Azure edit

Today I’m excited to announce that we’ve released the Azure Usage and Billing Portal as an open source project on GitHub. The Azure Usage and Billing Portal is a solution which enables you to review the usage and resulting billing information across multiple subscriptions. Currently, if you are an Azure consumer using multiple subscriptions, you’re options for viewing all of the usage over any given time period aren’t that great. The Azure Portal enables you to view usage and billing for individual subscriptions one at a time (both a breakdown of current charges, cost by service, and cost by resource) but if you’re using multiple subscriptions, trying to review all of the information there is inefficient. Furthermore, you are able to download a CSV file of Azure consumption for each subscription, but that is a manual process and would require processing afterwards.

Last year, Microsoft announced new APIs to provide a way to programmatically pull information on usage and rate cards for your subscriptions. Included in that announcement were a number of samples demonstrating how you can pull information for your own subscriptions. When this announcment came out, we had already been seeing requests from customers we were working with for a way to visualize and track their spend. This spurred my team into action to build something which would make consuming and seeing this data easier.

Once deployed, you can now register any subscriptions you want so that the daily usage will be polled and displayed in an easy to use Power BI dashboard. This dashboard enables you to slice data in many ways including by subscription, by resource type, by resource name, by geo, by date, and more. Furthermore, you can use the SQL Database that stores the usage and billing to build any sort of interface / alerting on top of the data you want.

Mustafa Kasap, the lead engineer on this project, wrote up a great blog post describing the project a bit more including some helpful images.

We’ve got a lot of plans for future feature additions and already a few issues to fix. We welcome any contributions or feedback on the project either on the blog posts or as issues on the GitHub site.

I’ve held off on updating my blog to really talk about Azure Mobile Apps as I was waiting for the .NET and Node.js backends for Mobile Apps to GA. Now that they have, I think it’s time to point every one in that direction. I’ve posted quite a lot on using Azure Mobile Services as the backend for Android, iOS, Windows, Xamarin, and PhoneGap apps, and many of the things I’ve talked about are still important, but people should be thinking about using Azure Mobile Apps instead of Mobile Services to backend their mobile apps going forward. I’ve put a link in all of my posts directing people here so that I can explain what’s new with Azure Mobile Apps and why you should look at them.

Azure Mobile Apps

Azure Mobile Apps is a Platform-as-a-Service that exist to provide an easy way to set up a backend for mobile applications (running on any OS). These backends support several features out of the box including: easy data storage, user authentication and authorization, push notifications, backend job processing, and much more. Using something like Mobile Apps enables you to have a powerful backend that you don’t have to spend valuable time building so that you can focus on building the best client applications you can. Several years ago, Microsoft released a service named Azure Mobile Services. This was effectively the first version of a backend service inside Azure. That means that Azure Mobile Apps is version 2. In addition to all of the features that Mobile Services provided, Mobile Apps provides additional funcationlity including easy and more powerful scaling, deployment slots, traffic routing and management, VPN support, and much more.

Going forward, anyone looking at using a backend service in Azure for their mobile applications should be looking at the Azure Mobile Apps service. I’ll be posting more about using Azure Mobile Apps soon, but wanted to point people in the right direction. You can find below a number of links relevant to Azure Mobile Apps and converting from Mobile Services: