License management is one way to save money. Licenses, especially for Microsoft Windows Server with an enterprise agreement, may be used with Azure systems, explains Boyd. “Use Azure Hybrid Benefit to apply those licenses and reduce your Azure service cost.” The same goes for Windows Server VM and SQL Server licenses.
Besides better license management, Boyd suggests training yourself to think of servers as a utility cost, not a sunk upfront cost as in the past. “You pay for real consumption, and every provisioned unit.” Poorly configured servers with more RAM, CPUs, and storage than necessary cost extra money every minute. Even properly configured workloads should be turned off when unnecessary, such as virtual desktop infrastructure instances after hours.
Boyd also likes to save on servers that run constantly but don’t change. “You can create a volume discount for reserved instances or reservations for configured servers that stay the same.”
Finally, he suggests learning to use subscriptions in Azure, which function like a boundary in billing and access control, then use Azure Management Groups to control those subscriptions.
Most channel pros, and increasingly many of their customers, know they need to go to the cloud, and Mushkatin doesn’t sugar coat the challenges of Azure management such as the hundreds of services in Azure that all send out release notes. “You have to keep up with everything,” he stresses. Menu redesigns may annoy your customers, but API changes will break your applications.
Hardware techs will need retraining, says Boyd, because “Azure deploys with code,” not hardware.
Channel pros may want to follow Katikaneni’s playbook on that. Since his company went all in on Azure in 2015, his techs got up to speed quickly because the company trained a few at first and then they helped the others.