One the biggest challenges in helping customers to get comfortable with Microsoft Azure is helping them to estimate the costs of hosting workloads in Azure. As an organization that happily hosts 100% of our System Center 2012 R2 Service Manager (Service Manager) workloads in Azure VMs, we want to help others to make the move to the cloud with confidence.
Today, we are happy to announce availability of the Microsoft Azure Cost Calculator for System Center 2012 R2 Service Manager from Cireson!
For best results, we recommend that you read this short article entirely before you begin. It should answer most of the frequently asked questions we received in initial testing. (Plus, I could not miss an opportunity to say RTFM, could I?)
The goals of the Azure Cost Calculator are simple:
- To help everyone easily estimate costs of hosting Service Manager + Cireson in Azure….even if you are not an expert on Microsoft Azure or Service Manager.
- To present costs clearly based on common configuration preferences we hear from customers.
- To deliver context with the estimated costs by providing a high-level solution architecture for. Service Manager + Cireson hosted in Azure, based on their selections in the calculator.
Next, we will walk through the calculator to see how it works.
How it works
The Azure Cost Calculator will calculate the estimated monthly costs for hosting your Service Manager environment in Azure, based on a number of relevant criteria, including:
- The size of your organization (number of employees and computers)
- Activity (number of work items per month)
- Your desire to deploy certain components (like the Data Warehouse)
- The need for high availability SQL (we’ve seen some orgs decide to skip AlwaysOn in Azure )
- SQL licensing (if you are bringing SQL licensing to Azure, recurring costs are lower)
While a calculator is not a substitute for a detailed architecture guide, we do feel should provide the promised answers with additional context for the estimates and recommendations.
Using the Calculator (Step-by-Step)
What follows is a step-by-step walkthrough of a result presented by the Azure Cost Calculator.
Download the file from Codeplex using the list provided at the end of this article. Unzip the file containing the calculator (an .xlsx file) to a local drive on your computer.
IMPORTANT: Do not rename the Excel file, as one or two dynamic links in Excel are dependent on the file name!
The first screen provides a brief explanation of the calculator’s intended purpose. Give it a quick read and then click the ‘Let’s get started!’ button to move on to the requirements gathering.
Figure 1. Azure Cost Calculator Intro Page
On the 1. Service Manager Requirements Questionnaire page, answer the questions to the best of your ability, placing your answers in the spaces provided in orange. These answers help determine database sizing, as well as server infrastructure and licensing needs.
NOTE: If you are unsure what answer is expected, you can click on the answer box for a tool tip providing additional guidance.
When you have answered all the questions, click Submit to view estimated costs.
Figure 2. Service Manager Requirements Questionnaire page
NOTE: You will find throughout the calculator that fields not intended for direct edit are locked. This is to ensure formulas are not accidentally removed or overwritten.
Azure Cost Estimates
The 2. Azure Cost Estimates page shows a listing of expected server counts and costs, based on your answers to the questions on the previous page. Want to change an answer? Just click the Back button, make your changes and click Submit again!
Costs are itemized by compute, storage (space and transactions) and data transfer (egress) and SQL licensing (a significant cost if you don’t already own). Data egress and storage transactions are tough to estimate and based on our own experience in Azure, so these are based on estimates using data from our own environment.
Notice you are provided with both a test and production environment costs, with some explanation out to the right (not pictured) that explains some important aspects of cost a bit further, along with some moving-saving tips.
Want to see the solution architecture behind the pricing? Just click the click HERE link to see details of the solution architecture.
Figure 3. Azure Cost Estimates page
Recommended Solution Architecture
The recommended solution architecture page provides a list of VM counts and sizes, as well as the recommended high availability configuration, based on your answers. High availability recommendations are based on supported / best practices, unless you indicated you did not want high availability.
Figure 4. Recommended Solution Architecture page
NOTE: As mentioned above the recommendations, a job aid like the Azure Cost Calculator is not a substitute for detailed architectural guidance. To the right of the results are instructions for how to request a copy of Cireson’s Azure Reference Architecture document for running Service Manager + Cireson in the cloud.
Where to get it
You can download the Cireson Azure Cost Calculator for System Center 2012 R2 Service Manager from Codeplex at https://ciresondevops.codeplex.com/releases/view/617035.
Questions and Comments
Please send your questions and other suggestions for improvements to the Azure Cost Calculator to firstname.lastname@example.org.