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What Are Some Azure Cost Management Challenges Today? What Are The Best Azure Cost Management Tools Right Now? What Next: Understand, Control, And Optimize Azure Costs With CloudZero

Toward the end of Q1, 2022, survey findings reported that Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing services had, for the first time, eclipsed Amazon Web Services (AWS) in some enterprise categories. According to the respondents, more enterprises preferred Azure because it integrates well with the many Microsoft products they already use.

A second reason was that Azure is suitable for running on-premises and at the edge. Also, some organizations use Microsoft Azure to avoid vendor lock-in to AWS.

A noteworthy reason for the increase in adoption was that the Azure Resource Manager, among other Azure cost management tools, had improved.

Yet, Azure is a pay-per-use service. Billing is per-second, and there are no long-term commitments. This means, you can readily increase or decrease your account’s computing resources to meet your workload’s requirements.

For example, Azure’s auto-scaling features enable you to scale up and down virtual machines (VMs) quickly and automatically to meet demand.

Thus, like AWS, that near-instant flexibility makes managing Azure cloud costs challenging. That’s just one example. There’s more.

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What Are Some Azure Cost Management Challenges Today?

Azure costs still vary depending on several factors, including how much capacity you need, which services you consume, and where you need them (location).

This complexity can make it hard to understand whether you’re getting value back or overpaying for Azure cloud services.

As with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), many Azure users report surprise cloud bills. Usually, invoices for public cloud services are difficult to analyze and understand. But using multiple Microsoft cloud services further adds another layer of complexity to your Azure costs.

As a result, understanding the relationships between services, usage, and costs can be challenging.

Yet there’s more. There’s also a free tier, in which certain Azure services are free for the first 12 months. Others are free forever with some limitations. It is also true that old habits die hard, so when you’re ready to pay up, you might overprovision or leave resources running unnecessarily out of habit — neither of which will reduce your Azure cloud bill.

With all the data you need to digest per second, managing Azure cloud costs manually is nearly impossible. A good Azure cost optimization tool can help you make sense of your spend.

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What Are The Best Azure Cost Management Tools Right Now?

Here is a list of Azure cloud cost management tools you can use to collect, analyze, and manage your Azure costs, hourly or in real-time.

1. CloudZero – Modern cloud cost intelligence platform

CloudZero Profitable Growth

CloudZero provides a flexible integration framework for ingesting virtually any cost data. Getting cost information from Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is quick and simple. CloudZero also supports DevOps vendors like Datadog and New Relic.

Several factors make CloudZero different from traditional Azure cost management solutions.

In addition to reporting total costs, CloudZero offers granular cost information by business dimensions you care about, such as cost per customer, feature, team, project, or environment.

Foundation Of Cloud Spend

Secondly, CloudZero enables you to align specific cost insights to the people, processes, and products that generated them, which facilitates accurate cost allocation, forecasting, and chargebacks.

Thirdly, CloudZero provides the same level of actionable intelligence for Azure, AWS, Kubernetes, and Snowflake. This gives you a complete picture of your cloud costs, enabling you to make decisions without blind spots.

Fourth, CloudZero’s cloud cost intelligence platform offers total cost visibility across your entire Azure environment, capturing infrastructure and application metrics — not just VM-generated cost metrics. All of this is code-driven. You won’t have to spend endless hours manually tagging. The process is fully automated, collecting costs for tagged, untagged, untaggable, and shared resources.

Whether you’re an enterprise with multiple line items, a bubbling startup embarking on your cloud journey, or an efficiency-driven scaleup, CloudZero’s cost intelligence dashboards are easy to digest for your engineers, finance, C-suite, and investors.

CloudZero offers even more integrated cost optimization tools, including budgets, real-time cost anomaly detection, and partnerships with Xosphere and ProsperOps — for automated cost optimization.

Schedule a demo here to see CloudZero for yourself!

2. Microsoft Cost Management for Azure – Native cost management tool

Microsoft Cost Management

Microsoft Cost Management comprises free Azure cost management tools available via the Azure portal. It summarizes the total costs of Azure services you use and your Azure Marketplace products’ charges. The solution also generates cost data analysis and reports for the Azure cloud (no additional cost) as well as AWS spending (costs 1% of AWS managed spend).

