The Azure Cost Management Tool: The Foundation of Understanding Your Azure Estate

The Azure Cost Management tool (ACM), which is built into the Azure portal interface, is a powerful but under-utilized service you can use to track and understand the sources of your Azure costs.

I wrote that ACM is ‘under-utilized’ and by that, I don’t mean it isn’t used but rather, that it’s often used in a superficial way – for example, to gather aggregate spend reports and not as a method to gain a comprehensive view of how billing is calculated on Azure as a key part of a cloud optimization strategy.

ACM should be a central part of your cloud financial operations (or FinOps) workflow:

In the image above, ACM is shown as a method to correct your deployment decisions; with runtime cost data, combined with asset tagging and corresponding business metrics, you can assess whether or not you’ve made the right architectural choices from a cost optimization point of view. In the video below, I briefly walkthrough the ACM interface’s elements, comparing it to the AWS Cost Explorer as a point of reference.

In this blog, we’ll explore ACM, using it as the foundation of a detailed review of Azure’s billing and cost metrics. All data about your Azure activities is captured by ACM as a signal; if you learn how to read that signal, you’ll be on the right path to deriving value from your Azure investment.

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