Software

Use the free Azure price calculator to determine what services will cost before you sign up

Microsoft's free Azure price calculator can determine what cloud services you need and how much they will cost before you commit enterprise resources. Here's how it works.

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Image: Microsoft News/Naoise Culhane

With all of the articles, whitepapers, and blog posts describing the benefits of cloud computing published on TechRepublic over the years, you'd think most enterprises would have gotten the message by now. But that is not the case. There are still some holdouts clinging to old ways and outdated thinking.

Put simply, no matter what business you are in, and regardless of enterprise size, cloud computing offers quantifiable, measurable benefits at reasonable cost—benefits that can empower employees, inspire innovation, and increase profits. Not taking advantage of these cloud computing benefits is just bad business strategy.

One of the most often-cited obstacles preventing cloud computing deployment and adoption in the enterprise is the uncertainty of cost—both in the initial cost of deployment and in the recurring cost of daily use. Microsoft is attempting to alleviate this common obstacle by providing a cost calculator for its suite of cloud computing solutions known as Azure. The Azure price calculator is quick, easy, and free—how can you say no to that?

SEE: Microsoft Azure: The smart person's guide

Calculator

While using the Azure price calculator, it is important to keep in mind that Azure is not a single application, but a set of cloud-based tools—dozens of them. Some of these tools stand alone, while some are dependent on other tools in the suite for data. Therefore, while the calculator will certainly determine the cost associated with your choice of services, it also functions as a configuration manager to help you choose the right services for your enterprise and the task to be accomplished.

The multitude of available services under the Azure umbrella can be a bit overwhelming, and there are certainly more services than can be listed in this article. But the price calculator does a good job of laying out your options and then collecting your choices into a digestible summary.

For my example, I chose several services I would like to experiment with, specifically as they relate to Power BI, which I am researching for another project. My choices are:

  • Machine learning studio: 10GB storage
  • Cognitive services: A maximum of 5,000 transactions
  • Storage: 10GB of files
  • Azure Active Directory: Single person multi-factor authentication
  • Basic support: Free

As you can see in Figure A, according to the price calculator, those Azure services would cost me $2.38 per month, which is not likely to break the bank of any enterprise, let alone a one-man operation like mine.

Figure A

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Of course, as you add services, users, and capacity, the calculator will compute the additional cost and then add it to the total so you can see just how much the Azure services will cost. Raising the users for my choice of services from one to 10 would increase the monthly cost to $23.53. Hardly what you would call a capital expense, especially if you compare Azure to on-premise servers and systems.

SEE: Microsoft Azure launches 3 new tools to speed migration to hybrid cloud and optimize deployment

Bottom line

Microsoft Azure offers dozens of useful cloud services for a reasonable price. Determining what services to purchase and how much they will cost does not require a committee or a series of tedious budget meetings. For SMB enterprises in particular, choosing Azure services can be accomplished with a simple and free to use price calculator.

Deploying cloud services for your enterprise is really not difficult or expensive, but deploying the right cloud services could be the very catalyst your enterprise needs to rise above your competition. In just a few minutes, and with a few clicks of the mouse, you could join the cloud computing revolution. It could make all the difference in the world.

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Your thoughts

Is your enterprise using cloud services? If not, what's holding you back? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.

About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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