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Michael Stephenson keeping your feet on premise while your heads in the cloud

I work with a number of customers who use Windows Azure and are increasing their use of Windows Azure due to the significant success they are having. One of the things where I feel customers are yet to create mature processes is in their understanding of how to best leverage the billing side of cloud services. You may not be familiar with a Windows Azure Enterprise Agreement if you only use Windows Azure for personal use or small business. Basically an Enterprise Agreement is a way customers can create an agreement allowing them to have an account they can add money to and then they can have multiple Windows Azure Accounts and subscriptions which will be related to this agreement and they will be billed against this central pot of money rather than having to have lots of credit card payments which most people are probably familiar with.

One of the big benefits for larger customers is that the commitment of cost and economy of scale means they get lower prices because they will be bigger users so if you're a corporate customer then an EA is definitely something you should look at.

If you have a Windows Azure Enterprise Agreement then you get access to another portal at the address http://ea.windowsazure.com. This portal allows you to manage the agreement and to access the billing side of things.

One of the things I was particularly interested in is the underlying billing data which you can download from the EA portal.

I have created a spreadsheet which you can paste your billing data into and then there are some worksheets which will give you some interesting views of that data. (Download the spreadsheet and refer to the instructions worksheet to see what you need to do). Note that on the detailed data worksheet I've added some additional columns which do some basic calculations to format the data in a way its easier to analyse.

If you want to see an example of the spreadsheet with some sample data please check it out on the following link:

http://tinyurl.com/d5v5799

 

The views you can see are as follows:

Agreement Overview

On the agreement overview worksheet there are two simple views. There is one which shows which accounts are showing up in the billing data and one which shows which subscriptions are in the billing data. This can help you to workout if any accounts or subscriptions are no longer being used.

 

Cost Overview

The billing data you have downloaded will cover a specific date range. The Cost Overview worksheet will give you a view of the overall cost for each subscription and account for this billing period.

This is a good view for your purchasing and accounts team so they can workout at a high level the cross charging that may be required.

 

Total EA Costs by Month

This gives me a high level total cost spent on Azure each month.

 

Costs by Month and Subscription

This is a good view for the Bill Payer to work out how much each subscription is paying each month. This can help me with cost allocation within the organisation.

 

Costs by Month and Service

This worksheet will give you an overview of costs by month and type of service. You will be able to answer things like "How much did I spend on Compute and SQL in April 2013". This view is one of the key areas where the cross over between bill payer and architect comes into play. As an architect I can check if the running costs for SQL are in line with my expectations, or spot if a component may have a defect if its costs seem higher than expected.

 

Component Costs

This worksheet gives you a way to workout the cost per month and year at a component level. This is a good way to spot components with an unexpectedly high cost which may need investigating.

 

Component Overview

The component overview worksheet gives me a high level view of the components under each account and subscription. I can easily see what type of services they are and where they might be deployed. As an architect you often design an architecture but you know that as a project progresses it is likely to change. By monitoring the billing data I can spot unexpected components creeping into the development and testing environments which may not have been communicated by the development team.

This is also a good holistic view of my component estate in Azure.

Component Costs to Review

This view is very similar to the component costs except that we have used a filter of the overall cost over the charge period to highlight components where we may want to validate the costs to ensure there isn't something to investigate.

 

Regions Used

This view in the Regions Used worksheet gives me easy access to look at the components in my agreement and what region they are deployed to. As an architect I may have requirements which mean my development team should not be putting components in specific geographical regions and I may use this data as a way of checking overtime that any rules like these are being adhered to.

 

Overview

I believe over time the Azure Enterprise Portal will include a lot of analysis features because this is really important for accounts people but also architects too. Now a days we need to think a lot more about running costs for our solutions than we did in the past. Access and analysis of this data is very important.

Posted on Friday, April 26, 2013 10:09 AM | Back to top


Comments on this post: Analysing your Windows Azure Enterprise Agreement Billing Data

# re: Analysing your Windows Azure Enterprise Agreement Billing Data
Requesting Gravatar...
Hi Michael, I found your post interersting and would like to delve into our billing data in a structured way. Unfortunately the tinyurl to your spreadsheet seems to be dead. Would it be possible for you to update the link? Thanks!
Left by Edward Aschan on Jan 12, 2014 10:25 PM

# re: Analysing your Windows Azure Enterprise Agreement Billing Data
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Turns out that all that is missing is a trailing slash. Adding that to the tinyurl and the file is accessible.
Left by Edward Aschan on Jan 12, 2014 10:37 PM

# re: Analysing your Windows Azure Enterprise Agreement Billing Data
Requesting Gravatar...
Hi Edward

Thanks for the comment, can you confirm what url you used. From here it just opens fine when I click the link. Ill update if required

Cheers
Mike
Left by Mike on Jan 18, 2014 11:58 AM

# re: Analysing your Windows Azure Enterprise Agreement Billing Data
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Hi There ,

I can not download the excel sheet you have provided however when i tried pasting the usage data in sample sheet ,respective data wasn't fall under the same column as mentioned in the excel sheet .

Can you provide the link to download and guide me how what column i need to copy and paste ?
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