cost Management feedback forum.

We know these are trying times for everyone. Best wishes from the Azure Cost Management team. Stay safe and stay healthy!