Azure pricing confusion wasn’t the target of Winston Churchill’s speech when he said, “It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” But it could have been. Trying to answer, “What will Azure cost?” has caused confusion at companies for years. We developed this FAQ to help you understand how Azure pricing works, how to save money and get what you really need from Microsoft Azure. Use the expertise we’ve developed delivering cloud solutions to clients as a Microsoft Gold Partner to unwrap the mystery and solve the Azure pricing riddle.
1. Is Azure or AWS Better For My Business?
Before jumping into Azure pricing, let’s consider what the best cloud platform is for your business. Both Azure and AWS are powerful platforms, but only Azure delivers cost-effective solutions for businesses.
You’ll pay 5X more on AWS to get the functionality of Azure
Running your workloads on AWS leads to missed savings and wasted licensing. Here’s why.
- You don’t have to repurchase server licenses
To run your Windows Server on AWS you have to repurchase the license. Using Azure as your cloud solution keeps everything centrally managed and creates opportunities for you to spend less on IT.
- Your Microsoft 365 license includes Windows Virtual Desktop
Virtual desktops enable you to grant anytime, anywhere, any device access to the Microsoft systems and applications that power your business. There’s no additional license fee for most Microsoft 365 users. You’ll only pay for storage and virtual machines you use. Any reserved virtual machine instances you don’t use can be returned or exchanged.
- Azure users get free extended support for Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2
Running unsupported systems is a security threat. Sometimes, you don’t have another option. You may need to access a legacy application or were unable to migrate before the deadline. When you run these instances in Azure, you get three years of support past these dates:
July 9, 2019 for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 (until July 8, 2022)
January 14, 2020 for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 (until January 13, 2023)
2. How does Azure Pricing Work?
You select the Azure services best suited for your business and then are billed monthly for the resources you use. This consumption-based pricing structure is flexible and cuts back on wasted spending. It can quickly turn from a benefit to a drawback if you don’t have a plan.
Before you migrate to the cloud, set out your objectives
Are you looking to move your data center to the cloud? Do you need a data recovery and backup solution? Answering these questions before you move prevents billing surprises. Use our Azure Pricing Guide to identify which services you need and estimate costs.
3. Should I Buy Azure Through An Enterprise Agreement?
To qualify for an enterprise agreement, you need to have:
500+ users, and
Be willing to license Azure cloud services and software for at least three years
If you meet both terms, an enterprise agreement might be the best option for you. The built-in savings could reduce expenditure between 15 and 45% on your Azure services. You’ll also access a financing option where you can spread your payment out over 3 years instead of paying one, upfront cost.
For smaller organizations, or companies looking for a more flexible agreement, consider working with a Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP).
4. What Are the Benefits of Working With a Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP)?
The Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) program unlocks savings and brings support options to businesses looking to move to the cloud. Through your provider, you can get special offers from Microsoft. Unlike Enterprise Agreements, there are no long-term contracts. You’re billed monthly and can add or remove users as needed. CSP is ideal for any business looking for a scalable, cost-effective cloud solution.
5. Can I Save Money With Hybrid Use Rights and/or Reserved Instances?
Yes. You can significantly reduce costs this way. You save up to 40% with Hybrid Use rights alone. Coupled with reserved virtual machine instances, you can save up to 80%. When you move existing Windows or SQL server licenses to Azure, you save. You can further manage costs by pairing reserved instances with pay-as-you-go pricing. The great thing about Azure is that when you work with experts who understand the ins and outs of Microsoft, you gain a tremendous amount of cloud and functionality for a lower price.
6. How Can I Harness the Power of Azure Without Spending a Boatload?
Careful monitoring keeps your cloud spend in check. Understanding the services you pay for maximizes ROI. For instance, Azure has built-in cybersecurity features, like multifactor authentication. Since you already pay for the tools you don’t need to purchase the solution again from another vendor.
Before committing to the cloud, try Azure out
Microsoft offers Azure Everywhere funding to give businesses an opportunity to see Azure in action before migrating their entire operation to the cloud. We recommend using this benefit for an assessment, Architectural Design Session (ADS) or proof of concept (POC). In a session you can:
Demo Azure solutions
Get licensing and pricing information
Determine which services are right for your business
Roadmap next steps for your migration
Contact us to learn more about what you can do with Azure Everywhere, and how to access funding from Microsoft.
7. What Azure Cost Management Tools Are Available?
Map out potential costs before moving to the cloud using our Azure pricing calculator. After migrating, Azure Cost Management + Billing provides an easy avenue to monitor spend and make adjustments. It analyzes how your organization uses Azure and provides recommendations to lower costs and more effectively use resources.
8. How Do I Get What I Really Need From Azure?
Pricing is one of Azure’s many riddles. Fully solving one is time consuming and you have other priorities. To really get what you need from Azure, work with an outsourced IT provider like Nortec. When you do, Azure will be configured based on what you need. You’ll get strategic recommendations and don’t have to worry about monitoring or scaling. We’ll do it all for you. Partner with Nortec to access the extensive features of an enterprise cloud without the problems of AWS. Contact us to get started.