Author

Ankur Mandal

March 11, 2024

Azure Cost Optimization

Best Practices

Author

Ankur Mandal

5 min read
March 11, 2024

To harness the full potential of your Azure service and improve its efficiency, implementing robust Azure cost optimization best practices is key.

Azure cost optimization involves aligning resources with business goals, reducing waste, enhancing performance, and maintaining financial accountability. The most effective practices encompass all facets of cloud services, spanning from compute to storage resources. This blog delves into comprehensive Azure cost optimization best practices aimed at enabling cost-effective scalability.

Azure cost optimization involves the strategic management of expenses associated with Microsoft Azure cloud services. Its core aim is to maximize value from Azure investments while minimizing unnecessary or inefficient spending. This process employs various strategies, best practices, and tools to streamline resource usage, boost efficiency, and align cloud expenses with the business's specific needs.

Importance Of Cost Optimization In Azure

Azure, favored by light to moderate cloud users, necessitates rigorous cost optimization due to escalating reliance on cloud computing. Microsoft's Azure offers versatile, scalable services, yet unchecked costs can rapidly balloon. Implementing efficient cost optimization assures paying solely for necessary resources, amplifying return on investment. It involves identifying dormant resources, integrating auto-scaling functionalities, and selecting apt pricing models.

Before delving into Azure's cost optimization strategies, it's vital to grasp why Azure often incurs high expenses. Key contributors to these elevated bills encompass:

  • Resource provisioning and usage: Azure's cost structure hinges on resource provisioning and usage, aligning expenses with the deployed and utilized resources. Virtual machines, storage, databases, and related services incur costs based on their specifications and usage patterns.
  • Data transfer and bandwidth: Data transfer and bandwidth also impact costs, accruing charges for data movement within Azure, across regions, and between services. Bandwidth consumption, particularly in data-intensive applications, significantly influences expenses.
  • Storage costs: Storage in Azure, spanning blob storage, disk storage, and similar services, bears costs influenced by redundancy options, data access patterns, and the volume of stored data.
  • Lack of optimization: Moreover, suboptimal resource utilization, whether over-provisioning or underutilization, leads to unnecessary expenses. Continuous resource usage monitoring and optimization are vital to align costs with actual needs.

Optimizing compute resources takes precedence over storage in Azure cost management due to their direct impact on application performance and user experience. Despite its critical role, storage is seen as more passive and often receives less attention. However, overlooking storage optimization can lead to substantial financial implications for organizations.

In our study exploring cloud computing expenditure factors, we delved into the insights from Virtana's "State of the Hybrid Cloud Storage" report. Based on interviews with 350 cloud decision-makers, this comprehensive study revealed compelling findings.

A staggering 94% of respondents acknowledged increased storage costs, with 54% confirming their storage expenses rising faster than their overall cloud bills. These statistics underscore the significant financial impact of storage costs on organizations.

The insights gleaned from our in-depth storage audits conducted across major organizations were revealing. Storage costs were found to comprise a substantial 40% of their total cloud expenditure. Upon performing a thorough autonomous analysis, we uncovered a striking 35% disk utilization rate, indicating an overprovisioning of 65% in disk space. Surprisingly, despite this surplus allocation, these organizations faced at least one incident of downtime every quarter, underscoring the challenge of aligning storage resources effectively with operational requirements.

When we investigated further, we found out that:

  • Overestimating data growth: Organizations frequently encounter a situation where they overestimate the growth of their data, which prompts them to allocate more resources, like EC2 instances and storage, than required. This tendency escalates infrastructure expenses and leads to underutilized or idle resources, contradicting the critical principles of cost efficiency and optimization. Moreover, overestimating growth can elevate the demand for data transfer between Azure services or regions, resulting in avoidable expenditures.
  • Overprovisioned disk: Organizations often resort to doubling the disk resources to handle peak loads efficiently. However, overprovisioning forces the teams to allocate time and effort to monitoring and managing unused resources. Consequently, this unnecessary capacity incurs higher infrastructure costs.

