Azure Pricing: The Complete Guide (2023)

How much does Azure cost per month?

Microsoft Azure is a cloud provider that provides a range of services including storage, networking, computing and analytics. Azure services can be used in the Azure public cloud, on-premises and in hybrid deployments.

The table below shows the minimum prices for basic Azure services and what you can expect to pay in an example scenario.

Servingpricing factorsstart fromExample workloadmonthly price
Linux Virtual Machine (VM)Virtual machine usage per hour0,004 USD10 virtual machines for 30 days10 * 30 * 24 * 0.004 $ =28,8 $
Workmillions of executions0,20 USDServerless mode runs 5 million times a day for 30 days30*5*0,2= $30
Save Blob Block (ZRS HOT)GB months0.023 USDStore 100GB in blob storage for 1 month100 * 0.023 $
= 2,3 USD
Blob Block Storage (ZRS COOL)GB months0.013 USDStore 100GB in blob storage for 1 month100 * 0.013 $
= 1,3 USD
Total costServerless capabilities for 10 VMs, 5 million executions per day and 200 GB of storage62,4 USD

Azure pricing depends on many factors, including service type, required capacity, location, and management level. Azure offers a free tier, with some services free for the first 12 months and some services free forever.

Most Azure services are available on a pay-as-you-go pricing model, where users are billed based on actual usage. In addition, Azure offers deep discounts on Dedicated Instances (which require a 1 or 3-year commitment) and Spot Instances (virtual machines from Azure's excess capacity that can be terminated at short notice).

This is part of a comprehensive series of guides forInfrastructure as a service.

In this article you will learn about:

  • Azure Free Tier
    • 12 months free
    • Points for the first 30 days
    • Is there a charge for Azure after the free trial?
    • Is Azure free forever?
  • Azure prismodel
    • pay as you go
    • Bound case
    • spot prices
  • Azure Savings Options
    • Azure Hybrid Advantage
    • Azure dev/test pricing
    • Azure Price Match
  • Azure Virtual Machine (VM) pricing.
  • Pricing for Azure Storage
  • Pricing for Azure Functions
  • Azure Network Pricing
  • Azure cost management tools
  • Optimize your Azure pricing with

Azure Free Tier

Azure offers a free tier that allows businesses to use various services for free for 12 months (limited quotas), credits for additional services for the first 30 days, and more services for free on an ongoing basis.

12 months free

Azure provides the following services for free for the first 12 months after you create an Azure account. Each service has a usage limit, for example you can use a Windows virtual machine for 750 hours.

IT services
  • Linux Virtual Machine
  • Windows virtual machine
storage service
  • Azure Managed Disks
  • Azure Blob storage
  • Filer Azure
database service
  • Azure SQL Database (Microsoft SQL Server)
  • Cosmos Database (NoSQL)
AI and Analytics services
  • computersyn
  • Text analysis
  • Translator
  • Personalization
  • language comprehension
  • (and more)

Points for the first 30 days

If you want to use a service not included in the free service or exceed the service limit in the free tier, Azure offers a $200 credit that you can charge to your first account within the first 30 days of use. Beyond that, any additional use of Azure services will incur a charge.

Is there a charge for Azure after the free trial?

Yes. Some Azure services are free for the first 12 months with some limitations. Azure also offers a $200 credit to new customers. You will be billed for all Azure services you use after the current 12 months ends and/or after the $200 credit is used up. The only exception is services that are permanently provided free of charge (see below).

Is Azure free forever?

The following Azure services are always free, even after the first 12 months of use.

Please note that you will be billed for additional Azure resources consumed when using these services. When e.g. deploy containers using the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), you pay for the virtual machines or container instances that the service deploys. But AKS itself is not charged.

development services
  • Azure App Service
  • Development Test Lab
  • Azure DevOps
Serverless and containerless
  • Azure Functions (free up to 1 million requests)
  • Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS)
  • Azure container example
  • service structure
Messaging, routing and automation
  • Event grid
  • load balancers
  • Azure Automation
  • Virtual Network (VNet)
  • Data transfer between VNets
  • Incoming data transfer (unlimited)
  • Outgoing data transfer (up to 15 GB)
Data management and search
  • computer factory
  • data directory
  • cognitive search
other service
  • Active Directory B2C
  • Azure Security Center
  • Azure Consultant

Azure prismodel

Microsoft offers three main ways to pay for Azure VMs and other cloud resources: Pay-As-You-Go, Reserved Instances, and Spot Instances.

pay as you go

You pay for services in Azure based on what you use, as you go, with no long-term commitments or upfront fees. This provides full flexibility to increase or decrease resources as required. Azure virtual machines (VMs) can be automatically scaled up and down using the Azure autoscaling feature.

Related content: Read our guideAzure Auto Scaling

This pricing model is primarily suitable for users who like flexibility, who like to convert Capex to Opex, and applications with volatile or short-term workloads.

