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.

Azure Status Page Client Side Meters

In the last weeks we were working on the Azure Status Page Generator to give everybody the chance to generate Status Pages within minutes. Start right now with it by visiting our project page at GitHub.
This article digs deeper into the Client Side Meters feature of the Azure Status Page Site Generator.

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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 to your own application. This kind of meters are called Client Side Meters and can be defined and updated via an SDK, delivered from us.

Client Side Meter SDK

Azure Status Page currently offers SDKs for two major platforms. The nodejs SDK is available as NPM component:

npm install azure-status-page-client –save

Azure Status Page also supports C# application e.g. ASP.NET WebServices or WebWorker for background processing. Just install the NuGet package as follows:

Install-Package statuspageclient

Meter Examples

Good examples for Client Side Meters are the following, that we are also using in production:

  1. Queue Triggered WebJob HeartBeat
    A worker implemented based on Azure WebJobs and triggered via QueueMessage can be observed with a client side heartbeat meter. Just send a message during every polling to the Azure Status Page. As soon as your worker is blocking or hanging, a filed meter will be detected and you will get notified via PushOver.
  2. Free Disk-Space for Caches or Max Size of a file Cache
    Sometimes using file based caches on the application server can help to speed up your application dramatically. During the maintenance  process for the cache the client side meter can send the size of the cache or the free disk space to Azure Status Page. You will get an alert when the cache grows abnormally or your disk space exceeds.

Do you have other ideas for great client side meters? We are planning to offer pre-developed meters as part of our Client SDKs that you can plug into your application directly. Let us know via GitHub Issue or via blog comment what is needed.

Azure Costs: Support for Azure Cloud Germany available

A couple of weeks ago Microsoft announced the availability of the Azure Cloud Germany. This gives all customers with strong requirements regarding data privacy and who are not able to rely on Privacy Shield the option, to use Azure in two dedicated data centers located in Germany. The most  important detail is that Microsoft chose T-Systems, a daughter company of the German Telecom as the trustee for the German Cloud operations.

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Azure Costs becomes part of the Azure Cloud Germany and is available under the new url

https://azure-costs.de

We are excited to announce that we offer our service in the same quality and with the same performance in the Azure Cloud Germany. Additional information related to the Azure Cloud Germany is available here.

Interested in the new feature?
Try the new feature today by simply logging into your azure costs account with our new german url. All plans are available in Germany as well.

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

Azure Status Page Generator available as Site Extension

When I started to think about Status Pages several requirements that need to be full filled came to my mind, e.g. the status page needs to …

  • …run on a separate infrastructure, e.g. a different geographical region or in a different cloud infrastructure
  • … support client side meters which are pushed to the status page directly out of the application
  • … support server side meters which are executed from the status page on a recurrent schedule
  • … communicate service outages to the customers
  • … support push communication to the operations staff with all the details to bring the service back on track

There are several SaaS services offering a solution on the market, e.g. https://statuspage.io. The Azure Status Page Generator is a project intended to offer a similar service, self hosted in Azure App Services. The Status Page Generator comes as a Azure App Service Site Extension that allows everybody to create status pages in Azure within minutes.

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The services runs directly under all Azure App Service Plans and implements the following basic features:

  • Displays Status for several different components and meters
  • Allows customising and personalisation
  • Notifies staff via PushOver notifications when a meter fails
  • Supports Client Side and Server Side Meters

If you would like to contribute, please visit our project page at GitHub. Just want to build a Status Page in minutes, install the Azure App Service Site Extension from the Site Extensions Gallery.

Are there features missing? Please let us know via GitHub Issue or leave a comment in this blog.

 

Azure Costs: Revised Notification Services

We’re very excited today, to announce the release of our revised notification service for azure costs. This new version gives you advanced options to configure daily reports and alerts more granularly.

User Based Notification Settings:
Many Team Administrator would like to give their team mates and co-workers the freedom to configure their daily spending report. The new User Based Notification Settings allow administrators and team members to define personal notification settings independently.

