There’s no peace in the monitoring area for Microsoft, especially on the Azure side. This week we had the third billing model change in the last 4 years. The good news is current customers can retain their current billing model or opt-in for the new one, the bad news is this is a per-subscription choice.
If you want to know more about the monitoring solutions you can leverage on Azure you can read “Azure Monitoring state of the union“.
Now the point is, it’s not easy to find a way to bill for monitoring and that’s a fact. At the same time the new offer is really fragmented, if you want to implement the various components for Azure monitoring you’re going to face the following models:
- Azure monitoring billing, a per consumption model covering alerting, API queries, metrics ingested and notifications. Metrics can be maintained for 90 days if you need more you need to ingest them into Log Analytics.
- Azure Log Analytics billing, moved back to a per consumption model but with a 30% increase in price from the current “Per GB (Stand Alone)” pricing. You’re billed for ingested data and for data kept over 31 days. The good news is almost all solutions are now included. The other important news is that now you can control the amount of ingested data, alas currently this setting is per workspace and not per node. So if one node goes crazy you cannot just quarantine that node, but all the workspace is impacted.
- Network watcher billing is separate from the others, it comprises ingested data, checks performed, number of connections monitored and ping mesh. The Network Analytics solution is instead billed within Log Analytics.
- Application Insights billing has moved to a pure consumption model with ingested data billed in the Log Analytics space and multi-step web tests billed separately.
- Azure Security Center billing is still per node with a quota of ingested data included, that should cover the vast majority of customers scenarios, and a billing for overage data and data kept over the 31 days threshold. In this case the overage data and data retention are billed with the old log analytics prices.
- Automation and change tracking/configuration management have a mixed model based on consumption and nodes (nodes are billed only for systems not running on Azure). Update management is free, you pay only for the ingested data in Log Analytics.
Now it is clear that giving an estimate on how much monitoring would cost won’t be easy. Moreover it is still unclear the interaction and the billing model for the Security and Compliance solution when implemented exclusively in Log Analytics versus integrated with Azure Security Center. I have customers that are billed with the Log Analytics model or the Azure Security Center model based on some unclear logic. Hopefully Microsoft will spread some light on this.
As I stated the choice between the old and the new pricing model is per-subscription and can be done in the Monitor blade in the Azure portal. Another cool feature that has been introduced is the ability to compare the current cost with the cost with the new model.
I run this estimates for a few customers of ours, here are my findings:
- customers using the Security and Compliance solution with a per node billing today with low level of ingested data. Moving to the new model they can cut their billing from one half to one fifth. So the new model is extremely convenient.
- customers running Log Analytics with several solutions including the Security and Compliance solution with the “Per GB (Standalone)” model will see an increase of about 30% of their billing
I didn’t take into account the alerting part in these estimates. So basically there’s no fixed rule to tell if the new model is cheaper or more expensive of the current one, but Azure gives as a chance to check for it before taking any decision.