Azure Monitor cost and usage

This article describes the different ways that Azure Monitor charges for usage, how to evaluate charges on your Azure bill, and how to estimate charges to monitor your entire environment.

Pricing model

Azure Monitor uses a consumption-based pricing (pay-as-you-go) billing model where you only pay for what you use. Features of Azure Monitor that are enabled by default do not incur any charge. This includes collection and alerting on the Activity log and collection and analysis of platform metrics.

Several other features don't have a direct cost, but you instead pay for the ingestion and retention of data that they collect. The following table describes the different types of usage that are charged in Azure Monitor. Detailed pricing for each is provided in Azure Monitor pricing.

Type Description
Logs Ingestion, retention, and export of data in Log Analytics workspaces and legacy Application insights resources. This will typically be the bulk of Azure Monitor charges for most customers. There is no charge for querying this data except in the case of Basic Logs or Archived Logs.

Charges for Logs can vary significantly on the configuration that you choose. See Azure Monitor Logs pricing details for details on how charges for Logs data are calculated and the different pricing tiers available.
Platform Logs Processing of diagnostic and auditing information is charged for certain services when sent to destinations other than a Log Analytics workspace. There's no direct charge when this data is sent to a Log Analytics workspace, but there is a charge for the workspace data ingestion and collection.
Metrics There is no charge for standard metrics collected from Azure resources. There is a cost for cost for collecting custom metrics and for retrieving metrics from the REST API.
Alerts Charged based on the type and number of signals used by the alert rule, its frequency, and the type of notification used in response. For log alerts configured for at scale monitoring, the cost will also depend on the number of time series created by the dimensions resulting from your query.
Web tests There is a cost for standard web tests and multi-step web tests in Application Insights. Multi-step web tests have been deprecated.

Data transfer charges

Sending data to Azure Monitor can incur data bandwidth charges. As described in the Azure Bandwidth pricing page, data transfer between Azure services located in two regions charged as outbound data transfer at the normal rate, although data sent to a different region via Diagnostic Settings does not incur data transfer charges. Inbound data transfer is free. Data transfer charges are typically very small compared to the costs for data ingestion and retention. Controlling costs for Log Analytics should focus on your ingested data volume.

Estimate Azure Monitor usage and costs

If you're new to Azure Monitor, you can use the Azure Monitor pricing calculator to estimate your costs. In the Search box, enter Azure Monitor, and then select the Azure Monitor tile. The pricing calculator will help you estimate your likely costs based on your expected utilization.

The bulk of your costs will typically be from data ingestion and retention for your Log Analytics workspaces and Application Insights resources. It's difficult to give accurate estimates for data volumes that you can expect since they'll vary significantly based on your configuration. A common strategy is to enable monitoring for a small group of resources and use the observed data volumes with the calculator to determine your costs for a full environment. See Analyze usage in Log Analytics workspace for queries and other methods to measure the billable data in your Log Analytics workspace.

Following is basic guidance that you can use for common resources.

  • Virtual machines. With typical monitoring enabled, a virtual machine will generate between 1 GB to 3 GB of data per month. This is highly dependent on the configuration of your agents.
  • Application Insights. See the following section for different methods to estimate data from your applications.
  • Container insights. See Estimating costs to monitor your AKS cluster for guidance on estimating data for your AKS cluster.

The Azure Monitor pricing calculator includes data volume estimation calculators for these three cases.

Note

The billable data volume is calculated using a customer friendly, cost-effective method. The billed data volume is defined as the size of the data that will be stored, excluding a set of standard columns and any JSON wrapper that was part of the data received for ingestion. This billable data volume is substantially smaller than the size of the entire JSON-packaged event, often less than 50%. It is essential to understand this calculation of billed data size when estimating costs and comparing to other pricing models. Learn more.

Estimate application usage

There are two methods that you can use to estimate the amount of data from an application monitored with Application Insights.

Learn from what similar applications collect

In the Azure Monitoring Pricing calculator for Application Insights, enable Estimate data volume based on application activity which allows you to provide inputs about your application. The calculator will then tell you the median and 90th percentile amount of data collected by similar applications. These applications span the range of Application Insights configuration, so you can still use options such as sampling to reduce the volume of data you ingest for your application below the median level.

Data collection when using sampling

With the ASP.NET SDK's adaptive sampling, the data volume is adjusted automatically to keep within a specified maximum rate of traffic for default Application Insights monitoring. If the application produces a low amount of telemetry, such as when debugging or due to low usage, items won't be dropped by the sampling processor as long as volume is below the configured events per second level. For a high volume application, with the default threshold of five events per second, adaptive sampling will limit the number of daily events to 432,000. Considering a typical average event size of 1 KB, this corresponds to 13.4 GB of telemetry per 31-day month per node hosting your application since the sampling is done local to each node.

For SDKs that don't support adaptive sampling, you can employ ingestion sampling, which samples when the data is received by Application Insights based on a percentage of data to retain, or fixed-rate sampling for ASP.NET, ASP.NET Core, and Java websites to reduce the traffic sent from your web server and web browsers

Viewing Azure Monitor usage and charges

There are two primary tools to view and analyze your Azure Monitor billing and estimated charges.

  • Azure Cost Management + Billing is the primary tool that you'll use to analyze your usage and costs. It gives you multiple options to analyze your monthly charges for different Azure Monitor features and their projected cost over time.
  • Usage and Estimated Costs provides a listing of monthly charges for different Azure Monitor features. This is particularly useful for Log Analytics workspaces where it helps you to select your pricing tier by showing how your cost would be different at different tiers.

