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Azure’s new features can save on cloud costs — if managed properly

 

Azure new features offer more than just improved security — they can also save you money. We’ve written before about how Azure cost optimization is not set-it-and-forget-it. Just as security features are constantly improving, Azure cost optimization is an ongoing, ever-changing process. Checking in regularly on both your needs as a company and Azure’s capabilities as a platform will provide opportunities to save on costs.

Managing change should be a part of your plan before you migrate to Azure. Even if you anticipate your organization’s cloud needs to remain static, the cloud itself is always evolving, so  working with a dedicated Azure cloud management team can ensure you are getting the latest Azure has to offer, and getting the most out of your infrastructure.  

Azure’s new features change the rules for cost optimization

Azure is constantly changing and improving, and feature updates often deliver new services with the potential to optimize monthly cloud service bills. For example, Azure Managed Disk performance was initially strictly linked to disk sizes—the larger the disk, the higher the throughput and IOPS (input/output operations per second). This meant that in order to meet performance requirements, customers would sometimes have to overprovision disk capacity, purchasing way more storage “space” than needed for a given workload. Later Azure introduced the ability to turn the performance tier and disk capacity dials independently and also introduced disk bursting features. With these new improvements, customers are better able to optimize for both performance and cost.

Unlike traditional cost optimization, where you’re weighing a series of tradeoffs, Azure platform improvements often create opportunities for an all-around win. If you can deliver more of something, or reduce costs, without any loss, you’ll be able to return to your team a hero. 

The key is knowing what your business needs and having full transparency into your current cloud spending. Then, when an update lands, you can quickly assess it for potential. At Deft, we work in Azure cloud environments every day with a wide range of different architectures and business needs. When Azure announces new features or improvements, we can tell you what it means for your specific use cases, then recommend how to implement it for optimal performance. 

Architecting Azure with updates in mind

Planning your Azure architecture around the reality of constant change and improvements will help you embrace new features faster — crucial when quicker implementation means more savings for the next billing cycle.

Understanding the workloads in your organization — their shapes, patterns, and needs — will help you identify where there’s room for experimentation. It will also help you see where needs aren’t being met. When possible, architecting with components loosely coupled—rather than all tied into a monolithic solution—allows for swapping out individual parts or pieces as new features or improvements become available. 

If you’ve developed a detailed cloud strategy before optimizing for cost, as you absolutely should, you’ll know what goals your organization has for the cloud. They’ll help you screen Azure changes and updates as they roll out: Does this new feature have the potential to get me closer to one of our goals?

Counterintuitively, another opportunity for saving money could come from paying for extra space to allow innovation. Enabling innovation is what cloud does best, and cost-saving measures shouldn’t interfere with your team’s ability to test new ideas. Setting aside budget for creativity and experimentation in sandboxes is good for the team, good for the business, and good for your ability to quickly try new features. 

Too much focus on using standardized templates that have been in place for years can limit the ability of your staff to test out new functionality. A little flexibility may open up opportunities for improvements that well outweigh the costs. 

Tracking Microsoft announcements is a full-time job, but it can be someone else’s 

Having answers to the above questions is enough of a challenge. Continuously updating all of these factors to match current business needs while keeping all the necessary parts of the business running doesn’t leave a lot of headspace or time for analyzing the potential of each new feature release or update to the Azure platform. Knowing the minutiae of Azure — and how it’s changing — is our job. We’re already doing a deep-dive on each update and finding out the best way to make it work for our clients. By partnering with us, you’ll be able to focus on the strategies and goals of your business while still taking advantage of the latest Azure offerings. The cost-savings alone that we can help you find will be worth it to impress leadership. 

 

 

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