No matter what stage your business is at, you need to track your spending and plan for the future. This is where Microsoft Azure Cost Management is useful, and the developers are always tweaking and optimising the software for the end user. It helps empower businesses to achieve more by spending less, and it's just had a new batch of improvements. There have also been updates to Azure Firewall to keep security at maximum.
Microsoft Azure Cost Management
All organisations with cloud operations rely on partners to keep things going. Azure Cost Management is now getting an ongoing focus on capabilities to optimise its workings for these partnerships. Whichever side of the partnership you are on, you will find new features in Azure to efficiently manage resources together for optimal results. Up to 100 public IP addresses can now be associated with your Azure firewall, helping to keep interactions with partners safe and secure.
Central management via partner solutions
Azure Firewall public REST APIs are available to select third-party security tools for a centralised experience. These tools are:
✔ Barracuda Cloud Security Guardian
✔ AlgoSec CloudFlow
✔ Tufin Orca
Azure Marketplace usage for pay-as-you-go subscriptions enables you to manage costs by getting them all into a single place, with a single taxonomy. This will make the process of managing billed charges simpler and quicker for greater efficiency. Azure Firewall's availability has increased alongside this with Availability Zones, increasing the availability to as high as 99.99% uptime.
Cost management labs
This enables you to access the very latest cost management enhancements and features. You can participate by selecting Cost Management from Azure Home, where you can test preview features and give your feedback on how they could be improved in future. There will be lots of new features arriving, so keep coming back and checking. Currently, you can:
✔ Save/share customised views in cost analysis: once you have customised your view, simply pin it to the dashboard and then share that dashboard with your team to enable everyone to track costs from a centralised place.
✔ You can also download a customised view in cost analysis as an image, which can then be shared.
✔ Various minor bug fixes have been implemented.
Your organisation will have its own unique structures and challenges. Perhaps you get a single Azure invoice, or perhaps you need different ones for each department. If you're multi-national, with billing accounts in various currencies, it is now possible to view costs in multiple currencies in the portal. In future, Azure will convert costs into a single currency for clarity. Azure Firewall is now previewing SQL FQDN to enable users to limit access from VNets to specified SQL server instances - this feature is currently supported in non-proxy mode only, port 1433.
Managing EA departments/policies
Enterprise Agreement lets you use the Enterprise portal to monitor usage, monetary commitment credits and additional monthly charges. This can also be done in the Azure portal, with more in-depth cost analysis and greater control over budgeting. Now, you can also create and manage departments/policy settings from Azure, wherein you can organise subscriptions and delegate access to accounts, along with a host of other great features.
Tagging helps you categorise resources outside of the built-in hierarchy. Add custom metadata and build custom reports using cost analysis. You can now apply up to 50 tags, up from just 15 previously, to enhance your reporting capabilities.
Azure HDInsight FQDN tag
Since HDInsight has outbound infrastructure dependencies on other Azure services, it is at risk of data exfiltration. Azure Firewall can now restrict outbound access so that only your data can be accessed, helping increase organisation security.
There have also been updates to various bits of documentation within Azure to reflect the new features and improvements. Microsoft is always listening to user feedback and making improvements, so check back regularly for news on the latest updates.
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