Our audit also revealed that this overprovision led to: 

  • Idle volume: Idle volumes are storage resources that have been provisioned but remain unused or unaccessed. These volumes result from overprovisioning, which involves organizations assigning a greater storage capacity than necessary for their operational demands.
  • Underutilized volumes: An underutilized volume refers to storage resources that have been provisioned but are not effectively utilized. This results in a significant disparity between stored data and allocated capacity. This discrepancy commonly arises from overprovisioning, a practice where organizations allocate more storage capacity than necessary for their operational needs.  

Overprovisioning entails allocating excessive storage capacity that surpasses the current requirements. Consequently, this surplus becomes part of the provisioned volume, leading to underutilization when the actual demand for data storage is lower than the allocated amount.

There are three significant reasons why organizations overprovision storage resources:

  • In cloud environments, achieving storage optimization requires a specialized tool due to the limited range of features that Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) offer. Consequently, DevOps teams must be more actively engaged, allocating adequate time for optimization endeavors. 
  • Conversely, depending solely on CSP-provided tools can result in laborious, impractical procedures for daily operations and routine tasks.
  • Organizations frequently adopt the strategy of "over-provisioning" storage to safeguard application availability and prevent disruptions that can heavily impact daily business operations. 

However, this approach presents certain difficulties. Overprovisioning entails allocating excess resources beyond actual necessity, thus causing inflated expenses due to unused or underutilized capacity.

  • Manual buffer estimation: To avoid operational interruptions, organizations employ a manual method of estimating buffers, which involves adding 50% extra capacity or resources beyond what is initially needed. However, this manual approach necessitates the use of numerous tools. It requires significant DevOps efforts, increasing latency during disk upgrades and downtime of 4 hours when reducing storage by 1 TB and 3 hours during disk upgrades. Additionally, organizations may hesitate to scale down resources due to concerns about potential performance problems or disruptions, resulting in a substantial waiting period between subsequent scaling activities.

This is where implementing Azure cost optimization best practices will help. Azure cost optimization goes above and beyond mere expense reduction. It empowers organizations to enhance their operational efficiency, strategically allocate resources, and adeptly maneuver through cloud computing landscape while exercising financial prudence. 

The following are the reasons that make Azure cost optimization important:

  • Cost Savings: One of the primary advantages is achieving cost savings. Optimization of Azure costs aids in the identification and elimination of unnecessary expenses, guaranteeing that organizations solely pay for the resources they genuinely require.
  • Maximized ROI: Organizations can maximize their return on investment (ROI) in Azure by eradicating inefficient expenditures and optimizing resource usage. This implies extracting the utmost value from the subscribed cloud services.
  • Continuous Improvement: Azure cost optimization is an ongoing procedure. Regular evaluations, monitoring, and adjustments foster a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring that cost-saving measures adapt to evolving business needs.

Hence, organizations must prioritize Azure cost optimization to reduce unnecessary expenses and efficiently allocate their cloud investments. This guarantees alignment with business goals, fostering improved performance and agility.

7 Azure Cost Optimization Best Practices

Now that we have discussed the basics of Azure cost structure and the significance of implementing Azure cost optimization best practices. Let us talk about the strategies that can help efficiently optimize cloud cost.

Choose The Correct Pricing Model

While the basic Azure pricing model can be pricey, there are several other cost-effective options that you should consider.

Azure Reservations: Azure Reservations allow users to reserve Azure resources for either a one- or three-year period, providing a considerable discount compared to regular pay-as-you-go rates. This reservation model is particularly suitable for workloads with predictable and consistent characteristics, ensuring uninterrupted operation throughout the reservation term.

Although a higher initial investment is required with Azure Reservations, the potential savings can be significant, reaching up to 72% compared to pay-as-you-go pricing. Moreover, these reservations offer price predictability, giving users the confidence that costs will remain fixed throughout the entire reservation term.