Azure Cost Management + Billing

Azure Cost Management + Billing includes several built-in dashboards for deep cost analysis like cost by resource and invoice details. To get started analyzing your Azure Monitor charges, open Cost Management + Billing in the Azure portal. Select Cost Management and then Cost analysis. Select your subscription or another scope.

Note

You might need additional access to Cost Management data. See Assign access to Cost Management data.

To limit the view to Azure Monitor charges, create a filter for the following Service names:

  • Azure Monitor
  • Application Insights
  • Log Analytics
  • Insight and Analytics

Other services such as Microsoft Defender for Cloud and Microsoft Sentinel also bill their usage against Log Analytics workspace resources, so you may want to add them to your filter. See Common cost analysis uses for details on using this view.

Screenshot that shows Azure Cost Management with cost information.

Note

Alternatively, you can go to the Overview page of a Log Analytics workspace or Application Insights resource and click View Cost in the upper right corner of the Essentials section. This will launch the Cost Analysis from Azure Cost Management + Billing already scoped to the workspace or application. Screenshot of option to view cost for Log Analytics workspace.

Download usage

To gain more understanding of your usage, you can download your usage from the Azure portal and see usage per Azure resource in the downloaded spreadsheet. See Tutorial: Create and manage exported data for a tutorial, including how to automatically create a daily report that you can use for regular analysis.

Usage from your Log Analytics workspaces can be found by first filtering on the Meter Category column to show Log Analytics, Insight and Analytics (used by some of the legacy pricing tiers), and Azure Monitor (used by commitment tier pricing tiers). Add a filter on the Instance ID column for contains workspace or contains cluster. The usage is shown in the Consumed Quantity column, and the unit for each entry is shown in the Unit of Measure column.

Application Insights meters

Most Application Insights usage for both classic and workspace-based resources is reported on meters with Log Analytics for Meter Category, because there's a single log back end for all Azure Monitor components. Only Application Insights resources on legacy pricing tiers and multiple-step web tests are reported with Application Insights for Meter Category. The usage is shown in the Consumed Quantity column, and the unit for each entry is shown in the Unit of Measure column. See understand your Microsoft Azure bill for more details.

To separate costs from your Log Analytics or Application Insights usage, create a filter on Resource type. To see all Application Insights costs, filter Resource type to microsoft.insights/components. For Log Analytics costs, filter Resource type to microsoft.operationalinsights/workspaces.

Usage and estimated costs

You can get additional usage details about Log Analytics workspaces and Application Insights resources from the Usage and Estimated Costs option for each.

Log Analytics workspace

To learn about your usage trends and choose the most cost-effective commitment tier for your Log Analytics workspace, select Usage and Estimated Costs from the Log Analytics workspace menu in the Azure portal.

Usage and estimated costs

This view includes the following:

A. Estimated monthly charges based on usage from the past 31 days using the current pricing tier.
B. Estimated monthly charges using different commitment tiers.
C. Billable data ingestion by solution from the past 31 days.

To explore the data in more detail, click on the icon in the upper-right corner of either chart to work with the query in Log Analytics.

Logs view

Application insights

To learn about your usage trends for your classic Application Insights resource, select Usage and Estimated Costs from the Applications menu in the Azure portal.

Application Insights classic application usage and estimated costs

This view includes the following:

A. Estimated monthly charges based on usage from the past month.
B. Billable data ingestion by table from the past month.

To investigate your Application Insights usage more deeply, open the Metrics page, add the metric named Data point volume, and then select the Apply splitting option to split the data by "Telemetry item type".

Viewing data allocation benefits

To view data allocation benefits from sources such as Microsoft Defender for Servers, Microsoft Sentinel benefit for Microsoft 365 E5, A5, F5 and G5 customers, or the Sentinel Free Trial, you need to export your usage details. Open the exported usage spreadsheet and filter the "Instance ID" column to your workspace. (To select all of your workspaces in the spreadsheet, filter the Instance ID column to "contains /workspaces/".) Next, filter the ResourceRate column to show only rows where this is equal to zero. Now you will see the data allocations from these various sources.

Note

Data allocations from Defender for Servers 500 MB/server/day will appear in rows with the meter name "Data Included per Node" and the meter category to "Insight and Analytics" (the name of a legacy offer still used with this meter.) If the workspace is in the legacy Per Node Log Analytics pricing tier, this meter will also include the data allocations from this Log Analytics pricing tier.

Operations Management Suite subscription entitlements

Customers who purchased Microsoft Operations Management Suite E1 and E2 are eligible for per-node data ingestion entitlements for Log Analytics and Application Insights. Each Application Insights node includes up to 200 MB of data ingested per day (separate from Log Analytics data ingestion), with 90-day data retention at no extra cost.

To receive these entitlements for Log Analytics workspaces or Application Insights resources in a subscription, they must be use the Per-Node (OMS) pricing tier. This entitlement isn't visible in the estimated costs shown in the Usage and estimated cost pane.

Depending on the number of nodes of the suite that your organization purchased, moving some subscriptions into a Per GB (pay-as-you-go) pricing tier might be advantageous, but this requires careful consideration.

Also, if you move a subscription to the new Azure monitoring pricing model in April 2018, the Per GB tier is the only tier available. Moving a subscription to the new Azure monitoring pricing model isn't advisable if you have an Operations Management Suite subscription.

Tip

If your organization has Microsoft Operations Management Suite E1 or E2, it's usually best to keep your Log Analytics workspaces in the Per-Node (OMS) pricing tier and your Application Insights resources in the Enterprise pricing tier.

Next steps