Azure Cost Management runs continuously after you enable it, monitoring your resources and generating continuous reports. You can analyze historic cloud usage patterns, identify expense trends, and predict future costs. Further, it displays costs on a daily, monthly, or annual basis, providing insights into trends, anomalies, and optimization opportunities.

Since this data comes directly from Azure, it shows the actual units the cloud provider uses to calculate your Azure bill.

Also, as a native tool, it integrates with Azure Advisor, providing tailored cost recommendations. Other tools in the arsenal include Azure Pricing Calculator and Azure Budgets. Yet, using REST APIs and integrating with Microsoft Power BI enables you to customize your cost management dashboards further.

3. Cloudability – Hybrid cloud cost management

Cloudability

Cloudability is an enterprise-grade platform for tracking cloud costs across providers like Azure and AWS. It is a traditional cloud cost management tool. That means it is ideal for presenting overall costs, rightsizing resources, and buying recommended Azure Reserved Instances.

The platform relies on manual tagging to collect, track, and allocate cloud cost metrics. Data is available on various factors, such as departments, initiatives, roles, and teams. In addition, Cloudability lets you identify and shut down unused or idle resources to increase savings.

4. CloudHealth – Enterprise cost management with security

CloudHealth

Like Cloudability, CloudHealth caters to large organizations that want to manage their cloud bill traditionally while maintaining ongoing security and compliance. With CloudHealth for Microsoft Azure, you can practice Azure financial management, use custom policies to streamline workflows, and enhance Azure security.

It reports Azure cloud costs by project, function, or team. You can also trigger cost anomaly alerts using cloud operating budgets to notify your team members when specific lines of business are expected to exceed budget.

Furthermore, the software provides automated rightsizing recommendations, stops/deallocates/terminates Azure instances, and detects infrastructure misconfigurations that could result in cost overruns.

5. CloudCheckr – Multi-cloud cost management for enterprises

Cloudcheckr

CloudCheckr for Azure includes a range of tools, such as cloud visibility, resource usage optimization, security monitoring, and compliance management for Azure customers. You can also track your cloud usage and associated costs across AWS and GCP, including by team, project, and service. It also analyzes spending trends to generate relevant optimization recommendations.

Like CloudHealth and Cloudability, the CloudCheckr platform will also provide volume-based Reserved Instance purchasing recommendations, identify unused or idle resources so you can pause or terminate them, and produce sharable reports.

6. Flexera – SaaS-Based Azure Cost Management By Teams and Centers

Flexera

With Flexera, you can view, manage, and optimize hybrid cloud costs, including those in Azure deployments. Besides tracking cloud costs, Flexera also lets you monitor costs for on-premises and SaaS deployments. As a result, you can estimate, budget, and report on cloud infrastructure costs by analyzing cost data, such as account type, cloud provider, and region.

However, like many other Azure cost management tools, Flexera requires tedious manual tagging in your infrastructure to make sense of resource consumption and associated costs.

7. Harness – Azure cost management with continuous delivery pipelines

Harness

Harness is a cloud management and software delivery platform. Though it is known for its fast CI/CD pipelines, it also has a cost management tool for public and private infrastructure. It includes tools such as auto-stopping, recommendations, budgets, forecasts, and custom cost dashboards.

In addition, you can run a What-If analysis before running the rightsizing, reserved instances, and auto-stopping recommendations. Moreover, cost anomaly alerts notify you when your costs and usage patterns exceed your predefined limits.

8. Virtana Optimize – Azure cost management with serverless management

Virtana Optimize

Virtana Optimize provides a read-only integration that collects Azure cost data. Depending on the number of Azure subscriptions you wish to analyze, you can create one or more integrations. Then you can perform a series of optimizations across cost, performance, and capacity in real-time and continuously.

Additionally, the platform can detect idle, abandoned, and unused resources and recommend stopping them to save money. Meanwhile, you also receive rightsizing recommendations. Then, depending on the level of risk your organization is willing to take, you can determine how large or small your resources should be. Virtual Analyze also performs what-if analyses before recommending CPU, memory, and ingress/egress charges.

9. Cast – Cost management for Azure Kubernetes Service

Cast

If you need a standalone Kubernetes cost monitoring and reporting service, Cast.ai provides one that works across Microsoft’s Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Amazon’s Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), and Kubernetes Operations (KOPS).

