Azure Cost Management + Billing updates – June 2020

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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:

More flexibility for budget notifications.
Subscribe to active cost recommendations with Advisor digests.
Automate subscription creation in Azure Government.
Subscription ownership transfer improvements.
New ways to save money with Azure.
New videos and learning opportunities.
Documentation updates.

Let’s dig into the details.


More flexibility for budget notifications

You already know Azure Cost Management budgets keep you informed as your costs increase over time. We’re introducing two changes to make it easier than ever to tune your budgets to suit your specific needs.

You can now specify a custom start month for your budget, allowing you to create a budget that starts in the future. This will allow you to plan ahead and pre-configure budgets to account for seasonal changes in usage patterns or simply preparing for the upcoming fiscal year, just to name a couple examples.

You can also add alert thresholds above 100 percent for even greater awareness about how far over budget you are. Not only can you send a separate email to a broader audience when you’ve hit, let’s say 110 percent of your budget, you can also trigger more critical actions to be performed if costs continue to rise above 100 percent. This can be especially useful for organizations tracking internal margins.

We hope these changes help you plan ahead and take action on overages better. How will you use start dates and alert thresholds to better monitor and optimize costs?


Subscribe to active cost recommendations with Advisor digests

Running a truly optimized environment requires diligence. As your environment grows and usage patterns change, it’s critical to stay on top of new opportunities to optimize costs. This is where Azure Advisor recommendation digests come in.

Recommendation digests provide an easy and proactive way to stay on top of your active recommendations. You can receive periodic notifications via email, SMS, or other channel by using action groups. Each digest notification includes a summary of your active recommendations and complements Advisor alerts to give you a more complete picture of your cost optimization opportunities.

Advisor alerts notify you about new recommendations as they become available, while recommendation digests summarize all available recommendations that you haven’t yet acted on. Together, Advisor recommendation digests and alerts help you stay current with Azure best practices.

Learn more about Advisor recommendation digests.


Automate subscription creation in Azure Government

Managing subscriptions efficiently at scale requires automation. Now, organizations with Azure Government accounts can automate the creation of subscriptions with the Microsoft.Subscription/createSubscription API. This expands on previous subscription management capabilities and brings API parity between Azure Global and Azure Government. What would you like to see next?


Subscription ownership transfer improvements

Whether you’re restructuring your environment or simply expanding your scope, you may run into situations where you need to transfer ownership of your Azure subscriptions to another person or organization. And now, you can do that directly from within the Azure portal for even more subscription types. In addition to existing support for Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) subscriptions, you can now transfer any of the following subscription types to a new owner from the Azure portal:

Microsoft Customer Agreement.
Visual Studio Enterprise.
Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).
Microsoft Azure Sponsorship.

The portal will also clarify and explain why certain subscriptions cannot be transferred and surface any potential issues and reservation warnings, helping you transfer with ease, avoiding any unintended consequences.

Learn more about subscription ownership transfers and let us know how we can improve your ownership transfer experience.


New ways to save money with Azure

We’re always looking for ways to help you optimize costs. Here’s what’s new this month:

Save up to 70 percent on spiky and unpredictable workloads with Cosmos DB autoscale.
Save up to 61 percent on Azure Spring Cloud with the new Basic tier.
Azure Dedicated Hosts supports additional virtual machine sizes offering more opportunities to save.
Azure SQL database serverless auto-scaling limits increased from 16 to 40 vCores.
Azure DevTest Labs environments are now available in Azure Government.
Azure DevTest Labs is now available in Switzerland regions.


New videos and learning opportunities

For those visual learners out there, here’s one new video you might be interested in:

Evaluate and optimize your costs using the Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework (29 minutes).

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 couple documentation updates you might be interested in:

Moved group and filter options into its own document (with a video).
Updated the analyze and manage costs section of the Cost Management best practices.
Added note about using the Monitoring Reader role to analyze resource usage for RBAC scopes.
Clarified what subscriptions are supported by Cost Management within management groups.
Documented Invoices API support for Enterprise Agreement billing accounts.
Documented more Azure Advisor cost optimization recommendations.

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!

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