Quickstart: Explore and analyze costs with Cost analysis

Before you can properly control and optimize your Azure costs, you need to understand where costs originated within your organization. It's also useful to know how much money your services cost, and in support of what environments and systems. Visibility into the full spectrum of costs is critical to accurately understand organizational spending patterns. Spending patterns can be used to enforce cost control mechanisms, like budgets.

In this quickstart, you use cost analysis to explore and analyze your organizational costs. You can view aggregated costs by organization to understand where costs occur over time and identify spending trends. You can view accumulated costs over time to estimate monthly, quarterly, or even yearly cost trends against a budget. A budget helps to provide adherence to financial constraints. And a budget is used to view daily or monthly costs to isolate spending irregularities. And, you can download the current report's data for further analysis or to use in an external system.

In this quickstart, you learn how to:

  • Review costs in cost analysis
  • Customize cost views
  • Download cost analysis data

Prerequisites

Cost analysis supports different kinds of Azure account types. To view the full list of supported account types, see Understand Cost Management data. To view cost data, you need at least read access for your Azure account.

For Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers, you must have at least read access to one or more of the following scopes to view cost data.

  • Billing account
  • Department
  • Enrollment account
  • Management group
  • Subscription
  • Resource group

For more information about assigning access to Cost Management data, see Assign access to data.

Sign in to Azure

Review costs in cost analysis

To review your costs in cost analysis, open the scope in the Azure portal and select Cost analysis in the menu. For example, navigate to Subscriptions, select a subscription from the list, and then select Cost analysis in the menu. Use the Scope pill to switch to a different scope in cost analysis. For more information about scopes, see Understand and work with scopes.

The scope you select is used throughout Cost Management to provide data consolidation and to control access to cost information. When you use scopes, you don't multi-select them. Instead, you select a larger scope which others roll up to and then filter down to the nested scopes you need. This approach is important to understand since some people may not have access to a single parent scope, which covers multiple nested scopes.

The initial cost analysis view includes the following areas:

Total – Shows the total costs for the current month.

Budget – Shows the planned spending limit for the selected scope, if available.

Accumulated cost – Shows the total aggregate daily spending, starting from the beginning of the month. After you create a budget for your billing account or subscription, you can quickly see your spending trend against the budget. Hover over a date to view the accumulated cost for that day.

Pivot (donut) charts – Provide dynamic pivots, breaking down the total cost by a common set of standard properties. They show the most to least costly for the current month. You can change pivot charts at any time by selecting a different pivot. Costs are categorized by: service (meter category), location (region), and child scope by default. For example, enrollment accounts under billing accounts, resource groups under subscriptions, and resources under resource groups.

Initial view of cost analysis in the Azure portal

Customize cost views

Cost analysis has four built-in views, optimized for the most common goals:

View Answer questions like...
Accumulated cost How much have I spent so far this month? Will I stay within my budget?
Daily cost Have there been any increases in the costs per day for the last 30 days?
Cost by service How has my monthly usage vary over the past 3 invoices?
Cost by resource Which resources cost the most so far this month?

View selector showing an example selection for this month

However, there are many cases where you need deeper analysis. Customization starts at the top of the page, with the date selection.

Cost analysis shows data for the current month by default. Use the date selector to switch to common date ranges quickly. A few examples include the last seven days, last month, current year, or a custom date range. Pay-as-you-go subscriptions also include date ranges based on your billing period, which isn't bound to the calendar month, like the current billing period or last invoice. Use the <PREVIOUS and NEXT> links at the top of the menu to jump to the previous or next period, respectively. As an example, <PREVIOUS will switch from the last seven days to 8-14 days ago and then to 15-21 days ago.

Date selector showing an example selection for this month

Cost analysis shows accumulated costs by default. Accumulated costs include all costs for each day plus the previous days, for a constantly growing view of your daily aggregate costs. This view is optimized to show how you're trending against a budget for the selected time range.

There's also the daily view showing costs for each day. The daily view doesn't show a growth trend. The view is designed to show irregularities as cost spikes or dips from day to day. If you've selected a budget, the daily view also shows an estimate of what your daily budget might look like. When your daily costs are consistently above the estimated daily budget, then you can expect you'll surpass your monthly budget. The estimated daily budget is simply a means to help you visualize your budget at a lower level. When you have fluctuations in daily costs, then the estimated daily budget comparison to your monthly budget is less precise.

Generally, you can expect to see data or notifications for consumed resources within 8-12 hours.

Daily view showing example daily costs for the current month

Group by common properties to break down costs and identify top contributors. To group by resource tags, for instance, select the tag key you want to group by. Costs are broken down by each tag value, with an extra segment for resources that don't have that tag applied.

Most Azure resources support tagging, however some tags aren't available in Cost Management and billing. Additionally, resource group tags aren't supported. Cost Management only supports resource tags from the date the tags are applied directly to the resource. Watch the How to review tag policies with Azure Cost Management video to learn about using Azure tag policy to improve cost data visibility.

Here's a view of Azure service costs for a view of the last month.

Grouped daily accumulated view showing example Azure service costs for last month

Pivot charts under the main chart show different groupings to give you a broader picture of your overall costs for the selected time period and filters. Select a property or tag to view aggregated costs by any dimension.

Full data for current view showing resource group names

The preceding image shows resource group names. While you can group by tag to view total costs per tag, viewing all tags per resource or resource group isn't available in any of the cost analysis views.

When grouping costs by a specific attribute, the top 10 cost contributors are shown from highest to lowest. If more than 10, the top nine cost contributors are shown with an Others group, which covers all remaining groups together. When grouping by tags, you may also see an Untagged group for costs that don't have the tag key applied. Untagged is always last, even if untagged costs are higher than tagged costs. Untagged costs will be part of Others, if 10 or more tag values exist.

Classic virtual machines, networking, and storage resources don't share detailed billing data. They're merged as Classic services when grouping costs.

You can view the full data set for any view. Whatever selections or filters that you apply affect data presented. To see the full data set, click the chart type list and then click Table view.

Data for current view in a table view

Download cost analysis data

You can Download information from cost analysis to generate a CSV file for all data currently shown in the Azure portal. Any filters or grouping that you apply are included in the file. Underlying data for the top Total chart that isn't actively displayed is included in the CSV file.

Next steps

Advance to the first tutorial to learn how to create and manage budgets.