Azure – The ultimative Service Guide

Microsoft is delivers day by day new, improved and updated services in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. For new customers and even for experienced Azure engineers it’s sometimes hard to find the right service for a problem. It’s possible to solve the same problem with different services and often it depends on the expected customer base.

Over the years the Microsoft Azure Poster team developed a very useful view on the Azure infrastructure which helps to understand better when to use which service.

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This cool and helpful poster should be available in every team working with the Microsoft Azure Cloud. It’s available for free here.

In addition I had a helping hand during the last weeks and months from Ricardo Niepel , an evangelist for Microsoft Azure. He is also the author of the new interactive Azure Platform overview here. This makes the decision which service to use much easier and it helps everybody to not loose track when Microsoft delivers new services regularly.

Azure Costs: Public Preview CSP Support

Today we’re very excited to announce the start of the public preview for Cloud Solution Providers.  After several weeks and months of continous improvements in the azure costs platform, we now start the public preview phase of the CSP support.  

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The great new CSP portal gives you access to the spendings your customers are generating. There are a couple of use cases we would like to point out:  

Enroll into the CSP program:
When visiting our new CSP portal the system will require enrolling into the CSP program. You can do this with an existing Azure Costs account or in case you would like to differentiate between internal spendings and customer spendings, just use an additional account!

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Register Accounts:
Microsoft requires every CSP to sign into the CSP program for every geographical region separately. As an internal reseller you will have accounts for USD, EUR or AUD and several more. Azure Costs allows you to register every single CSP account, to track costs in different currencies and countries separately.
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Activate Customers:
During the registration process Azure Costs imports all existing customers. This does not mean Azure Costs tracks spendings. If you would like to track spendings for a specific customer, activate this customer in the “New/Not-Activated Customers” widget. The spending information of every activated customer will be imported automatically.
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Interested in the new feature?
Getting started with Azure Costs for CSPs is very easy, just visit our new portal for Cloud Solution providers and enroll into the CSP program as described above. To become part of the public preview of the CSP support an existing enterprise plan is required.

Any questions, wishes or ideas? Try our feedback portal or drop a mail to help@azure-costs.com.

 

Azure Costs: Exporting data via API

Azure Costs now offers direct API access to integrate the processed and aggregated data directly in 3rd party applications like Qlik or Tableau. This option allows customers on an enterprise plan or higher to render or analyse the Azure Costs data in existing BI solutions.

Exporting data via API is very simple. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Register an application as trustee to control which data can be access from the 3rd party application in the team management view.

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  2. The application contains a client_id and a client_secret which can be used for the oAuth2 client credentials flow. Just issue a new security token at least every hour from the Azure Costs STS. We recommend to issue a token whenever you start a new transaction to ensure that permission changes are affective.

    curl -X POST -d “client_id={{YOUR CLIENT ID}}&client_secret={{YOUR CLIENT SECERT}}&grant_type=client_credentials” https://azure-costs.com/sts/issue/oauth/token

  3. Export the required report from the export api which returns the data in JSON format. Every single object describes one service including the quantity, costs and other meta information. The required teamId, contract number can be extracted from the URL of the Azure Costs dashboard

    curl -H “Authorization: Bearer {{ISSUED TOKEN}}” https:/api.azure-costs.com/api/v1/teams/{{teamId}}/contracts/{{contractId}}/reports/{{Year}}-{{Month}}/export?cache={{DATE-OF-THE-DAY}}

Interested in the new feature?
Try the new feature today by simply logging into your Azure Costs account. The feature is part of any enterprise plan.

Any questions, wishes or ideas? Try our feedback portal or drop a mail to help@azure-costs.com.

Azure Costs: Service Types and Categories

Today we’re very excited, to announce the release of our revised service types and service categories for azure costs. In the early days azure costs just supported the Service Type attribute. Together with our customers we identified the need of having a more efficient way to understand cost drives and spending spikes.
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The Service Type property now shows a more detailed type of the Azure Service. Virtual Machines report the selected pricing tier or size in that property . SQL databases are also shown now with the size of the chosen Azure SQL instance.
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In contrast to the Service Type, the Service Category property describes the service class in Azure, e.g. Azure App Services, Data Management which includes BigData and SQL Services or the classical Cloud Services.
The clear differentiation between this two properties should help to identify cost spikes faster and more reliable.

Interested in the new feature?
Try the new feature today by simply logging into your azure costs account. The feature is part of any plan.

Any questions, wishes or ideas? Try our feedback portal or drop a mail to help@azure-costs.com.

 

Azure Costs: Available as white-label solution

Today we are very excited to announce that Azure Costs can now be offered as a white-label solution for Cloud Solution Providers.

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Using Azure Costs as a white-label solution includes the following features:

Service Provider Specific Top-Level-Domain incl. SSL Certificate:
Offering Azure Costs as white-label solution is delivered under your own service provider specific domain, e.g. costs.acme.com. It’s possible to bind a service provider specific SSL certificate to this domain as well.

Dedicated Storage Backend incl. support for the Azure Cloud Germany:
Every service provider is able to connect a dedicated Azure Storage Account. This ensures that all the customer data are stored and processed only in a service which is under control and management of the service provider.

Custom Identity Provider:
Servicer Provider often offer their customers account and identity infrastructure. Azure Costs as a white-label solution allows to connect custom identity providers based on the oAuth2 protocol. This allows your customers to stay with their existing accounts for the server providers infrastructure.

Interested in offering Azure Costs as a white-label solution?
Try Azure Costs as white-label solution, just contact as via a support request or drop a mail to help@azure-costs.com. We will guide you through the signup procedure.

Any questions, wishes or ideas? Try our feedback portal or drop a mail to help@azure-costs.com.

 

Azure Status Page Server Side Meters

In the last article we described the details about client side meters and how to use them with Azure Status Pages. But there are situation where you would like to observe your application from the outside view. This article describes the Service Side Meters Azure Status Page supports as well.

What is a Meter?

In the Azure Status Page project a Meter is something that describes a specific metric you would like to measure and observe. Meters can be defined in the Azure Status Page Site Extension as Service Side Meters. Another convenient way is to define and send meters in your own application. This kind of meters are called Client Side Meters and can be defined and updated via an SDK delivered from us.

Server Site Meters

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Server Site Meters in Azure Status Page are checking if a given HTTP or HTTPs endpoint is available. As soon as the meter is defined, Azure Status Page checks the availability of the service on a recurring basis. Similar to the Client Side Meters a failed meter will influence the status page and will communicate it to the operations staff via PushOver notifications.

Which Server Side Checks are important for you? We are planning to offer more needed Server Side Meters soon. Please let us know via GitHub Issue or via blog comment what’s needed.

 

 

Azure Costs: Support for Azure Tag based grouping

Azure Tags are an efficient way for employees with access to the Azure Management Portal to organize and categorize Azure Services. Besides the Resource Groups, Azure Tags are the second important organisation feature in the Azure Management Portal.

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Azure Costs now imports the Azure Tag definitions and the associated values automatically during the nightly sync. Every Azure Tag is offered as an additional group option for the given spending data. The import works for all contract types including Pay-as-you-Go, Cloud Solution Provider and Enterprise Agreements.

Interested in the new feature?
Try the new feature today by simply logging into your azure costs account. The feature is part of any plan.

Any questions, wishes or ideas? Try our feedback portal or drop a mail to help@azure-costs.com.