Azure Spot Virtual Machines: Azure Spot Virtual Machines utilize an auction style pricing model, allowing users to bid on Azure's unused capacity. Although these Spot VMs offer significant discounts, as opposed to pay-as-you-go rates, it is essential to note that Azure reserves the right to reclaim them if the capacity is needed for other customers.

Spot VMs are particularly suitable for workloads that can withstand interruptions and occasional periods of downtime.

Azure Hybrid Benefit: The Azure Hybrid Benefit is a licensing strategy that allows you to maximize your existing on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server licenses alongside Azure. By leveraging your current licenses, you can save up to 40% on Azure Virtual Machines and up to 55% on Azure SQL Database.

You must possess Software Assurance or qualifying subscription licenses to take advantage of the Azure Hybrid benefit. This approach is especially beneficial for organizations that have invested significantly in Microsoft software. It enables them to extend and optimize their investments in the cloud effortlessly.

Analysing and Monitoring Azure Usage

Before we begin with analysis, we must the cost breakdown of Azure. There are several contributory factors to the Azure bill, such as compute costs, storage costs, data transfer costs, networking costs, and security costs. 

The compute costs include the costs of Virtual Machines, Reserved Instances, App Service Plans, and Azure Functions. On the other hand, the storage costs include the cost of Blob Storage, Managed Disk, File Storage, Table, and Queue Storage.

Analysis

Azure offers a built-in solution specifically designed to analyze cloud expenses effectively. This native tool provides a comprehensive view of resource consumption, expenditures, and opportunities for optimization. 

Azure Cost Management and Billing

Azure's native tool, Cost Management and Billing, serves as a centralized hub for comprehensive cost analysis within the Azure environment. It offers a holistic view of resource consumption, allowing users to track spending, set budgets, and establish alerts. Moreover, it facilitates detailed cost analysis to understand the impact of different resources on overall expenses.

Monitoring Tools & Techniques

Once the cost analysis is completed, implementing monitoring tools becomes crucial to gain insights into various factors affecting expenses. Utilizing tags is an effective method to monitor active resources and identify workloads for deactivation, contributing to enhanced cost optimization.

Tag Azure Resources

Utilize the functionality to compile and explore tags whenever necessary, presenting an effective method to monitor active resources and identify workloads that can be deactivated for enhanced cost optimization.

Tagging Azure storage resources can prove instrumental in bringing down the Azure cost. Follow the steps mentioned below to tag Azure storage resources.

  • Sign in: Sign in to the Azure portal. Go to the left navigation pane and click on "All services." From the drop-down menu, select "Storage accounts."
  • Access storage account: Choose the desired storage account from the list.
  • Access tag section: In the left-hand menu of the storage account, find and click "Tags."
  • Add tag: Click "Add Tag" to create a new key-value pair. Enter a key (e.g., "Environment") and its corresponding value (e.g., "Production").
  • Save tag: Click "Save" to apply the tag.
  • Verify tag: You can view and manage tags in the "Tags" section once added.

Adopting the centralized tagging policy is crucial for efficient resource identification and management. Without this structured tagging approach, distinguishing and acting upon specific resource categories would be significantly more complex and susceptible to oversight. Consequently, tags are vital in organizing resources and enhancing cost optimization in Azure by facilitating informed decision-making.

Azure Monitor

Azure Monitor is a comprehensive solution for gathering and assessing telemetry data from Azure resources. Although its main purpose is to monitor, it encompasses functionalities such as Log Analytics that enable users to inquire and analyze cost-related logs. This aids in obtaining valuable insights regarding resource consumption and the associated expenses.

While you can use Azure Monitor to gain insights into resource consumption, its complex configuration and steep learning curve make it difficult for teams to navigate it. We have an alternative to this- Lucidity Storage Audit.

Lucidity Storage Audit

The Lucidity Storage Audit is a comprehensive and easy-to-use tool that simplifies monitoring and provides complete storage visibility with a single click. By automating the process, our Storage Audit has the potential to revolutionize your cloud management experience. It empowers you to analyze spending patterns, identify areas of resource inefficiency, and reduce the risk of potential downtime.