Cast’s AI-powered engine automatically scans clusters for areas to optimize, generates optimization recommendations, and performs rebalancing. With real-time auto-scaling, spot instance automation, and cluster scheduling, it also delivers continuous Kubernetes cost management for Azure customers.

10. GorillaStack – cost management and security automation for Azure

GorillaStack

PyraCloud’s GorillaStack provides cloud operations expenditure (OpEx), cloud security, and data protection solutions. The tool automates Azure cloud cost management without requiring any coding. The platform allows your services to start, stop, and scale as needed.

It also detects idle/unused resources. GorillaStack provides a snooze and cancel function to reduce wasted Azure resources. Your team can also create and schedule custom workflows to manage costs independently.

11. Densify – Container resource management platform

Densify

Densify is a cloud management service with advanced monitoring capabilities. Based on this background, the company created a tool that manages hybrid clouds and container resources. Densify integrates with numerous cloud platforms, including Microsoft Azure VMs and containers, to support the service.

Densify automatically sets resource requests and limits for containers at the node and cluster levels. It also provides container resource management across AKS, Kubernetes, Amazon EKS and ECS, Red Hat OpenShift, Rancher RKE, and GKE.

12. Granulate – Autonomous workload and cost optimization

Granulate

Granulate is suitable for organizations that want to boost their costs across cloud-native, on-premises, Kubernetes/containerized, and AI-powered environments. The platform optimizes your operating system’s resource manager continually, improving performance at scale. Granulate does this by learning your data flow, processing, and utilization patterns, then automatically optimizes the kernel and runtime resources.

With Granulate, you can optimize costs across each microservice and container for platforms like Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Container Service, Spot Fleet, Amazon ECS, Amazon EKS, and Google Kubernetes Engine.

13. BMC Helix Cloud Cost – Hybrid cloud cost management software

BMC

The BMC Helix Cloud Cost service provides private cloud, public cloud, and on-premises cost expense management in a single platform. You can access the service via the BMC Helix Portal, through a supported web browser. Using its predictive analytics, automated cost anomaly alerts, and optimization recommendations, the platform enables you to avoid surprise IT cost overruns.

You can also use it to detect and stop idle resources in Azure, rightsize resources to your computing needs, and automate optimization tasks.

14. Kubecost – Dedicated Azure Kubernetes service cost management

Kubecost

Kubecost optimizes Kubernetes costs across Azure, upstream, Kubernetes, GCP, AWS, Air Gapped, and on-premises. You can view Kubernetes costs by deployment, namespace, cluster, service, and more. A single API endpoint also provides a unified view of your costs across multiple clusters.

Kubecost also integrates details from external cloud and infrastructure metrics with Kubernetes cost data for deeper cost insight. You’ll also receive dynamic recommendations in order to prioritize critical infrastructure or application tweaks for cost savings. Moreover, a real-time notification system alerts you to potential issues so you can prevent cost overruns and infrastructure outages.

15. Looker – Google Cloud integration for Azure billing data

Looker

Looker is a Block for Azure billing provides visibility into the cost and usage of your Azure services. It then generates cost reports you can segment by product type, region, or user identity, helping you allocate Azure costs more accurately. Likewise, you can dig into any line item to view even more specifics, including your selected OS, tenancy, and purchase option (on-demand, reserved, or spot).

The Looker Block emphasizes the top three levers of cost-savings in Azure; expanding reserved instances coverage and consumption, reducing data transfer costs, and allocating costs over custom variables.

What Next: Understand, Control, And Optimize Azure Costs With CloudZero

Managing Azure cloud costs doesn’t have to be a guessing game. Unfortunately, it is often the case for many organizations that lack a granular understanding of what, who, and why their Microsoft Azure costs are changing.

In addition, traditional cost tools are not helpful here because you need a near-perfect tagging strategy to capture this level of cost intelligence. Not CloudZero.

With CloudZero, you can put your Azure, AWS, Kubernetes, and Snowflake spending into context. We help your engineering, infrastructure, and finance teams align around metrics, such as cost per feature, product, and customer.

The result? Better strategic decisions, improved unit economics, and more efficient spending. With clients like New Relic, Klaviyo, and Malwarebytes, you’ll be in good company. CloudZero helps companies of all sizes achieve Azure cloud cost maturity.

 and one of our Cloud Cost Analysts will get you up and running in no time.