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Microsoft Azure partners are, for now, deprived of insight into the cloud spending of their own customers who purchase the public cloud services through Azure Savings Plans. This is due to “technical issues”, the public cloud giant reports.

According to Microsoft, unspecified technical problems mean that, for now, partners who offer Azure services to their own customers cannot gain insight into the real-time cloud usage of these customers. Nor can they receive notifications about it.

Problems with Azure Savings Plans

According to Microsoft, the problems are occurring until mid-March this year and mainly apply to those partners who have purchased Azure Savings Plans for their customers. These partners can now assign their customers a certain budget, but thus cannot see how much they are actually spending. This could potentially cause these customers to exceed their budgets.

Azure Savings Plans are “easy and flexible” subscriptions designed to deliver Azure and related services at lower prices. These subscriptions let users use services in the public cloud environment for a year or three years at a fixed hourly rate. To do so, they can pay the entire amount at once or have these costs amortized monthly. Azure computing power prices within Azure Savings Plans can be up to 65 percent lower than the normal price. More usage of Azure than the subscription offers is charged as pay-as-you-go and billed separately.

With real-time monitoring of customer usage within Azure Savings Plans temporarily down, it will still be recorded. Partners just no longer get the usual notifications about what their customers are doing within Azure. As a result, they will also not receive automatic alerts about potential problems.

Tips from Microsoft

Microsoft expects to have the problems fixed by the middle of next month, but in the meantime, Microsoft is giving partners some tips on how to keep their end customers from excessive cloud usage.

The tech giant advises partners to check daily, manual, uncounted usage data to find out how much customers are spending on Azure resources. When they encounter abnormal usage, they should alert customers immediately. Partners can also proactively communicate with their customers about the problem occurring with Microsoft Azure. They can then offer alternative suggestions about monitoring Azure usage and the associated costs.

Whether partners can do this remains to be seen. They often don’t have the staff necessary to go and manually monitor all of their customers’ Azure usage. Nor, of course, are they eager to discuss the problem with their customers.

TIP: Cloud spending soars: how to reduce costs?