Microsoft updates tools to help customers manage Azure cloud costs

Microsoft has published its Azure Cost Management and Billing updates for April, a list of the latest features and tips that are supposed to help users of the Azure platform get more value out of the cloud and implement financial governance by taking advantage of the tools included in their subscription.

For cloud users outside the US, perhaps the most significant new improvement is the ability to see retail prices in local currencies. The Retail Prices API, introduced last year, gives access to pay-as-you-go (PAYG) prices for different Azure services. The API initially provided US dollar (USD) pricing broken down to the individual meter level, but users can now request prices in any supported currency.

Azure’s Cost Management Labs has also added new features, such as cost analysis views that break costs down by resource, resource group, subscription, as well as reservation with additional insights into a customer’s top cost drivers and an improved date picker and download experience.

Additonally, Microsoft is developing cost analysis preview, a new framework for cost reporting and analytics. Driven by user feedback on the date selection functionality, users will now find a new option to select a custom date range, making it easier to pick a single month, a range of months, or start and end dates for a range of days.

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Also new, according to Microsoft, is the ability to quickly view the cost for your resources from the resource overview in the preview portal. Users can simply click View cost to quickly jump to the cost of that particular resource.

Microsoft also pointed to a number of cost-saving options over the past month. These include the Start VM on connect feature for Windows Virtual Desktop, which enables organisations  to deallocate VMs that are not in use to save cost, while ensuring that users can connect to it if needed.

Also available for Azure customers with qualifying subscription types is a limited-time free quantities offer for Azure Synapse Analytics, allowing customers to try out the new serverless SQL pool and Apache Spark pool resources in Azure Synapse Analytics using free quantities until July 31, 2021.

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