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23 Jan 2024

Azure savings beyond the Microsoft Pricing Calculator

Navigating the complexities of cloud computing costs can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to Microsoft Azure. Understanding the nuances of Azure licensing is crucial for businesses in the UK looking to optimise their cloud expenditure. 

Using tools like the "Azure Pricing Calculator UK" can be a starting point, but there's more to consider. Here's a strategic guide to help you save money on Azure licensing.

1. Conduct an initial audit of your needs

The first step in reducing Azure costs is thoroughly auditing your existing infrastructure and requirements. 

This process, albeit complicated, is essential to identify the specific services and resources your organisation needs. An audit helps avoid over-provisioning and ensures you only pay for what you truly need.

2. Understanding Azure Savings Plan vs Reserved Instances

Azure offers two primary ways to save on long-term commitments: Azure Savings Plans and Reserved Instances. The Azure Savings Plan is more flexible, allowing for savings on compute usage across any Azure region and instance size. 

In contrast, Reserved Instances provide a more significant discount but require a commitment to a specific instance type and region for one or three years. Assessing your usage patterns is key to deciding which option suits your business.

More information on both is in our article “Azure Savings Plan vs Reserved Instances: Who wins?"

3. Utilise Azure Hybrid Benefit

The Azure Hybrid Benefit is cost-effective for organisations with existing Microsoft licenses. It allows you to use your on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server licenses on Azure, which can significantly reduce the costs of running these services in the cloud.

4. Opt for Azure Cost Management tools

Azure Cost Management tools provide insights into your spending and help identify areas where you can cut costs. These tools enable you to set budgets, monitor spending, and analyse trends, ensuring you stay within your financial limits.

5. Explore Azure Dev/Test Pricing

Azure offers special pricing for development and testing environments, separate from production workloads. This includes discounted rates on services like Windows Virtual Machines, Azure SQL Database, and more. Leveraging these discounts can lead to substantial savings.

6. Take advantage of Government and Non-Profit plans

Azure provides special pricing for government entities and non-profit organisations. These plans offer significant discounts, making Azure services more accessible and affordable for these sectors.

7. Utilise Azure Spot VMs

Azure Spot VMs offer unused Azure compute capacity at a lower price. While these are unsuitable for critical workloads due to their ephemeral nature, they can be a cost-effective solution for flexible, non-essential applications.

8. Regularly review and optimise Azure deployments

It's important to regularly review and optimise your Azure deployments. This involves reassessing your resource utilisation, removing unused or underused resources, and optimising instance sizes and services according to your current needs.

9. Seek expert consultation

Lastly, seeking expert consultation can be a wise investment, considering the complexity of Azure licensing and pricing models. Professionals specialising in Azure can provide tailored advice and strategies to maximise your cloud investments while minimising costs.

In conclusion, saving money on Azure licensing requires a strategic approach, starting with a thorough audit of your needs and continuing with regular reviews and optimisations. 

Utilising Azure's various savings plans, cost management tools, special pricing options, and expert advice can lead to significant cost reductions while ensuring your cloud infrastructure meets your business requirements.


Case Study: Solace Women's Aid Azure Savings


Case Study: Solace Women's Aid

For any charity, keeping tight control over costs is critical. OryxAlign and Solace are delighted that we could reduce Microsoft Azure licensing charges by 55%.

Lynda Hewlett, Business Support Manager at Solace Women’s Aid, added: “Because OryxAlign optimised our Azure Desktop environment, we saved 55% on monthly licensing costs. We now have a more modern work surface, modern collaboration, plus greater resilience and security.”

Read more about how we did it; Solace Women's Aid Case Study.

Graham Smith

By Graham Smith