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Administrators are now able to recommend corporate standards which can be used or extended from the team members.

Policy Based Alerts:
There are several conditions which trigger an alert. The new policy based alert service allows to define required business rules in azure costs to trigger spending alerts at the right time in the right context.

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How to get started?
The User Based Notification Settings feature can be used right now as part of every paid plan. Policy Based Alerts are part of every professional plan or higher. Try the new features today by simply logging into your azure costs portal.

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

 

A more powerful azure costs portal

After several months of constant improvements in the new azure costs spending portal it now becomes the standard user interface for all of your spendings.

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The new portal offers a lot of new features and improvements to make your day by day work much easier. In this article we would like to highlight only the most important ones, to make your start with the new azure costs spending dashboard as easy and fast as possible:

Overall Spendings
The new overall spendings widget allows you to stay informed instantly. The widget always contains all spendings accumulated over the last 12 months.

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Daily Burn Rate
An important indicator especially in cost optimization projects but also when you observe your costs on a regular basis is the daily burn rate. It’s easy to oversee what the short and mid term trend is.

Responsible Persons for Subscriptions
With this new functionality you are able to assign responsible persons to one or more subscriptions. This helps team administrators to oversee who is the single point of contact (SPOC) in case of unusual spendings.

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Switch Team – Multi Team Support
For service providers and administrators who would like to oversee the spendings of several teams, the Multi Team support makes it super easy to handle spendings over different organisations in a single portal.

Smart Compare
Smart Compare allows you to conveniently compare monthly cloud costs with the costs of any previous month. azure costs highlights cost spikes & deflections, so that you can focus on the costs you are really interested in.

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Full Screen Mode
Every widget can be used in the full screen mode as well. This gives you enough space to work on more complex spending optimization projects without scrolling and moving around. The full screen mode is optimized for working with a huge amount of different data.

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.

Integrate your applications, welcome oAuth2

The Azure Costs team is happy to announce a simplified way to integrate your applications in Azure Costs. Here is how to integrate an application in Azure Costs, that you are developing . This might for example be your BI dashboard or some other enterprise application integration platform that consumes data Azure Costs provides.

Step 1: Create an application principal

Every application which shall be integrated in Azure Costs needs to be registered as a so called application principal within a team account. The technical reason for this is that the authorisation relies on the oauth2 client credentials flow.

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The application principal can be used in the same way as an interactive user. This means it’s possible to assign specific permissions to the application principal. All features of the access rights and permissions system can be used out of the box for application principals as well.

There are no limitations, every enterprise subscription allows to create as many application principals as required. In case of exposing the client secret by accident please remove or reset the application registration to prevent unauthorized access to your spending data.

Step 2: Get an access token with the client credentials grant flow

Based on the client credentials grant flows it’s possible to get the access token which needs to be used to communicate with the Azure Costs API following the “Bearer” schema in the authorisation header. The Token can be issued with the following call:

curl -X POST -d “client_id=<<clientId>>&client_secret=<<clientSecret>>&grant_type=client_credentials” https://azure-costs.com/sts/issue/oauth/token

The generated access token is valid for 60 minutes and needs to be renewed after that time with the same request.

Step 3: Consume our APIs

The Azure Costs API is available via https://api.azure-costs.com and follows the REST paradigm. If you need more information please contact us, we will support you with your project.

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 in our dashboards.

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

Assign responsible persons to subscriptions

We feel very lucky to have  engaged users who tell us about their cloud data management challenges and the functionality that they’d like to see added to azure costs. And we listen.

We’re continually deploying additional features that our users have been asking for to azure costs and here’s a great new functionality.

Assign responsible persons to subscriptions:
With the new functionality our users are able to assign responsible persons to one or more subscriptions. This helps team administrators to oversee who is the single point of contact (SPOC) in case of unusual spendings.

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This enables every team administrator to act instantly on cost spikes what keeps cloud costs under control.

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 in our dashboards.

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