Microsoft Azure is one of the major public cloud providers offering various PaaS, computing, storage, analytical services, and more. Its growing popularity is mainly due to the scalability and flexibility it offers while building complex infrastructure. However, the challenge arises when one receives their month-end Azure bill and notices a significant cost spike exceeding the budget estimated.

 

As a result of this, organizations have started prioritizing cost management/optimization and while looking to explore new strategies, many have identified FinOps to be one of the most effective practices that can be incorporated.

 

So, this blog will address the most asked questions, like why one should implement it and what are the best Azure FinOps tools currently available?

 

Top Azure FinOps tools: Which one to choose?
Top Azure FinOps tools

 

  • How an Azure FinOps tool can help control costs?
  • Best Azure FinOps tools

 

 

How an Azure FinOps tool can help control costs?

FinOps is a concept that unites engineers, finance experts, and key stakeholders by providing centralized visibility into Azure spending, eventually elevating collaboration between teams to make cost decisions unanimously.

 

Here, it’s crucial to understand that such teams prioritize different cost metrics. For instance, engineers would be keen to know the expenses of features that they develop, while finance would show interest in costs associated with each customer.

 

On the other hand, stakeholders will not give importance to either of these specifics. Only a well-matured Azure FinOps tool can meet such diverse needs and here are the top reasons why you should go for one:

 

 

Get cost transparency: Visualize where exactly your spending goes at a very granular level, be it cost per customer, product, feature, or team. This way, you can increase accountability and make everyone aware of the cost associated with their Azure usage.

 

Empowers Azure engineers to care about cost: Engineers generally focus on developing and delivering innovative features and they might not always think in the direction that configuring new resources or additional storage space could increase costs. This difference in the thought process between finance and engineers would result in conflict.

 

So, having an Azure FinOps tool in place can send real-time alerts to engineers and keep them on the spending track.

 

 

Drive cost-team collaboration: The dashboards and analytics provided by FinOps tools allow different teams to pull the required data based on their needs.

 

For instance, the finance team can access high-level cost data/reports, whereas the engineers will get to drill down further into info like the number of hours a particular VM has run, spotting idle resources consuming costs, etc.

 

Optimize spending effectively: There are scenarios where you would want resources to only run during business hours. Manually doing it every time might look like a mammoth task. So, FinOps tools with automation can be beneficial to scale down resources when not necessary.

 

Strategically implementing such resource optimizations will help save significantly in the long run.

 

Accurate spend forecast: Analyzing historical spending data and forecasting it with respect to business units is important to facilitate appropriate budget allocations. This would ultimately encourage teams across your organization to stay within the limit.

 

 

Best Azure FinOps tools

Not every cost management tool in the market offers the required features for FinOps. So, we have analyzed and hand-picked a list of the popular choices to explore and make practicing FinOps much easier within your organization.

 

Serverless360 (Recommended)

Serverless360 is an advanced Azure FinOps tool, aiming to represent cost data in a way that both your engineers/finance teams can understand and spot areas to be optimized. By letting everyone take ownership of their Azure cost, it further allows organizations of all sizes to adopt a cost-conscious culture.

 

 

It covers all the 3 aspects needed to effectively handle costs – proactive monitoring, unit cost analysis, and optimization through automation.

 

 

Features

Extensive cost analysis:
  • Visualize Azure costs across subscriptions from multiple tenants on dimensions like cost per customer, feature, product, etc.
  • Implement show-back/chargeback policies with the team and account-level cost visibility.
  • Let your engineering/finance teams analyze the cost data they need with custom grouping and filtering options.

 

 

Automation & optimization:
  • Obtain rightsizing recommendations to take necessary actions on idle/unused resources.
  • Make informed Reserved Instance purchase decisions with accurate recommendations based on resource usage.
  • In-built automation to scale down resources during non-peak business hours.
  • Get visibility into the potential savings after implementing such resource optimizations.

 

Budgeting & alerting:
  • Set up real-time alerting on budget violations and cost anomalies.
  • Auto-escalate unnoticed cost spikes or budget exceed alerts to specific teams.
  • Forecast the budget by having a deeper look into your spending pattern.

 

Additionally, the tool has been beneficial for Managed Service Providers and SaaS businesses by enabling granular cost insights.

 

G2 Rating: 4.7/5

 

 

Microsoft Cost Management

This is a native cost management tool available in the Azure portal to track, monitor, and visualize Azure spending. It provides a top-level understanding of where you spend the most by analyzing and comparing the resource cost associated with a single subscription. However, grouping resource cost based on aspects like departments or environments (development/staging/production) require consistent and accurate tagging.

 

Microsoft Cost Management
Microsoft Cost Management

 

 

Features

  • Monitor budgets per Resource Group/Subscriptions & get alerted on violations.
  • Create different dashboard views to know the spending trends.
  • Get appropriate spending forecasting by analyzing the historical data.
  • Use Azure Advisor, part of native cost management for optimization recommendations.
  • Implement governance policies while managing costs.

