News and updates from FinOps X 2024: How Microsoft is empowering organizations (2024)

Last year, I shared a broad set of updates that showcased how Microsoft is embracing FinOps practitioners through education, product improvements, and innovative solutions that help organizations achieve more. This year, at FinOps X, we shared the first steps in a transformative vision to help accelerate FinOps and empower stakeholders across the organization with AI-powered experiences like Copilot and Microsoft Fabric. Whether you're an engineer working in the Azure portal or part of a business or finance team collaborating in Microsoft 365 or analyzing data in Power BI, Microsoft Cloud has the tools you need to accelerate business value for your cloud investments.

I'm about to take you on a whirlwind tour of updates to products, solutions, and services from across Microsoft over the past few months. Some of these were announced at FinOps X and some are new. But let me start with the biggest announcements, which I'll touch on in more detail throughout the blog post.

  1. Leverage new resources to learn about FinOps and supporting Microsoft tools and services.
  2. Estimate costs before you deploy virtual machines.
  3. Export cost and usage data using FOCUS 1.0 in Microsoft Cost Management.
  4. Ingest FinOps data into Microsoft Fabric to empower business and finance with self-serve analytics.
  5. Accelerate FinOps efforts with Microsoft Copilot in the Azure portal and Microsoft Fabric.

Of course, these are just teasers. Read on to learn more and don't forget to check out the video below to see the power of Copilot and Microsoft Fabric in action!

Empowering engineers

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Empowering people always starts with education, so to kick things off, I'd like to share new learning resources like the Get started with FinOps learning module for those new to FinOps and the Adopt FinOps on Azure learning module that introduces the FinOps capabilities and helps you get started. And once you're ready to jump into the tools, check out the interactive guides for a walk through of the products and solutions you'll need as you implement FinOps.

If you're looking for more, talk to your Microsoft account team and leverage the FinOps offerings from Microsoft Services. As a FinOps Certified Service Provider, Microsoft offers a broad range of services that span every corner of FinOps and more, but just to give you an idea, here are some of the ones you might be interested in:

Strategic planning

  • FinOps assessment
  • FinOps strategy planning
  • FinOps operations

Educate and asses

  • Azure cost optimization
  • Azure cost optimization assessment
  • FinOps technical implementation

Technical implementation

  • FinOps technical implementation
  • Azure cost optimization

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Next, let's jump into the portal where you can now drill into the estimated cost of virtual machines before you deploy. This brings the power and transparency of the Azure pricing calculator directly into the Azure portal to give you a complete, upfront picture of your pay-as-you-go virtual machine costs. Stay tuned as this new experience gets rolled out to other services and account types.

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And in case you missed the general availability announcement at KubeCon, you'll also find new smart views for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) in Cost analysis where you can get more transparency and drill into AKS clusters to view idle, used, and system costs of each resource or the compute, network, and storage costs of each namespace. With these additional insights, engineers can optimize their AKS costs more efficiently, maximizing the benefits of running their workloads on shared infrastructure.

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And speaking of optimization, there's a ton to share, starting with new and updated tools in Azure Advisor to help you implement proven practices from the Well-Architected Framework (WAF). You'll find updates to the Cost optimization workbook, which gives you a holistic view of your environment to optimize rates and reduce waste, and discover new well-architected and mission-critical assessments directly from Advisor. Each self-service assessment provides guidelines as recommendations, which can be managed and tracked over time. And if you're looking for a more holistic view of FinOps, you can also leverage the FinOps review assessment.

You'll also find a broad range of rate optimization updates, like configuring auto-renewal for reservations at purchase time and new RBAC roles for savings plans, but I'm especially excited about expanded savings plan and reservation offers. I wish I could share more about the new offers that are in the works, but you'll have to stay tuned.

New reservation offers for:

  • SQL Database Hyperscale (2 SKUs)
  • SQL Managed Instance (4 SKUs)
  • Microsoft Fabric
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud

Savings Plan for Compute adds support for:

  • Azure Container Apps
  • Azure Spring Apps

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But FinOps isn't just about cost. With the expansion of the FinOps Framework to also cover cloud sustainability, I have to call out the preview release of Azure Carbon Optimization earlier this year, where engineers can monitor, track, and analyze emission trends at the resource level from the Azure portal. And with efficiency recommendations that help optimize carbon emissions, Azure Carbon Optimization provides the foundational tools you need to get started on your cloud sustainability journey.

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And whether you're learning about or looking for solutions to automate and implement FinOps capabilities in the Microsoft Cloud, the FinOps toolkit helps kick-start your FinOps journey with starter kits, scripts, and more. Next week you'll find new and updated tools, like the Azure Optimization Engine for custom recommendations, updates to the FinOps hubs data ingestion engine to support managed exports and organizations with multi-tenant environments, and updates to the Implementing FinOps guide to align with the FinOps Framework 2024 updates.

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Empowering business and finance

Looking beyond engineers, we're also exploring new ways to empower business and finance teams in the tools they use outside of the Azure portal.

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And the first step is getting Microsoft Cloud data into these tools through capabilities like Cost Management exports, which offer no-code data ingestion with enhanced security and 5 new datasets, making it easier to get the data you need into a central reporting tool. The exports preview was first launched in November and we're happy to share a streamlined create experience where you can select a template covering all the datasets you need as well as an extended self-service data export for the past 7 years. You can export data for the last 13 months from the Azure portal. To go back further, you can use the Exports Execute API or the Start-FinOpsCostExport PowerShell command in the FinOps toolkit.

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And perhaps one of the most exciting and anticipated datasets you can export is cost and usage data aligned to the FinOps Open Cost and Usage Specification (FOCUS) schema. As the first cloud provider to implement FOCUS in November 2023, we've seen incredible adoption and interest. Organizations of all shapes and sizes are exporting FOCUS data and migrating their reports and alerts. As one of the key leaders in the development of FOCUS, seeing this has been inspiring. And now, you can also export cost and usage data with FOCUS 1.0 to get the latest specification enhancements. Along with this, the next release of the FinOps toolkit will include updated Power BI reports to support your FOCUS 1.0 exports.

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And to truly democratize FinOps and empower business and finance teams, leverage Microsoft Fabric to enable self-serve analytics, connect to your existing internal data sources, and streamline some of the most complex FinOps reports and alerts on top of FOCUS 1.0 and other datasets, including carbon emissions. By linking Cost Management exports and enabling Microsoft Azure Emissions Insights in Microsoft Fabric, you can tell the full FinOps story, from cost to usage to carbon and tying it all back to business value to quantify cloud ROI by leveraging your existing business data, like application telemetry.

Accelerating FinOps with AI

And of course, it wouldn't be a Microsoft update without AI :beaming_face_with_smiling_eyes: But instead of walking you through it all, I'll share a short video which demonstrates what you can do today with Microsoft Copilot in the Azure portal or in Microsoft Fabric, powered by both your cloud and business data joined together in one powerful place.

Next steps

I hope you're as excited as I am about the new capabilities available in the Azure portal and the potential of what you can do with Microsoft Fabric. We first hinted at the potential Microsoft Fabric could bring in November, but this is just the beginning. I've never been as excited about what the future holds as I am today. Stay tuned for more updates on the FinOps blog.

News and updates from FinOps X 2024: How Microsoft is empowering organizations (2024)
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