Bound case

Azure offers Reserved Virtual Machine Instances (RVMI), virtual machines that are pre-purchased for one or three years in a specific region. Commit to reserved sessions at up to 72% off compared to paid rates.

Azure provides the ability to replace reserved instances with other instances during the reservation period. It also allows users to cancel reserved sessions before the end of the period, but this incurs an early termination fee.

This pricing model is suitable for applications with continuous use, organizations with a fixed budget, or large applications that use a certain number of virtual machines at any time (for example, virtual machines running centralized management components).

spot prices

Azure lets you buy unused computing power at discounts of up to 90% compared to pay prices. However, spot snapshots can be interrupted for short periods of time, so they are only considered suitable for workloads that can tolerate interruptions.

Azure offers Virtual Machine Scale Sets (VMSS), an auto-scaling mechanism that lets you manage pools of virtual machines and automatically add Spot Instances based on predefined policies.

Point instances are primarily suitable for distributed, fault-tolerant, stateless, non-Urgent, or very parallel.

Learn more in our guideAzure spot-moments

If you want to gain more control over Azure Spot instances and use them for a wider range of applications, NetApp's Spot infrastructure automation solution allows you toUse Spot Instances for AKS clusters and non-containerized workloads, they even guarantee availability in production and mission-critical environments.

Azure Savings Options

In addition to the discounts offered by Reserved Instances and Spot Instances, Azure offers many additional opportunities to save on cloud costs.

Azure Hybrid Advantage

The Azure Hybrid Benefit program is available to organizations with Microsoft licenses in their on-premises data centers. If you already have Windows Server or SQL Server licenses and are using them internally, you can transfer those licenses to the cloud. This is called Bring Your Own License (BYOL).

Azure VMs running Windows or SQL Server take into account the cost of Microsoft software licenses, so if you already have a license, you can get a discount on the hourly price of your VM. Azure Hybrid Benefit is available for Windows Server VM, SQL Server VM and Azure SQL Database Service.

Combined with Reserved Instances, Azure Hybrid Benefit offers discounts of up to 85%.

Additionally, for certain editions of Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server for Azure, you get 3 years of free security updates, with no license renewal required.

Azure dev/test pricing

If you use Azure services for development and testing, you are entitled to significant discounts, including:

  • Run Windows VMs for the same price as Linux VMs (you essentially get a free Microsoft license)
  • Save up to 55% on Azure SQL Database
  • Save up to 50% on Logic Apps (BizTalk Server Cloud Processing)

Azure Price Match

Azure promises cost parity with equivalent services on AWS. Prices are adjusted every 3 months based on AWS price changes.

Price mapping applies to Linux VMs (vs. EC2 Compute Instances), Azure Functions (vs. Amazon Lambda), and Block Blob Storage ZRS HOT/COOL tiers (vs. S3 Standard/Standard-Infrequent Access tier).

Azure Virtual Machine (VM) pricing.

Microsoft offers a variety of virtual machine sizes, grouped into six categories for different use cases.

  1. Universal Virtual Machine
  • It provides a balanced ratio between CPU and memory. Suitable for low to medium traffic servers, databases and test environments.
  • Pricing starts at $0.096/hour
  1. Computer timing
  • It provides powerful CPU capability. Server, batch and web hosting for moderate traffic.
  • Pricing starts at $0.0846/hour
  1. memory optimization
  • It provides more RAM and faster RAM hardware. Suitable for in-memory analysis, cache services or relational databases.
  • Pricing starts at $0.126/hour
  1. lageroptiming
  • It provides high storage and I/O performance. Suitable for data warehouses, big data analysis, transactional SQL/NoSQL databases.
  • Pricing starts at $0.624/hour
  1. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)
  • Provides GPU resources as part of a virtual machine. Suitable for deep learning, machine learning, video editing or graphics rendering.
  • Pricing starts at $0.90/hour
  1. High Performance Computing (HPC)
  • It provides high-performance distributed CPU resources and supports high-performance networks such as RDMA. Ideal for massively parallel HPC workloads.
  • Pricing starts at $0.796/hour

The example prices above are for Linux VMs in the US West 2 region and are subject to change. Check the latest pricesLinux Virtual MachineandWindows virtual machine(Windows VMs are more expensive because the price includes a Microsoft license).

Pricing for each VM size depends on many factors in addition to the operating system, including your Azure region, the pricing model you choose, and applicable storage options.

Pricing for Azure Storage

Azure offers several storage services, each with its own pricing model. Here are the main services:

Azure Blob storage

  • Provides infinitely scalable object storage (similar to Amazon S3)
  • For the first 50 TB, the Hot tier costs $0.0184 per GB per month, the Cool tier costs $0.01 per GB per month, and the Archive tier costs $0.00099 per GB per month.
  • Prices gradually decrease for larger volumes of inventory.