The Lucidity Storage Audit offers valuable insights in three key areas:

  • Overall Disk Spending: Gain a deep understanding of your disk spending with precision. Our audit provides detailed figures on your current expenditures, presents an optimized billing model, and offers actionable strategies to reduce disk spending by a considerable 70% potentially.
  • Disk Wastage: Effortlessly identify and address the underlying causes of disk wastage. Whether it's due to idle volumes or overprovisioning, our audit tool not only highlights wasteful practices but also provides effective solutions.
  • Performance Bottlenecks: Pinpoint the performance bottlenecks in your storage system effortlessly. Our audit tool helps you identify areas where you can optimize performance, enhancing efficiency and productivity.

How did we help Royal Sundaram find wastage in Azure Disks?

Royal Sundaram, a leading general insurance company, has leveraged the Azure cloud service. They were struggling with high cloud storage costs. However, due to the lack of visibility, they could not optimize their cloud costs.

They understood that the biggest hurdle to cloud cost optimization is their inability to identify the storage metrics. They knew that finding the utilization metrics manually would be a time-consuming task, and using monitoring tools meant investing money, which they were opposed to. This is when they reached out to Lucidity.

With just a click of a button, we onboarded our agentless audit within 25 minutes and discovered that.

  • There was 71% of the overall cloud storage wastage.
  • 90% of the wastage was due to overprovisioned resources, which led to 12% disk utilization.
  • 7% of the resources were idle or unused, either because they were not attached to a VM or they were attached to a stopped VM. 

Using Lucidity Audit's capabilities, Royal Sundaram was able to gain detailed visibility into their Azure disks. By conducting a thorough analysis, they identified three resources being overutilized and on the verge of potential extreme downtime risks. Responding promptly, Royal Sundaram resolved these issues, preventing any last-minute calls for Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) and ensuring uninterrupted availability.

The Lucidity Storage Audit sets itself apart from traditional approaches like manual discovery or the utilization of monitoring tools with its streamlined and effective solution. Instead of requiring considerable time, finances, and effort, Lucidity Storage Audit presents a ready-to-use executable tool that seamlessly automates the monitoring process.

Concerns regarding potential performance decline are common when implementing monitoring tools. However, with Lucidity Storage Audit, such concerns are alleviated. The tool is designed to conduct thorough monitoring without compromising the application's performance or impacting the cloud environment and resources. Lucidity Storage Audit guarantees that your system remains efficient and responsive throughout the monitoring process, enabling you to gain valuable insights without negatively impacting performance.

Use Cloud Cost Management Tools

Implementing cloud cost management strategies enables you to strategically reduce expenses on your cloud investments while increasing the return on investment (ROI). To optimize your cloud services, it is crucial to leverage appropriate cloud cost management tools, hold costs accountable, and promptly implement judicious actions to streamline and enhance overall efficiency. You can use any of the following azure cost management tools depending on your use case.

Azure Cost Calculator

The Azure Pricing Calculator can estimate hourly and monthly costs when using Azure services. This tool allows you to effortlessly combine different products within the Azure portfolio, providing a dynamic perspective on cost variations. It enables you to make well-informed decisions aligning with your requirements and budget limitations.

In contrast, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculator generates a thorough report illustrating the expenses associated with owning and operating a data center in Azure. This report considers existing server workloads, databases, storage, and networking data. The ability to fine-tune assumptions facilitates a detailed and accurate total cost calculation, thereby supporting strategic decision-making.

Follow the steps mentioned below to use Azure Cost Calculator.

  • Sign in: Visit the Azure Pricing Calculator on the Azure website by following this link: Azure Pricing Calculator. If you already have an Azure account, sign in to access your personalized pricing details.
  • Azure region: When choosing the Azure region where your resources are or will be deployed, it is crucial to consider that pricing may vary by region.
  • Select the product and service: You can browse and select the Azure products and services you plan to utilize. Feel free to search for specific services or explore categories to find what best fits your needs.
  • Personalize: Customize the quantities and settings for each selected product or service according to your requirements. For instance, you can adjust the number of virtual machines, storage capacity, or other parameters.
  • Review the estimates: The calculator will provide real-time cost estimates as you adjust. It is recommended to meticulously review the forecast for hourly and any other relevant timeframes.

Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate is an all-encompassing solution, seamlessly leading you through each stage of your cloud migration. It supports you from preliminary assessments to the smooth transfer and operational supervision of resources in the Azure platform. This powerful tool carefully examines on-premises virtual machines (VMs) and software, assesses their suitability for migration and provides a comprehensive cost estimate for the suggested Azure solution. 

With Azure Migrate, you can proceed confidently, ensuring an informed and streamlined migration experience. Use Azure Migrate in the following way to optimize Azure cost.

  • Utilize Azure Migrate to evaluate your on-premises virtual machines (VMs) and workloads. This evaluation will offer valuable insights into the utilization of resources, performance metrics, and dependencies.
  • By analyzing actual resource usage, Azure Migrate enables you to identify opportunities for efficiently sizing VMs in Azure. This process allows you to optimize costs by aligning resources with workload demands.

Azure Advisor

Azure Advisor is a free tool designed to simplify optimizing cloud operations. It provides valuable suggestions to improve Azure deployments and workloads. One of the key features of Azure Advisor is its cloud score, also referred to as the Advisor score, which offers insights into the overall architectural effectiveness of your workloads. 

This tool goes beyond mere evaluation by offering best practices to enhance performance, reinforce reliability, strengthen security, and reduce costs. The recommendations cover various actions such as resizing, right-sizing, or eliminating specific resources. Additionally, Azure Advisor recommends the acquisition of reserved instances for long-term cost savings when appropriate.

To optimize your Azure resources, increase efficiency, and make cost-effective decisions, it is recommended to follow the steps below and consistently integrate Azure Advisor recommendations into your cost management strategy.

  • Sign in: Sign in to the Azure portal at https://portal.azure.com/. In the left navigation pane, locate and click on "Advisor" under the "Monitoring + Management" section.
  • Go to the dashboard: Go to the "Cost" tab in the Azure Advisor dashboard. You will find cost-related recommendations here.
  • Review recommendations: When reviewing recommendations from Azure Advisor, remember that they are based on best practices and optimizations for your Azure resources. These recommendations may cover various aspects, such as virtual machines, storage, and other services that impact costs.
  • Implement measures: To implement cost-saving measures, follow the actions suggested by Azure Advisor. These actions may include resizing virtual machines, using reserved instances, or adjusting other configurations.

Regarding optimizing costs, Azure Advisor and Azure Cost Management go hand in hand. You can adopt a comprehensive approach toward achieving maximum savings by leveraging these tools. Azure Cost Management offers an in-depth analysis of your expenditure, while Advisor provides detailed and actionable suggestions for improvement.

Azure Cost Management 

Azure Cost Management allows you to thoroughly examine and manage expenses linked to your Azure usage. It simplifies the process of obtaining billing statements and setting up budgets. You can maximize cost visibility and improve responsibility by organizing resources using an organizational hierarchy and strategic grouping. Additionally, this tool enables detailed cost analysis for well-informed and cost-effective decision-making. Follow the steps below to use Azure Cost Management for cost optimization.

