The Ultimate Guide to Finally Understanding Why Azure is So Expensive

Azure has been one of the best and reliable cloud platform around the world.this article will make you much more aware about azure’s services, features, and why it is perceived to be so expensive.

A brief cost and pricing overview will clear out all the doubts you have regarding azure’s price!

What are the unique services that only Azure offers to its users?

Azure is known to be one of the best cloud-computing service providers in the world. So definitely, it has many unique features which set it apart from other cloud service providers. Some are the following:

  1. 1

    Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

    Microsoft Azure helps business users to customise the cloud software, which allows users to set it up according to their business requirements and aims.

  2. 2

    Unique storage system

    Azure allows users to store data in a fast and reliable environment, and share data across different virtual machines. Unlike other cloud platforms, Azure has more data centers and delivery points, which gives you a better user experience.

  3. 3

    Azure blockchain service

    This simplifies the formation and management of blockchain networks.

  4. 4

    Azure active directory (AD)

    This is a cloud-based identity and access management solution that helps to secure and manage access to resources.

  5. 5

    Azure Cosmos DB

    This multi-model database allows users to access data anytime seamlessly.

  6. 6

    Azure sphere

    This is a unique security feature that provides a custom Linux-based operating system, a security-hardened microcontroller, and a cloud-based IoT service that provides end-to-end service for IoT users.

  7. 7

    Azure stack

    This hybrid cloud platform allows you to run Azure services on the cloud, or on-premises so that you can work across different environments.

  8. 8

    Azure machine-learning

    This platform helps you to build, deploy, and manage machine learning models.

What are the key features that make Azure so expensive?

Unlike other cloud platforms, many factors contribute to the cost of using azure. Some of these include:

  • Azure provides a special service through which customers can run their applications and services closer to their users globally, which can increase the cost.

  • Azure provides different levels of support and service level agreements (SLAs), and the cost depends on the level of support you require.

  • Data transfer costs can also be expensive, depending on how much data you transfer in and out of the accounts. For eg if your organization is large, you must have to transfer large amounts of data which will be more expensive.

  • Security and compliance services also add to the overall cost of using azure.

  • To access better features and have a better experience, azure integrates with third-party services such as database and analytical tools, which are costly.

  • Resource usage really makes your cost graph scale up and down. It depends on how many costly tools and resources you use such as; virtual machines, storage, and network. The more resources you use, the more the costs will add up.

What are the primary use cases of Azure for cloud computing?

Microsoft Azure has many use cases and customers. This is a brief overview for you to analyze azure’s uses!

  • University of Toronto

    This is one of the main research hubs in Canada, and it made use of azure by managing all IT processes on the cloud, saving time. By transferring data and working on azure cloud, many hardware costs were saved.

  • Intercontinental hotel group (IHG)

    This huge organization was based on the Azure cloud. However, they also used Azure DevOps which not only helped them secure their data better but also made software managing processes more easily.

    Another way in which azure benefited them, was by using azure StorSimple (a hybrid storage service), which helped them save more than 70% in costs. Not only this but, it also ensured safe backup of data.

  • AkzoNobel

    This famous European company utilized Microsoft Azure IoT services to to achieve better performance and connectivity at a global level.

  • Virtual desktops

    Azure provides virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) for businesses to deliver virtualized desktops and apps to their users.

  • DevOps and development

    Azure provides development tools for users to build, test, and deploy applications more easily. It also consists of an azure SaaS development kit with prebuilt codes, templates, and modular resources.

  • Internet of things (IoT)

    Device management, data ingestion, and analytics are services azure provides for IoT solutions.

  • Data and analytics

    You can store, process, and analyze large amounts of data through services such as azure SQL database, Azure Cosmos DB, and Azure data lake storage.

  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning

    Azure machine learning and azure cognitive services are two models that allow you to build and deploy machine learning models.

Azure vs AWS vs Google Cloud: A full pricing comparison

In order for you to understand all of the pricing plans, compare, and analyze, the below-mentioned are individual descriptions of each cloud pricing plan and its analysis.

Azure pricing plan

Pricing basically depends on many factors such as; location, capacity required, types of services, and the level of management required. 

A rough estimate of what you can expect monthly including storage, virtual machines, etc is around $64.

Microsoft Azure offers 3 types of pricing plans; reserved instances, spot instances, and pay-as-you-go.

  • These reserved virtual machine instances (RVMI) allow you to purchase VMs 1-3 years in advance, by which you can save up to 72% of the costs as compared to pay-as-you-go pricing.

  • Spot instances pricing plan allows you to buy unused computer power at a 90% discount rate. It involves the usage of virtual machine scale sets (VMSS) that allows you to manage spot instances and virtual machines.

  • Pay as you go pricing plan is the most commonly used plan, as it allows you to purchase services according to your usage, and billing. This is the most flexible option as it allows you to increase or decrease resources per need.

AWS pricing plan

AWS offers 5 types of pricing plans, with two of them just the same as azure; spot instances and reserved instances.

  • On-demand pricing allows you to pay per hour, or per second. This allows flexibility and enables you to save cash outflows in advance. However, it can be more expensive than reserved instances.

  • Dedicated hosts are a scheme where AWS allows you to rent physical servers which is very secure and reliable.

  • Saving plans are also offered to users which are discounts based on how long they have been using the resources.

