How to Get the Most out of Your Azure Subscription

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How to Get the Most out of Your Azure cloud computing

 Microsoft Azure offers plenty of cloud services to help you build, deploy, and manage applications, including virtual machines that allow you to run your code in the cloud. It’s cloud computing to create as many virtual machines as you need within a subscription, but there are limits on how many you can have running at once. If you have too many active VMs, it might be time to optimize and eliminate some from your lineup so that you’re not paying for servers that aren’t in use or aren’t being fully utilized. 

 What is your existing usage? 

If you’re already using some Azure services, find your subscription ID and click on Log Analytics under Usage & Billing on your portal. You’ll be able to see current usage statistics in real time. Note how many virtual machines are running across all services and how much storage is used as well. This is important because it will inform how many extra subscriptions you need (one for each VM) and how much storage you can use (you won’t be able to exceed your total billing amount, which includes all services). It will also tell you which level of service has enough room for growth: Basic, Standard or Premium. 

 Compute Virtual Machines, Virtual Machine Scale Sets and App Service Plans 

 You get a maximum number of virtual machines across all services within each computer SKU. It doesn’t matter whether you deploy your virtual machines in Virtual Machine scale sets or with App Service plans, so long as they are in the same service: Virtual Machines, Virtual Machine Scale Sets or App Service Plans. Each subscription also has a capacity limit when using more than one VM size per service. But in many cases there is no practical limit on how many VMs you can run. For example, if you start by using a Basic SKU (one compute unit and no F-series VMs), your maximum is 10 VMs. 

 Storage Accounts, Cloud Drive, Table Storage 

 If you expect to be working with a lot of data in your application, consider storing that data outside of your virtual machines. Not only will you save money on storage costs but you’ll also free up resources for your applications. For example, if you are hosting an e-commerce site or some other service that has a lot of images and user uploaded files, it is probably best to keep them somewhere else so they don’t take up space on your virtual machine drives. If you want more information about how you can do this, check out our post about working with Blob Storage and Table Storage . 

 Networking Virtual Networks, Traffic Manager, CDN Gateways 

 If you have a few VMs that need to communicate with each other (or with an on-premises network), don’t set up a virtual network. The added complexity doesn’t make sense for such a small deployment. You can, however, enable your traffic manager and CDN gateway features in order to save money and improve performance. These features will also allow you to take advantage of geo-redundant services without setting up redundant virtual networks in different regions. 

 Application Services Batch, Logic Apps, Functions (new), WebJobs (new) 

These services allow you to upload scripts or code (e.g., .NET, Python, Node.js) for processing by a cloud service. For example, you could use WebJobs to execute a PHP script that connects with an on-premises SQL database and insert new data into a table every five minutes. This is more cost-effective than having your own server to run and maintain because all processing is handled by Azure. You also don’t have to worry about scaling up as needed because it’s done automatically as demand increases and shrinks. 

Other Services Cosmos DB, Key Vault 

Regardless of how much you may cloud computing them, there is a hard limit on SQL databases, storage accounts, virtual machines, etc. The important thing is to understand these limits and plan your deployment accordingly. Thankfully you can always upgrade your service tier if you run into problems and these days upgrading isn’t as painful as it used to be.  

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