  • Sign in: Sign in to the Azure portal (click here). In the left navigation pane, locate and click "Cost Management + Billing."
  • Go to Cost Management: In the Cost Management + Billing section, click "Cost Management" to access the main dashboard.
  • Review the Overview Dashboard: The Overview dashboard provides an initial snapshot of your spending. Gain insights into your current spending patterns by reviewing key metrics, cost trends, and budget status.
  • Analyze Cost by Service: Identify Azure services that contribute the most to your overall spending by exploring the "Cost by Service" section. This feature helps you pinpoint areas where optimization may be required.
  • Utilize Cost Analysis: Perform an in-depth spending analysis in the "Cost analysis" section. Customize the view by selecting specific time ranges, filters, and groupings to identify cost trends and patterns.
  • Budgets: To establish spending limits for specific resources, departments, or subscriptions, click on the "Budgets" option. Setting budgets allows you to proactively manage costs and receive alerts whenever spending nears or surpasses defined thresholds.
  • Explore Recommendations:  Under the "Recommendations" section, Azure Cost Management offers personalized cost-saving recommendations. These suggestions involve resizing virtual machines, using reserved instances, or adjusting other configurations to optimize costs.
  • Optimize Virtual Machines:  Utilize the "Virtual machines" section to identify virtual machines that are either underutilized or overprovisioned. Consider resizing them or using Azure Hybrid Benefit to optimize costs effectively.
  • Review Reservation Summaries: For those who have purchased reserved instances, explore the "Reservation summaries" section to ensure efficient utilization. This section also presents opportunities for additional savings that can be capitalized on.

Cost Management Tools & Techniques To Optimize Storage Costs

The tools mentioned above focus on compute resources for a significant portion of their functionality. We have also listed specific cloud cost management tools and techniques below that will help you optimize storage costs.

  • Azure Cost Management and Billing Insights: Regularly examine the insights provided by Azure Cost Management and Billing, focusing on storage-related information. Analyze usage patterns, detect anomalies, and make necessary adjustments to storage configurations.
  • Optimize Data Transfer: Minimize expenses associated with data transfer by ensuring that your storage account and other Azure resources are situated in the same region. Additionally, leverage Azure Content Delivery Network (CDN) to deliver content and reduce latency efficiently.
  • Utilize Azure Cost Management APIs: Integrate Azure Cost Management APIs into your workflows or third-party tools to programmatically handle and enhance storage cost management.

Serverless Computing

Leveraging Azure Functions for serverless computing is a highly efficient, cost-saving method. With serverless architecture, software functions run in response to specific events, operating only when needed. A significant advantage lies in the payment model—charges are incurred solely during function execution.

This approach is ideal for compute-intensive workloads that have sporadic execution patterns. By adopting serverless computing, businesses optimize resource usage, gaining a cost-effective solution for workloads with fluctuating and irregular computational needs.

Right Size Resources

Rightsizing resources in Azure is the process of optimizing the deployment of cloud resources on the Microsoft Azure platform to align with the specific requirements of your applications and workloads. This entails fine-tuning the size and setup of virtual machines, storage, and other Azure services to enhance performance, cost-effectiveness, and overall resource utilization.

Right Sizing Virtual Machines

Azure provides various virtual machines (VMs) with different hardware specifications and performance capabilities. To optimize your workload, try out different types of VMs and identify the one that offers the best throughput and performance at the lowest cost. Once you find the optimal VM, streamline your operations by utilizing auto-scaling mechanisms to dynamically adjust the number of VMs based on the actual workloads.

To achieve cost efficiency, it is crucial to maximize the utilization of each VM, aiming for 100% utilization. Monitor the performance metrics using Azure Monitor to track and fine-tune your infrastructure closely. Implement auto-scaling or other adaptive methods to easily add or remove VM instances as utilization fluctuates, ensuring efficient resource utilization. This strategy enhances performance and aligns your costs with the specific computational needs of your workloads.

Auto Scaling Virtual Machines And Storage Resources

Auto-scaling is the act of dynamically modifying computing resources as per fluctuations in workload demand. This automated procedure empowers organizations to adjust resource allocation, ensuring superior performance and efficient resource utilization, all guided by preset rules.

Auto-scaling guarantees that you have the appropriate resources to manage fluctuating workloads. In periods of low demand, resources are automatically reduced to minimize expenses. On the other hand, during peak periods, auto-scaling facilitates allocating extra resources to uphold optimal performance.

However, it is essential to note that Azure Auto scaling is only available for Azure App Service and virtual machine sets. To auto-scale with Virtual Machine Scale Sets, check out the steps here.