Google cloud pricing plan

Pricing models for GCP are quite different than azure and AWS. It also offers a $300 free trial to users so that they can explore the platform.

  • Usage-based pricing

  • Build your own license (BYOL) refers to users paying directly for the solution, and are billed separately for resources provisioned.

The final analysis:

After looking at all the pricing models of each platform, you must have got an idea that the most comprehensive pricing is of AWS. It offers many models and flexibility.

However, the next best solution is Azure, as it provides many pricing models along with the most reliable security.

Google Cloud has the least diverse pricing models, however, you can choose the right platform according to your business's budget and needs.

Is Azure expensive, or are you looking at this wrong?

As described above, azure has many pricing models, but can be quite pricey for some businesses with low budgets.

However, if azure is charging more prices than other platforms, keep in mind that it is also providing the best services coming straight from one of the best platforms; Microsoft. 

So if you are seeking quality, azure is the best choice, and should not look too pricey to you!

What makes Azure special in comparison to other cloud platforms?

Azure has many special features that make it stand out from other platforms. Let's have a look:

  • Hybrid capabilities

    Azure allows users to build infrastructures where resources can work partially on premises and partially on the cloud. This allows users to control data and save costs.

  • Large data applications

    Microsoft Azure has no restrictions on the volume of data that can be processed instead, Azure HDinsight allows users to use apache hadoop, which is a power-packed service that allows users to process the largest volumes of data. This ensures smooth data crunching.

  • On-demand scalability

    During application hosting, the number of resources you need can never be perfectly predicted. However, you do not need to worry as Azure offers the most on-demand scalable service, and ensures your projects are always provided with sufficient resources.

  • Cost-effective

    As you can scale up or down by your will, it saves you from paying the upfront costs, unlike other cloud platforms. Additionally, you are offered heavy discounts for signed-up contracts.

  • Integration capabilities

    Microsoft Azure allows you to integrate with different tools such as SaaS, IaaS, Paas, etc. hence, you can utilize this ability to integrate with ERPs and CRMs to improve your business performance.

What makes other cloud providers more appealing to users than Azure?

Although Azure has many special features, there are many limitations due to which users doubt using it. Let us have a better insight into it;

  • Although azure allows transferring of large volumes of data, it charges a certain fee, which may de-motivate users to use azure.

  • Constant management and server monitoring are needed, which requires attention and manpower.

  • If ongoing cost management is ignored, it can result in uneven cost forecasts and wasted services.

  • Setting up azure can be very complicated and needs expert users and training, thus, it is known to have a steep learning curve and requires extensive knowledge. Its complexity can be a reason for clients to approach other platforms.

  • Azure has compatibility issues at times, so it is crucial to choose the right software according to your system.

Due to some of these limitations, users are sometimes more appealed to other cloud providers such as AWS or Google cloud.

Best practices on how to use Azure services for half the cost

There are numerous practices you can use to minimize the costs. Some are the following:

  • Utilize azure reservations

    This facility allows you to save up to 72% on virtual machine costs by committing to use resources on a 1-3 year term basis.

  • Azure Dev/ test pricing

    Regarding development and testing, azure dev offers many discounts compared to the standard prices.

  • Automated shutdown

    By using the azure automation service, virtual machines can be shut down during off-peak hours to save up service costs.

  • Right-sizing 

    You must ensure that the services and resources you are using match your workload requirement so that unused resources don't add up to the costs.

  • Azure cost management and billing

    This application enables you to keep a track of all the costs and spending, which can help you in managing and planning costs in a better way.

  • Azure free tier

    Azure offers a free tier of services and a limited number of free virtual machine hours per month.

  • Azure content delivery network (CDN)

    The cost of serving content by caching the content closer to users and reducing the amount of data transferred can be reduced by using the Azure content delivery network.

  • Use managed disks

    Unlike unmanaged disks, managed disks offer better reliability and scalability, as well as simplify the management of virtual machine disks.

  • Azure elastic database

    Azure SQL Elastic Database pools allow you to pool resources together, and share them with various database workloads. This helps in the reduction of unused resources in each database.

  • Azure advisor

    Azure advisor helps you to track your business’s logs, usage metrics, and resource settings in order to provide recommendations on how you can improve cost savings, reliability, etc.

  • Azure hybrid trick

    By taking advantage of Azure hybrid, you can use your existing license for your on-premises SQL server, and windows server licenses on Azure cloud. This means you can utilize your license in many ways, without additional charges.

What is the future of azure in the cloud computing world?

Microsoft has been the most reliable and scalable platform throughout, which makes its certification very valuable. Any company that is Microsoft azure certified holds a lot of value. It is predicted that by 2025, 80% of organizations will switch to the cloud. 

Many new features and services are soon to be introduced by Azure, which means you can improve and boost your career opportunities and business success.

Bottom line

Whether your business is small or large, azure is the best fit for you. Although there are many cloud service providers, Azure offers the most reliable and secure services, along with seamless transfer and storage all over the world's databases. 

If you are thinking of investing in a cloud service, Microsoft Azure will be the perfect fit. Additionally, Microsoft has been working on making its software easier to use, more reliable, and more secure.

Get ready to advance your company's growth and business fluency, we wish you a very successful and easy journey ahead!

About the author


Youssef is a Senior Cloud Consultant & Founder of

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