Usage and billing in Azure Stack

Usage represents the quantity of resources consumed by a user. Azure Stack collects usage information for each user and uses it to bill them. This article describes how Azure Stack users are billed for resource usage, and how the billing information is accessed for analytics, chargeback, etc.

Azure Stack contains the infrastructure to collect and aggregate usage data for all resources, and to forward this data to Azure commerce. You can access this data and export it to a billing system by using a billing adapter, or export it to a business intelligence tool like Microsoft Power BI. After exporting, this billing information is used for analytics or transferred to a chargeback system.

Conceptual model of a billing adapter connecting Azure Stack to a Billing application

Usage pipeline

Each resource provider in Azure Stack emits usage data as per resource utilization. The Usage Service periodically(hourly or daily) aggregates this usage data and stores it in the usage database. The stored usage data can be accessed by Azure Stack operators and users locally by using usage APIs.

If you have Registered your Azure Stack instance with Azure, Usage Bridge is configured to send the usage data to Azure commerce. After the data is available in Azure, you can access it through the billing portal or by using Azure usage API's. Refer to the Usage data reporting topic to learn more about what usage data is reported to Azure.

The following image shows the key components in the usage pipeline:

Usage pipeline

What usage information can I find, and how?

Azure Stack Resource providers, such as Compute, Storage, and Network, generate usage data at hourly intervals for each subscription. The usage data contains information about the resource used such as resource name, subscription used, quantity used, etc. To learn about the meters ID resources, refer to the usage API FAQ article.

After the usage data has been collected, it is reported to Azure to generate a bill, which can be viewed through the Azure billing portal.

Nota

Usage data reporting is not required for Azure Stack Development Kit and for Azure Stack integrated system users who license under the capacity model. To learn more about licensing in Azure Stack, see the Packaging and pricing data sheet.

The Azure billing portal shows the usage data only for the chargeable resources. In addition to the chargeable resources, Azure Stack captures usage data for a broader set of resources, which you can access in your Azure Stack environment through REST APIs or PowerShell. Azure Stack operators can retrieve the usage data for all user subscriptions whereas a user can get only their usage details.

Retrieve usage information

To generate the usage data, you should have resources that are running and actively using the system, For example, an active virtual machine or a storage account containing some data etc. If you’re not sure whether you have any resources running in Azure Stack Marketplace, deploy a virtual machine (VM), and verify the VM monitoring blade to make sure it’s running. Use the following PowerShell cmdlets to view the usage data:

  1. Install PowerShell for Azure Stack.
  2. Configure the Azure Stack user's or the Azure Stack operator's PowerShell environment

  3. To retrieve the usage data, use the Get-UsageAggregates PowerShell cmdlet:

    Get-UsageAggregates -ReportedStartTime "<Start time for usage reporting>" -ReportedEndTime "<end time for usage reporting>" -AggregationGranularity <Hourly or Daily>
    

Next steps

Report Azure Stack usage data to Azure

Provider Resource Usage API

Tenant Resource Usage API

Usage-related FAQ