In this post, I will show you how to estimate your consumption using the public Azure pricing calculator.
There are many ways that you can acquire Azure for your business for production systems, including:
In short, businesses are best to consume Azure either via CSP or EA. Both of these have privately agreed consumption rates and Microsoft provides pricing tools, especially for both channels.
However, in the business, the RRP rate is often what is quoted. When you research how Azure pricing works, the information is based on RRP rates. Because of this, people often use the public Azure pricing tool that is based on RRP rates.
I used to dislike this tool greatly. It’s still not perfect, but the tool is usable now for producing indicative pricing on how much an Azure solution will cost.
This topic is much bigger than a blog post. The method that I used to learn how Azure pricing works was a combination of things:
The latter is a matter of using a search tool. For example, search for “Azure pricing storage”, “Azure pricing virtual machines”, “Azure pricing networking”, and so on. When you read the resulting articles by Microsoft (usually the first non-advert), you’ll find that Microsoft does a pretty good job of explaining how the billing is done. The frequently asked questions at the bottom typically clear up questions and myths. For example, there is no charge for restoring from Azure Backup, despite the false claims by some.
The Azure Pricing Calculator is easy enough to find; there is a link to it from every pricing information page. In the above virtual machine pricing screenshot, you can see a + symbol to add a virtual machine type to a pricing estimate. A pop-out appears with a link to the pricing tool, which you can click after you add an item.
Otherwise, you can search for or browse straight to the Azure Pricing Calculator. At the top of the screen is an index of available Azure services that you can add to the current estimate; these are broken down into categories such as Featured (most commonly used), Compute, Networking, Storage, and so on.
Below the index is where the current estimate will be built up; this will probably be blank to begin with.
In this example, I estimate a very simple virtual machine solution for a virtual machine that will be a SQL Server with a standard OS disk and a Premium data disk. I started by clicking Virtual Machines in the index. A virtual machine spec was added to the estimate and I customized this spec.
The storage of the virtual machine is configured lower in the spec. Note that this only configures the OS disk of the virtual machine, which is not included in the above virtual machine cost.
In the below, I have configured the virtual machine’s OS disk as follows:
The subtotal for the machine adds up to $517.79, including Windows Server per processor licensing, SQL Server licensing, and the storage for the OS disk.
Next, I need to add on a data disk. I scrolled back to the top and selected Storage from Featured. A storage resource is added to the estimate and is configured:
The virtual machine will be accessible by remote desktop on the Internet and for this, I will need a public IP address. Back at the index of resources, I selected IP Addresses from Networking. Once again, the region is selected and I picked 1 static Basic ARM IP address.
There is a data egress or outbound data transfer charge for Azure virtual machines. The East US region falls into what Microsoft refers to as Zone 1. Note that there is no ingress data charge. Any data download from the machine or upload by the machine to a location outside of Azure will be charged for, with the first 5GB being free. The resource for pricing this charge is Bandwidth from the Networking category.
The last resource I will add is Backup from the Storage category to estimate the cost of backing up the virtual machine. The virtual machine has 1,152GB of disk capacity (128 + 1,024), so the instance size will be 1,152GB (3 x $10 instances). I’ll set the storage resiliency to the RSV default of GRS.
Actually … I won’t. I’m going to round up the size of the virtual machine because I like to be a little conservative with backup costs. This gives me a little breathing room on other things that I don’t estimate for, such as:
Those micro-costs are small and are impossible to estimate for. People often freeze at the thought of these costs but a simple roundup of backup costs will more than cover them. So I’ll go with 1,300 B instead of 1,152GB, which only adds around $7 to the cost of backup.
At the bottom of the estimate, I now see a total estimated cost of $791.13. There is also an export button, which allows me to download a spreadsheet of this estimate.
Note that the above RRP cost includes:
Things like RDS CALs are not included. For end-user RDS access, you would need one of:
If you are going the credit card or EA route, then there is no Microsoft technical support included. Therefore, a contract cost would have to be added. If you choose the CSP channel, then Microsoft technical support (via the reseller) is included.