What about storage resources, the other significant contributor to the overall cloud cost?

While Azure allows expansion of the storage resources, there is no direct process for shrinkage of the resources. To shrink the storage resources, you can follow the steps mentioned below.

To add a new data disk, follow these steps:

  • Navigate to the Azure portal and search for "Virtual machines." From the search results, select the desired VM.
  • In the VM navigation pane, click on "Settings," then go to "Disks."
  • Under the "Data disks" section, select "Create and attach a new disk."
  • Provide the required information for the new data disk, including LUN, Disk name, Storage type, Size (GB), Max IOPS, Max throughput (MBps), Encryption, and Host caching.
  • Save the changes by clicking "Save" on the VM disks page. This will create and attach the new disk.

To move data to the new disk, follow these steps:

  • Transfer the data from the old, larger disk to the new, smaller one. The time taken will vary based on the amount of data being transferred.
  • After the transfer is complete, verify the success of the data transfer to ensure that all data has been accurately copied.

To detach and delete the old disk, you can follow the steps below:

  • Open the Azure portal and go to the Virtual Machines section.
  • Select the desired VM that contains the outdated data disk from the provided list.
  • In the VM navigation pane, find the "Settings" option and click on "Disks."
  • Click the Detach icon for the old disk under the "Data disks" section on the VM disks page.
  • Successfully detach the old data disk by choosing "Save" from the menu.
  • To delete the old disk, refer to the instructions given here.

Using manual methods to decrease the disk size in Azure may result in different negative consequences. Shrinking the disk might necessitate temporarily putting the associated virtual machine (VM) offline, which could cause interruptions in applications dependent on the VM. As explained earlier, manual resizing requires specific commands and configurations. Any mistake made during this process, such as choosing the incorrect disk or inputting incorrect parameters, could lead to unintended and undesirable results.

However, while several tools and methods are available for optimizing computing resources, storage resource optimization gets overlooked. Moreover, organizations find it easy to overprovision the resources to ensure the application uptime regardless of the storage resource demands. 

However, overprovisioning storage resources has a cost-related impact since it entails assigning excessive resources beyond the required amount. Consequently, this results in escalated expenses for organizations since they are obliged to pay for storage capacity that remains idle or scarcely utilized.

This is why it becomes necessary to optimize the storage resources as well. Although native tools offer expansion and there is an indirect, rather cumbersome method to shrink the storage resources. Lucidity has a better alternative- Managed Disk Auto Scaler.

Lucidity introduces an advanced autonomous storage orchestration solution tailored for your block storage needs. Integrated seamlessly with major cloud providers, Lucidity Auto Scaler revolutionizes storage management. It automates resource expansion and shrinkage without requiring any code changes, offering remarkable benefits:

Zero Downtime: Lucidity eliminates manual provisioning errors and associated downtimes. Its autonomous capacity management seamlessly adapts storage resources to changing requirements, ensuring uninterrupted operations during scaling. Implementation is swift and non-disruptive, with the Lucidity Auto Scaler using only 2% of CPU or RAM.

Automated Expansion and Shrinkage: Your storage space remains responsive to demand fluctuations. Lucidity automates scaling, adjusting resources to match workload variations, guaranteeing optimal efficiency during surges or low-activity periods.

Up to 70% Savings: Lucidity's automated scaling slashes unnecessary expenses, yielding potential savings of up to 70% in storage costs. Disk utilization skyrockets from 35% to an impressive 80%, maximizing efficiency.

SC Johnson & Sons, after implementing Lucidity Auto Scaler following their storage audit, slashed storage costs by 52%. With Lucidity, they achieved downtime-free operations, bypassing extensive DevOps efforts for an ideal "NoOps" experience.

Lucidity Auto Scaler introduces a groundbreaking approach to storage orchestration, revolutionizing how it is done. Our solution guarantees reliability, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, making it a top choice. With Lucidity's cutting-edge technology, users can enjoy seamless scalability, automated resource management, and significant reductions in storage expenses.

Use Storage Tiering

As mentioned above, storage accounts for a significant portion of the cloud bill. Hence, it is essential to optimize the storage resources as well. One of the most effective ways to do so is through storage tiering

The pricing structure of Azure Blob Storage is designed to provide flexibility, offering various storage tiers, including premium, hot, cool, and archive storage. Each tier has a decreasing cost per GB-month associated with it. To optimize costs effectively, strategically move data with lower sensitivity or infrequent access to a tier offering more cost-efficient options or redundancy features that align with your specific needs. 

One key strategy is to incorporate automation for storage tiering directly into your applications. This enables you to establish a dynamic system where no longer actively required data is automatically transferred to a lower-cost tier. 

As a result, this ensures ongoing cost savings and resource efficiency. This proactive approach aligns storage expenses with the actual usage patterns of your data, ultimately contributing to a more streamlined and cost-effective storage strategy when using Azure Blob Storage.

Shut Down Idle Or Unused Resources

Azure resources, such as virtual machines, databases, or storage, typically generate costs based on the allocated capacity, irrespective of the actual usage. In cases where resources are provisioned but left idle, the expense for the reserved capacity persists, even if the resources are not actively engaged in workload processing.

We are here going to focus on compute and storage resources.

Compute Resources

Virtual machines (VMs) represent a typical scenario where costs accumulate even when unused. In instances where VMs are operational but not actively catering to requests or executing tasks, you are incurring expenses for the computing capacity without reaping any benefits from it.

The Azure Virtual Machine Automatic Shutdown helps optimize costs by automatically powering off inactive or unused virtual machines after a specified period of inactivity. This functionality has been specially designed to curtail operating expenses, guarantee efficient resource utilization, and foster a more economical and efficient cloud computing environment.

You can also use Azure Unused Resource Finder. The capability of this adaptable tool lies in its ability to perform assessments across multiple subscriptions simultaneously. Its strength lies in enabling Azure cloud consumers to discover and take advantage of opportunities to reduce costs within their infrastructure.

Storage Resources

Similar to Virtual Machines, when resources like blob storage or managed disks are allocated, expenses are incurred based on the allocated space. If the provisioned storage remains unused, you still pay for the provisioned capacity, resulting in avoidable costs. 

Moreover, when an Azure Virtual Machine (VM) is deleted, it is essential to recognize that the attached disks are not automatically eliminated. As a result, if there are no intentions to repurpose or reuse these disks, there is a potential situation where ongoing storage expenses might accumulate. Therefore, actively managing and tidying up these remaining disks becomes crucial to prevent unnecessary storage costs.

While several monitoring tools, like Azure Resource Graph Explorer Kusto queries, can help identify idle or unused storage resources, they involve manual intervention. This is time-consuming and prone to error. Moreover, the dependency on human resources can lead to delays and misidentification of idle resources. This necessitates an automated way, and Lucidity has the right solution for you in Lucidity Storage Audit. You can use lucidity Storage Audit to identify idle and unused resources like we did for SC Johnson & Sons above.

Once you have found unused or idle storage disks with Lucidity Storage Audit, you can delete them by following the steps mentioned here.

Ensure Efficient Cloud Operation With Azure Cost Optimization 

Optimizing Azure costs is crucial for businesses, ensuring they only pay for the resources they need. This involves continuous monitoring, identifying underutilized resources, and dynamically adjusting capacity as per workload fluctuations. Automation plays a key role here, preventing unnecessary costs during low-activity periods. Categorizing and tagging expenses offer better visibility for informed decision-making.

Effectively optimizing Azure costs saves money and cultivates a culture of resource efficiency and accountability. Employing strategies for both computing and storage resources is vital for maximum efficacy.

If rising storage costs or underutilized disk space are causing concerns or if you're unsure about the reasons behind unexpectedly high Azure expenses, Lucidity can help. Connect with us for a detailed demonstration and experience how we can identify cost-saving opportunities. Let us empower you to optimize Azure usage, ensuring your cost management objectives are not just met but exceeded.

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