10 Reasons to Choose Power BI for Cloud Cost Management

March 10, 2023
Data Analytics

Nowadays, integrating different reporting solutions as well as managing cloud servers can increase your cost data by huge numbers. Thus, you need an effective cost management platform to address your data row requests, billing profile id, aggregated costs, and overall monthly costs.

In this blog, we'll offer a solution to get you start with azure cost management connector using Power BI.

What is Microsoft Power BI?

Business intelligence (BI), reporting, and data visualisation tools and services are all part of the Microsoft PowerBI portfolio. Your raw data gets transformed into dashboards and visuals. As a result, you can evaluate your data more quickly, identify trends and patterns, and get useful insights to help you decide how to proceed with your business. It has a number of components that all work together to enable you to generate and distribute business insights. They also provide various items dependent on the requirements of your company. For instance:

  • Power BI Desktop
  • Power BI Service
  • Power BI Pro
  • Power BI Premium

Power BI has three versions: PowerBI Pro, Power BI Desktop and PowerBI Premium. The entry level is PowerBI Pro, which gives you all the functionality in the Azure cloud for a low cost per user per month.

If you have a need for hundreds of users to access the reports or need to be able to refresh your data more than 8 times a day, then there is Power BI Premium. Power BI Premium is more expensive, but you won’t need as many Power BI Pro licenses and also you get a dedicated node in Azure allowing you to be more responsive to your business’ needs.

What Is Azure Cost?

The Azure cloud is increasing in popularity, with a market share estimated at over 20%. This makes Azure cloud costs a major component of the IT budget for many organizations.

There are several pricing models you can use to optimize costs for different workloads. Microsoft also provides tools, some of them offered free of charge, to help you optimize your budget. However, keep in mind that cloud cost optimization is complex, requires time and expertise, and must be aided by automated tools due to the complexity of cloud environments.

Factors Affecting Azure Costs

As with your on-premise equipment costs, there are many factors that will influence your monthly bills when you use services. Let’s consider the key elements, including service, types, billing zone, and the user’s location.

Pricing Models

Azure provides several pricing models, which allow you to select the optimal pricing based on each workload’s characteristics:

  • Pay-per-use pricing
  • Azure Spot Instances (also called Spot VMs)
  • Azure Reserved Instances
  • Azure Hybrid Benefit

Resource Type

Costs are resource-specific, thus the usage tracked by the meter varies according to the resource type.

Note that every meter tracks a specific type of usage. For instance, a meter could track bandwidth usage (egress or ingress network traffic as bits-per-second), size (storage capacity as bytes), the number of operations or related items.

The usage tracked by each meter corresponds to an amount of billable units. These are billed to your account at every billing period, where the rate per chargeable unit varies according to the type of resources being used.


Azure usage billing periods and rates can vary between Web Direct, Cloud Solution Provider

Enterprise (CSP) and Enterprise customers. Certain subscription types also have usage allowances, which influences costs.

The Azure team offers and develops first-party services and products, and you can find third-party services and products in the Azure Marketplace. Various billing structures are used for each category.


Azure has data centers across the globe. Usage costs differ according to the location offering particular Azure services, products and resources—these costs factor in demand, popularity and local infrastructure costs.

For instance, to build a Azure solution, you could provision a certain amount of resources in the least expensive locations. However, you would need to transfer data between locations, when dependent resources are situated in various areas of the world, apart from their users.

Azure Billing Zones

Bandwidth is the data that moves in or out of Azure data centers. Generally, inbound data transfers don’t cost. For outbound data transfers, pricing is calculated according to the Billing Zones.

A Zone is a geographical group of Azure Regions, created for billing. Here are the zones and the listed countries (areas):

Zone 1—USA, Canada, Europe, UK

DE Zone 1—Germany

Zone 2—Japan, Korea, Australia, India

Zone 3—Brazil

In many zones, the initial outbound 5 GB per month doesn’t incur a cost. Following this, you are charged a fixed price per GB.

Billing zones do not equal Availability Zones. In Azure, the word “zone” is used for billing only, and the full phrase Availability Zone is used for the failure protection mechanism that Azure offers for data centers.

Connecting Power BI to Azure Cost Manager

Recently, Microsoft updated the Azure Cost Manager connector in Power BI to support other connections besides Enterprise Agreement. This change opened a great opportunity to Azure users to build their own cost analysis app.

It’s important to know the three kinds of connection allowed to Azure Cost Management:

Customer Agreement: The most common account used by small businesses.

Enterprise Agreement: Accounts used by big enterprises. The App provided by Microsoft can make this connection, so you will only need a custom connection if you miss some feature on the app.

Billing Profile: A billing profile is like a subset of a Customer Agreement. You can organize this subset according to many different rules, such as department, branch and more.

On the connection window, the available options can be used for these three kinds of connection:

Enrollment Number: Enterprise Agreement. On the Scope Identifier textbox, fill the account number.

Billing Profile: As the name explains, billing profile. On the Scope Identifier textbox, fill the billing profile number.

Manually Input Scope: This option is used for a Customer Agreement. You need to follow the example format and use the billing account number in the format. Example: /providers/Microsoft.Billing/billingAccounts/{billingAccountId}

Azure Cost Management

Azure has a feature called cost management. You can find cost management on every subscription, but it can analyze information across subscriptions as well. Cost Management includes many other features to manage the cost of the services from forecast to analysis and billing.

Azure Cost Management is in constant evolution to help manage the cost of services in the cloud. Microsoft provides the Azure Cost Management Power BI App to manage cloud costs, but this app only works with Enterprise Agreement accounts.

This was a considerable limitation, since many companies use the cloud using Customer Agreement instead of Enterprise Agreement.


Sadaf is a professional content writer at Sudofy with expertise in IT and data science domain.