Can you believe it’s Wednesday already? And SO cold outside! 🥶 Welcome to this edition of Interesting Stuff, your fortnightly dose of things I think you’ll find interesting if you’re in the world of Azure, partners, small businesses, and Microsoft.

I’m James Marshall, an Azure Success Manager at Microsoft, and if you find this content useful, please remember to subscribe and share this with your network. Thank you! 😎

Some Thoughts

In my last edition, I wrote about how being creative with your virtual machines, you could achieve better savings than defaulting to a reserved instance.

In this post we’ll look at how Azure Savings Plans work, how they differ from reserved instances, and how they can help you optimise your infrastructure design and bring down your compute costs even further.

What are Azure Savings Plans?

Azure Savings Plans are a flexible and simple way to save money on Azure compute services, such as virtual machines, Azure Kubernetes Service, Azure App Service, Azure Functions, and more. Unlike reserved instances, which require you to specify the instance type, size, region, and operating system upfront, Azure Savings Plans only require you to commit to a certain amount of usage per hour, measured in dollars, for a one or three-year term. You can then use any eligible compute service in any region and any operating system, and the savings will automatically apply to your usage.

For example, if you purchase a one-year Azure Savings Plan for $100/hour, you can use any combination of compute services that add up to $100/hour, such as 50 VMs in one region, 25 VMs in another region, and 25 Azure Kubernetes Service clusters in a third region. You will pay the discounted rate for the $100/hour usage, and the regular pay-as-you-go rate for any usage above that amount.

How Azure Savings Plans Can Help You Optimise Your Infrastructure Design

One of the benefits of Azure Savings Plans is that they allow you to save money on your compute services without compromising on your infrastructure design. You can still use the best compute service for your workload, and you can still scale up or down as needed. You can also take advantage of Azure’s global network of regions and availability zones and choose the best location for your applications and data. You can also use different operating systems, such as Windows, Linux, or hybrid, and enjoy the same level of savings.

By using Azure Savings Plans, you can also improve your infrastructure design by following some good practices, such as:

  • Right-sizing your compute resources: You can use Azure Advisor, a free tool that provides personalised recommendations for optimising your Azure resources, to identify and resize any underutilised or overprovisioned compute resources. By right-sizing your compute resources, you can reduce your usage and your costs, and free up more capacity for your Azure Savings Plan.

  • Using spot instances: You can use Azure Spot Virtual Machines, which offer up to 90% discounts on pay-as-you-go prices, for your interruptible or non-critical workloads, such as dev/test, batch processing, or backup. By using spot instances, you can lower your compute costs and your Azure Savings Plan commitment, and only pay for the compute resources you need.

  • Using hybrid benefits: You can use Azure Hybrid Benefit, which allows you to use your existing eligible Windows Server and SQL Server licenses on Azure. By using hybrid benefits, you can lower your operating system costs and your Azure Savings Plan commitment and maximise the value of your existing licenses.

By following these good practices, you can not only save money on your Azure compute services, but also improve your infrastructure design and performance, and deliver better value to your organisation.


Azure Savings Plans are a fairly new pricing model that offers significant discounts on Azure compute services in exchange for a commitment of a consistent amount of usage for a one or three-year term. Azure Savings Plans can help lower compute costs compared to pay-as-you-go rates and reserved instances. Azure Savings Plans can also help you optimise your infrastructure design and performance, by allowing you to use any eligible compute service in any region and any operating system, and by following some best practices, such as right-sizing, using spot instances, and using hybrid benefits.

Interesting Stuff from Others

One of the best videos to recap and expand on reserved instances and Azure Savings Plans is from John Savill. If you’re struggling to get your head around the conceptual differences and where they work together, you should check it out!

Until next time…

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