 

G2 Rating: 3.9/5

 

 

Cloudzero

CloudZero allows us to associate cost with products and the engineering decisions made, helping to clarify the reason behind any significant spike in cloud spending. It looks ideal for hybrid or multi-cloud scenarios involving AWS, Azure/GCP, where the tool can drive meaningful insights to align both finance and engineering teams.

 

Cloudzero
Cloudzero

 

 

Features

  • Monitor budgets against business dimensions without manual tagging.
  • Alert respective teams about budget overruns/cost spikes.
  • Forecast spending to eliminate month-end billing surprises.
  • Get cost anomaly alerts via channels like Slack or email.

 

G2 Rating: 4.5/5

 

 

Finout

Finout is one of the latest tools that support different cloud providers, including Azure, AWS & GCP. Notably, it also integrates with SaaS products like Datadog to monitor and track how much you spend on them. In addition to FinOps capabilities, it delivers cost optimization, threshold-based alerts, and editable dashboards.

 

Finout
Finout

 

 

Features

  • Get one central place to manage spending across cloud providers
  • Monitor the spending and get anomaly alerts on unexpected spikes
  • Allocate the cloud budget accordingly based on real-time insights
  • Take action on idle resources with actionable recommendations
  • Gain visibility into Kubernetes and container costs

 

G2 Rating: 4/5

 

 

Cloudcheckr

Cloudcheckr
Cloudcheckr

 

CloudCheckr provides comprehensive visibility into multiple cloud environments to provide control over cloud costs and security. But beyond that, ensuring efficient utilization of resources is crucial to optimize spending without over-provisioning, and the tool has features to cover the case. Being part of Spot.io, it is better suited for Managed Service Providers who handle multiple customers and their cloud applications.

 

 

Features

  • Visualize costs with easy-to-create dashboards
  • Continuously monitor cloud costs and resource usage
  • Maximize cost optimization with automated reallocation
  • Break cost down to resource level or any specific units

 

G2 Rating: 4.1/5

 

 

Conclusion

We have discussed various Azure FinOps and Azure Cost management tools and their features for various organizational and cost management needs. From native offerings like Azure Cost management to advanced tools like Serverless360, Cloudzero, etc., everything has its own advantages. The key will be to identify the right one for your business and I hope this blog helped you get started with it.

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is Microsoft Azure and why is it popular?

Microsoft Azure is a major public cloud provider offering services like PaaS, computing, storage, and analytics. Its popularity is due to its scalability and flexibility in building complex infrastructure.

 

2. Why are organizations focusing on FinOps for Azure cost management?

With unexpected spikes in Azure bills, organizations are prioritizing cost management and optimization. Many have identified FinOps as an effective practice to get a centralized view of Azure spending and improve collaboration between teams.

 

3. How does an Azure FinOps tool help in cost management?

Azure FinOps tools offer centralized visibility into Azure spending, enhancing collaboration between teams like engineers and finance. This ensures that all teams can understand and make cost decisions unanimously.

 

4. Why is it important for engineers to be aware of Azure costs?

Engineers usually focus on developing features and may overlook the cost implications of configuring new resources or additional storage. An Azure FinOps tool can alert engineers in real time about potential cost spikes.

 

5. What are some key features provided by FinOps tools?

FinOps tools offer features like cost transparency, real-time alerts, dashboard analytics for different teams, automation for resource optimization, and accurate spend forecasting.

 

6. Can you name some of the best Azure FinOps tools available?

Some top tools are Serverless360, Microsoft Cost Management, Cloudzero, Finout, and Cloudcheckr.

 

7. How does Serverless360 stand out from other tools?

Serverless360 is an advanced tool that presents cost data comprehensively for both engineers and finance teams. It covers proactive monitoring, unit cost analysis, and optimization through automation.

 

8. How does Microsoft’s native cost management tool differ from others?

Microsoft Cost Management, available in the Azure portal, offers a top-level understanding of Azure spending based on a single subscription. However, it requires consistent and accurate tagging for grouping resource costs.

 

9. Are there tools suitable for multi-cloud scenarios?

Yes, CloudZero and Finout are ideal for multi-cloud scenarios, supporting platforms like Azure, AWS, GCP, and even SaaS products.

 

10. How do I choose the right Azure FinOps tool for my business?

Each tool has its unique features and advantages. Organizations should assess their specific cost management needs and choose a tool that aligns best with those needs.

 

Have a question? Or, a comment? Let's Discuss it below...

dhgate

Thank you for visiting our website!

We value your engagement and would love to hear your thoughts. Don't forget to leave a comment below to share your feedback, opinions, or questions.

We believe in fostering an interactive and inclusive community, and your comments play a crucial role in creating that environment.