One of the brightest people I know likes to say that “the cloud is not a charity” and that is true. While I will add that many businesses go to the cloud because it is the right platform for their technology needs, the economics have to part of the process of managing this IT footprint.

While I am not a cloud economist (that is a job title by the way), I do want to find tools that will help me manage the economics of cloud spend efficiently. Today, I want to go through setting up an Azure Budget. An Azure budget is a capability within the Azure Cost Management solution, and is easy to set up. The figure below shows where I can get started:

Budgets are made in the Cost Management section of the Azure portal.

By default, the Azure Budget will make a recommendation based on historical usage. This will not be a good approach for my account, as I have recently taken a much needed diversion and am focusing on Azure a lot. For my test-dev Azure account, I’m going to set a budget of USD $195 per month, and hold that through the rest of this year. I’ve decided to keep this aligned to a billing month, but I can also make this look annually, quarterly, monthly on a calendar, etc. You know, all the standard financial and management mumbo jumbo. Here’s how I have it set:

I’d use more than USD $185 if you were paying.

The second step of creating a budget is to set alerts, which is where it can get interesting. I will set 80% budget alert to then send me an email as such, and I’ve put in two emails. This way I’ll be able to view it more easily. If I get alerts often, I’ll put in the email address that is the text my phone address. I’m also curious if the Azure mobile app will give me a notification (feature request if not!). The final step of creating the budget is shown below:

A budget is made, let’s see how I do.

The budget as I created it is for all services in this Azure account. One of the cool things (which I will cover in the next post) is how you can create a budget around an Action Group. For budget purposes, an Action Group would be very helpful to have a budget by a particular service. As this budget is now, I have to see what service(s) have caused the threshold to go up. For test-dev, this would be fine, but not the case for production.

Do you use Azure budgets, if so, how? Share your comments below.