Azure’s pay-as-you-go model means you won’t spend money on resources you don’t need. But if Azure isn’t properly managed, costs can wildly fluctuate or spiral out of control, playing havoc with your budget. It’s deeply frustrating for anyone trying to estimate monthly Azure pricing for their company. Even after moving to the cloud, businesses wonder if they’re paying too much for their services.
You should have control over your cloud budget and be able to estimate your monthly spend. The first step is to isolate the cloud services you currently use or plan to after migrating.
Benefits and Pricing Considerations for 5 Key Azure Services
Start by thinking about what you want to achieve and how Azure can get you there. Once you know which solutions are right for your company, you can start to calculate the costs. Here are 5 key services and what you need to know about pricing for each.
1. Virtual Desktops
Employees increasingly expect the ability to work anywhere at any time. Virtual desktops give you the full experience of a workstation across your devices. Virtual Windows 10 enterprise desktop is part of certain Windows 10 and Microsoft 365 license agreements, like E3 and E5. The service is built in, but there are other potential costs related to storage, user profiles and networking requirements.
2. Data Center
Moving your data center to the cloud eliminates your responsibility for on-premise systems and alleviates security concerns. Microsoft invests more than $1 billion in cybersecurity every year. Stringent measures are met for physical security as well, like only allowing need-to-access building admission. Your applications and information will be backed by Microsoft’s Azure SLA which guarantees 99.9% availability.
The cost for the service is directly related to how many users you have, the number of applications you’re using and the volume of information. When any of those factors increase, so do your costs.
3. Data Recovery and Backup
One copy of your data isn’t enough, and the cloud is your most resilient data recovery and backup option. Recognized by Gartner in its 2019 Magic Quadrant for Disaster Recovery as a Service, Azure Site Recovery keeps businesses running, even during major IT outages. Use it to replicate workloads, failover and fully recover during a worst-case event. Azure backup makes data recovery easy. With one click you can turn on a solution that protects against accidental deletion and malware. Both services are fully encrypted, can be managed from the Azure portal and remove the burden of caring for physical infrastructure.
There is one similarity to physical backup and disaster recovery solutions: you need to set your recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO). The targets are managed in Azure. Costs will increase as you back up more data.
The sophisticated safeguards and AI-powered security features built into Azure are a powerful antidote to today’s professional cybercriminals. Here’s a taste of what you can do:
- Comprehensively manage and protect identities with Azure Active Directory
- Improve your secure score using recommendations found in your Security Center dashboards and reports
- Securely connect on-premise infrastructure to cloud services with VPN gateways
- Enhance protection and get advanced analytics in Azure Sentinel
Multiple costs go into “Azure security”
To get the total price, you’ll need to add up the costs for all the services you want – and they all rely on different pay-as-you-go structures. For instance, key vault pricing is based on the number of transactions, while Sentinel depends on capacity per day. To accurately estimate your monthly bill, work with a partner who has expertise in Azure security. IT generalists won’t have the depth of knowledge you want as you determine the security features you need and then match your requirements with specific Azure services.
5. High Performance Computing (HPC)
You have full control over how you run your HPC workloads in Azure. You can choose to fully migrate or create a hybrid solution for your HPC workflows. When you move, you won’t need to re-architect applications for the cloud. Tools in Azure make it easy to clone clusters, manage workflows and seamlessly integrate your current environment in the cloud.
The type of environment you create (100% cloud or hybrid) will factor into how much you pay for HPC. As you create your estimate, answer the following questions:
- How will you design your HPC architecture in Azure?
- Which computing option will you use?
- How much storage do you need?
- How will you manage resources?
- What security measures are necessary?
3 Tips for Estimating Your Costs in Azure
1. Use an online calculator
Tools like our Azure Pricing Calculator are a good starting point and help you visualize how altering consumption patterns changes what you’ll pay each month. The tools require you have a good understanding of which services you want to use and how many users need the service.
2. Talk to a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner to get an accurate estimate and optimize spending
To really dig deep and understand the true impact on your budget, get Azure support from a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner who will plan, design, implement, test and manage your services. You don’t have to commit to Azure when your partner gives you an estimate. Your provider should offer you a quote first, giving you a chance to accept or reject the proposal. After migrating, an expert will find ways for you to optimize costs too. They’ll be able to review your monthly usage statistics and highlight ways you can save money.
At Nortec, we offer a consultative, white-glove service for clients moving to the cloud. We take the time to understand your needs before the migration starts. Because we have expertise with Microsoft solutions, we can save you money by making expert recommendations.
3. Don’t use AWS costs as a benchmark
Like Azure, AWS is a popular public cloud platform. Both offer similar capabilities around storage, computing and networking. But you can’t make one-to-one comparisons between the two. If you only look at Azure vs. AWS pricing, you’ll miss other key benefits like flexibility. It’s easy to set up a hybrid environment in Azure and work seamlessly with your on-premise and cloud infrastructures.
You should also think about your current technology stack. If you currently use Windows or SQL servers, you can take advantage of Microsoft’s Software Assurance and get a rate reduction. Azure also offers ongoing support for systems that have reached end of support, like Windows 7, when you move the workload to the cloud.
Let Us Make an Estimate For You
Azure is multifaceted and you need to drill down into exactly how you’ll use it if you want an accurate cost estimate. We can help.
Contact us to set up a free whiteboarding session. We’ll turn your Azure needs into a plan, share your projected total investment and help you get the biggest impact from Azure.