Your Guide to Reducing Azure Costs

May 6, 2020

Helli Patel and Hadia Tahir

Every company has a goal, a mission, something they truly want to accomplish, and it takes capital and resources to do so. We understand that you want to devote all your resources towards this mission, but they might be tied up with your daily operational needs. What you may not know is that a lot of these resources can be saved by understanding how they are allocated within your company and the best ways to optimize them to save you money. So, what’s holding you back?

Take That Step!

Microsoft Azure is proud to say that

“More than 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies trust their business on Azure today, and many of them take advantage of Azure hybrid capabilities to fuel innovation and deliver great business outcomes.”

However, an easier life does not come without its costs. With all the different services offered through Azure, it can be very easy to get carried away with your monthly spend. Before you know it, your Azure costs may become misaligned with your actual workload demand and you’ll be spending way more than you need to get the job done.

Don’t wait until you hit that point, take the step now to understand your company and where you can save!

How To Save On Azure

There are many ways to lower your monthly Azure spend. We have developed a simple guide made up of 4 categories to get you saving today.  

General Pricing and Optimization

  • The best way to save money is to make sure you’re doing so from the beginning.  
    Tip: Hire a Microsoft partner (like us!), when moving a big project to Azure to help optimize spend from the beginning  
  • Set a credit limit to avoid spending over your budget  
    Tip: Turn your notifications on when you reach 75% of your budget
  • Use a pricing calculator and cost alerts to keep within budget. Azure pricing calculator can be found here
  • Pre-pay to get a discount of about 2.5%-5% based on 6 or 12 months of prepayment  
  • If you operate a non-profit organization, you might be eligible for additional savings.  Talk to RedBit for more information.
  • Set up proper monitoring so that you can review and monitor your Azure resources and associated costs on a regular basis.
  • Sign into an Enterprise Agreement for maximum Azure discounts up to 20-30%. This requires selecting annual monetary commitments that lock in a discount rate.
  • Price match: Microsoft Azure allows you to price match for comparable services and promises to deliver the lowest price  
  • Upgrade to the latest generation. It’ll perform better for the same value  
  • Azure Advisor: helps optimize Azure resources for high availability, security, performance, and cost by providing personalized recommendations based on your usage and configurations. It also shows you savings with taking the resizing approach and the approach of shutting down the whole virtual machine (VM)
    Tip: Delete Azure data factory pipelines that are failing by getting Azure Advisor to detect them
  • Set a credit limit to avoid spending over your budget  
    Ex. A2 virtual machine (VM) in the West US is $133.92, but $126.48 in West US 2
  • For VMs that you use seldomly, consider using Automation to automatically shut down your VM based on specific criteria such as working hours and weekends.
  • Price match: Microsoft Azure allows you to price match for comparable services and promises to deliver the lowest price

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

  • Remove unused assets that were attached to VM’s and are no longer needed, but still charged for  
  • Reserve instances. Azure lets you reserve instances and receive significant discounts. There are three reservation options:
  1. 1-year reserved instance—requires paying for one year upfront, grants a 40-45% discount for most virtual machines
  2. 3-year reserved instance—requires paying for three years upfront, grants a 60-65% discount for most virtual machines
  3. Spot pricing—allows you to bid for available capacity on the Azure marketplace and receive instances with 80-90% discounts, however instances can be interrupted with no prior notice, so they are only suitable for certain types of workload
  • Use B-Series virtual machines that are designed for applications that are idle and then have bursts of usage. B-Series VMs grant discounts between 15-55% compared to the equivalent VMs
  • Shift workload to containers as they are more lightweight and provide lower costs  

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

  • Reserve instances – Same as IaaS but apply here as well
  • Shift workloads to serverless
  • Azure is ideal for burst workloads.
  • Pay only for the resources you use and avoid the costs of renting or reserving VMs


  • Remove the disk storage after terminating VM because it is still being charged for without being used  
  • Update storage tier to make sure used documents are in a more accessible tier while infrequently used documents are moved to a cheaper option  
  • If your only requirement is to store or archive files, you can save money by provisioning Azure Storage without purchasing a VM.

Bring your own license

  • Another way for organizations to save money is by using License Mobility through Software Assurance on Azure

Don’t be overwhelmed!

This may seem like a lot. You may be thinking there’s just too much to do to start saving, where do I even begin? Well, we’re here to help.  

We’ll start with our Cloud Discovery within which we’ll perform a cloud assessment of your current technology infrastructure. Our Discovery will provide you with the means to make informed decisions and drive cloud optimization within your company. We will spend time understanding your business and current system to give the best recommendations that work for you. We will help examine viability, feasibility, and desirability of Azure services and how to get the most bang for your buck and re-invest the savings in growing your business, hiring employees, or even dwelling deeper into the amazing technology that is on Azure such as AI and Machine Learning.  

Keep in mind that everything doesn’t have to happen overnight. It is very difficult to implement all these solutions in one go and start saving money instantly. Depending on your scenario, plan on 1 to 4 months before you start benefiting.

Here at RedBit, we can guide you through how to make the most of Azure services while keeping your costs low. Reducing costs will help you focus on things that require more of your attention and resources, such as your mission!

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