Filer Azure

  • A cloud-hosted file share that can be attached to an Azure VM or a local computer
  • Data storage is priced at $0.06 per GB Month for the optimized trading tier, $0.0255 for the highest tier and $0.015 for the optimized tier (pay for storage as you use it)
  • The service also offers a premium tier that costs $0.16 per GB Delivered (albeit unused)
  • Additional charges apply for snapshots, data transactions and data transfer volume.

The example prices above are for the USA West 2 region with LRS redundancy and are subject to change. I seePrissid official.

Pricing for Azure Functions

Azure Functions provides a serverless service and billing is based on the total number of request executions and the time spent per request. month.

Azure Functions are free for the first 1,000,000 runs. When you exceed your free limit, you start charging$0.20 per 1,000,000 runs. Note that execution times are in GB-seconds and the minimum memory size allowed by Azure is 128 MB.

For full details and latest prices, seePrissid official.

Azure Network Pricing

Azure charges for different types of network services. The following are the three most commonly used.

Azure virtual network

  • It allows you to create isolated private networks in the Azure cloud
  • The first 50 virtual networks are free
  • Pricing for public IP addresses starts at $0.0036/hour
  • Inbound/outbound data transfer charges for VNET data exchange in an Azure region are $0.01 per gigabyte
  • Cross-region VNET exchange costs $0.035 per GB in the US, Europe, and Australia, $0.09 in Asia, and $0.044 in South America and Africa.

Azure VPN Gateway

  • It allows you to connect to Azure from your local network
  • Pricing starts at $0.04/hour (100 Mbps) for up to 10 S2S tunnels and up to 128 P2S tunnels

Azure Bandwidth

  • Azure does not charge for inbound data transfer
  • First 5GB free outgoing data transfer per month
  • Costs start at $0.087 per GB over 5GB/month and decrease based on data volume to $0.05 per month. GB over 150 TB.

For more details, seePrissid official.

Azure cost management tools

Azure provides the following cost management tools that can be used to estimate, plan, and optimize cloud computing costs:

  • Azure Price Calculator— It can help you estimate the cost of the Azure services you plan to use. You can select resources and set settings. The calculator can then give you an overview of the cost.
  • Azure cost analysis— Helps you understand in detail how much you spend on Azure resources. You can drill down into costs and filter by metrics such as scope, time, sensitivity, and resource type.
    Learn more in our detailed guide Azure Cost Management.
  • Azure budget— Helps you create a budget that includes costs spread across the Azure ecosystem. You can configure alerts to let you know when specific resources reach limits or specific thresholds.
  • Azure Consultant— can help you gain useful information that can be used to optimize costs. This tool analyzes your Azure configuration and uses telemetry to give you recommendations to improve availability, security, performance, and cost.

Azure export— It can help you export reports generated in Azure. You can use Azure Exports to create custom reports and export data in CSV format.

Azure Value Optimization with NetApp Spot

NetApps Spot enables Azure customers to use Azure Spot Instances (VMs), even for fault-sensitive workloads.

Azure Pricing: The Complete Guide (1)

Whenever there is a risk of a snapshot failure, NetApp Spot launches a new replacement snapshot early while gracefully draining the exposed snapshot. If a snapshot instance is not available, the workload will be migrated to a pay-as-you-go instance. In these cases, NetApp Spot moves the workload back to the Spot instance when the Spot instance becomes available. This enables Azure customers to save up to 90% on cloud computing costs while ensuring workload continuity and availability.

learn moreAbout NetApp for Azure Spot.

See our additional guides on basic IaaS topics

We've written in-depth guides on many other topics with our content partners that will also be useful as you explore the worldInfrastructure as a service

AWS Pricing


Learn how Amazon prices its wide range of cloud computing services, including detailed guides to popular services like Fargate, ECS, and EMR.

See popular articles in the AWS Pricing Guide:

  • AWS Fargate Pricing: Optimize billing and reduce costs
  • AWS ECS Pricing: 3 Pricing Models and 5 Cost Saving Tips
  • AWS EMR Pricing: What Are the Options?

AWS EC2 Pricing


Learn how Amazon prices Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), learn about pricing for EC2 instances, and learn how to calculate future EC2 costs.

Check out our popular AWS EC2 pricing articles in our guides:

  • The complete guide to pricing EC2 instances
  • EC2 Pricing Calculator: Basic to Advanced
  • What are Spot Instances?

high cost


Learn about the economic and financial aspects of cloud computing, how to optimize cloud costs, and strategies for better cloud ROI.

  • Cloud Cost Optimization: 15 Ways to Optimize Your Cloud
  • Improve cost efficiency with Cloud Computing pricing models
  • Cloud savings: 9 ways to save in the cloud


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