Microsoft open sources Azure bill analysis tool

Portal to help devs remember that cluster they ran last week and don't need any more

One of the problems users run into in the cloud is that the cost of using servers-for-rent can sometimes be surprising.

You might think that Microsoft doesn't mind if that happens: your carelessness ends up in its coffers. Redmond under Satya Nadella is, however, often rather less cynical and that attitude’s reflected in the new Azure Usage and Billing Portal you can get by clicking that link back there and having fun with GitHub.

Microsoft says the tool was developed by "a small group within the Developer Experience team" asked to "enable visibility of Azure usage across multiple subscriptions to keep track of billing as well as to ensure resources weren’t left running after projects and events had finished."

The tool wields Azure's Resource Usage and RateCard APIs and, once you feed it your subscription details, produces daily data dumps you can drive into Power BI dashboards.

Redmond's not being entirely altruistic as you need an AzureSQL database to run the tool, which will keep the cash flowing to Microsoft even as you work to manage your costs. On the upside, the tool can work with three years' worth of data and give you all manner of analyses about consumption rates and costs incurred.

The Azure team reckons the Portal will allow better use of Azure and also help to avoid bill shock that comes when developers forget about stuff they left running in the cloud. ®

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