Azure Dashboards: SquaredUp vs. Azure Portal (Part 3 – Azure Cost Management)

Previously on this Azure dashboards series, we covered making dashboards natively in the Azure portal vs. SquaredUp for Azure for VMInsights and AppInsights. In this third and final part we will be comparing our dashboard experiences when it comes to cloud cost management and visualization. We’ve already talked about the resource-level cost dashboards in the previous parts, our main goal in this one is to display costs on the subscription level. Alright, let’s jump straight into it!

Task: Create a dashboard displaying the costs distribution among the cloud resources at a high level and share it with stakeholders.

Executive summary:
Azure Portal
SquaredUp

Azure Portal:

Cost management in Azure portal is a separate service and does not necessary incorporate into traditional Azure dashboards. The best you can do is to “pin” some cost visualizations to a dashboard. Let’s dive into the portal and see what we can do.

Find and open the Cost Management service in the portal.

Note that the data below is scoped at the subscription level:

Right, so I’m seeing a cost trend graph in the middle and a few donuts at the bottom that display the costs distributed by service name, location and resource groups, etc. These are customizable so I can change the parameter I want to filter these by. For example, I will group the trend graph so it illustrates individual resource groups in that subscription.

Good, this is useful. Like mentioned before, now to add this to my dashboard, I will have to pin this. I can also share this with a unique URL.

Verdict:

  1. Not incorporated into the native dashboarding service, has a separate Cost Management blade
  2. Need to pin this as a shortcut to the dashboard
  3. As the name suggests, this is more of a cost management service, not only cost analysis
  4. Scoping options are available, and filters are helpful
  5. You can only add one subscription at a time in the scope

 

SquaredUp:

SquaredUp for Azure is all about dashboards, and so they have a Cost Management tile like any other visualization – straight to the point!

And as part of the tile, different visualization formats to choose from:

Let us pick the Sun Burst and see what it can do for us. Now, scoping is always very easy and intuitive in SquaredUp, and looks like I can even choose more than one subscription! I can also filter the costs based on the resource type.

Let’s choose the timeframe now. You can choose to select the global page timeframe so all the data in the dashboards is synced up or choose the timeframe you wish.

Next up, let’s talk about the actual Sun Burst because it looks real interesting!

The Sun Burst is actually tiered, which means the concentric circles have a layered scope. The scalar value at the center is the total cost of the subscription, also represented by the smallest blue circle.

The middle circle is actually a filter that separates the cost by resource groups in that subscription:

And finally, the outermost circle reflects the actual resources themselves.

And as I click on a resource, it drops into the perspectives of that resource which gives me a more detailed set of data.

Very cool!

As always, the beauty of SquaredUp lies in its capability to display a lot of data side-by-side on the same dashboard for easy consumption. For example, I made this dashboard very quickly so I can glance over the cost of all my subscriptions on the same page.

Now, sharing this is also very easy, you either give your stakeholders direct access to the unique URL to this dashboard if they’re licensed users, or you can simply publish this on your wallboards using SquaredUp’s Open Access feature if they do not have access to the Azure portal or do not need access to SquaredUp.

 

Verdict:

  1. A simple, straight-forward cost management tile
  2. Different visualization options
  3. Easy sharing with teams with no Azure access
  4. Layered structure in the same data
  5. Multiple subscriptions can be added in the scope

 

Awesome! On this note, we’ll be concluding this quick Azure portal vs SquaredUp data visualization series. I hope you’ve found it useful.

 

Feel free to learn more about how SquaredUp can help you get a grip on your Azure costs or download the 30-day free trial of SquaredUp for Azure to try it out yourself.

If you have any questions, get in touch with the sales teams at [email protected] or the tech evangelists at [email protected], we’re always happy to hear from you!

Cheers