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So it got near the end of the month for my “free” Azure trial and I need to change it up to a pay-as-you-go subscription if I want to keep playing with it.

Switching to a Pay-as-you-Go subscription

Assuming that you want to continue enjoying the azure goodies you will need to change to a pay-as-you-go subscription.  If you’ve let the free subscription lapse the next time you log in to the Azure portal there will be lots of notifications with handy links, but what if you’re trying to be proactive?  Login to the portal and navigate your way down to [Cost Management + Billing] > [Subscriptions].  Click on the Manage button and you’re in the subscription portal, where you can modify your subscription.

Basic Cost Monitoring

Nobody likes a sharp surprise, so it’s worth keeping on top of your billing. Login to your Azure Portal, and then choose [More Services] followed by your subscription.

Now you get to see a very handy summary of what’s happening with the subscription –

So as you can see I still have nearly all of the credits I was given as a taster at the start of the month.  These will evaporate pretty soon and I’ll be getting pinged for what I’ve used – for example, my last blog about using the Azure Data Factory went outside the resource usage I had been allocated and I’m going to have to pay a whopping $0.15 at the end of the month.  Ok, we aren’t worried about 15 cents, but its an example of how things can suddenly appear if you’re not careful.

When I was outlining the free stuff previously I mentioned the stuff that is still free for the first 12 months.  Conveniently there’s are handy section dominating the bottom half of the screen that has a summary of all of those that are available (and whether or not they are in use) and how I’m tracking against the monthly limits.  It even has a handy status field that gives an indication of whether or no I’m likely to exceed the quota for this month.  You can pin this summary to the main dashboard of your portal as well if you want.

Advanced Cost Monitoring

Free cost monitoring is provided by Cloudyn as Azure Cost Management. Get there from [Cost Management and Billing] > [Cost Management].  From here you’ve got a nice blue button to be taken to the Cloudyn website.

Some of the handy features they promote are:

  • Track usage and cost trends.
  • Detect usage inefficiencies.
  • Create alerts for unusual spending.
  • Control access to reporting data via different users.
  • Forecast future spending.
  • Use custom tags to allocate costs, e.g. billing code, cost centre, or group name.

At the moment the services are free, but some will be going over to the paid side next year.  Most of the services doing this are to do with categorizing costs and charging back to cost centres.

Predicting Costs

If you’re thinking about adding in a particular service or component to your subscription and want to get a handle on what it might cost, then there is a handy pricing calculator at  https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/.  This takes the form of a shopping cart in which you can add in your products with the desired specification and then get an individual cost summary plus a grand total in your desired currency.  Obviously, this is only a prediction and things will vary according to your relationship with Microsoft and the vagaries of international currency exchange.

Have fun until the next de time, bork, bork, bork.
– Brent

 

You can read Brent’s other blogs on Azure and his advice on BIML here

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