How to Set up Billing Alerts in Azure using the Billing Alert Service Preview


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Woody Walton

Billing alerts!  This is important.  Recently I have heard of two situations where services shut down in Azure due to billing issues.  The first involved a customer who purchased credits through a reseller via Azure in Open (prepaid) and the credits ran out, the second when a partner tapped out his MPN Internal Use Rights ($100 Visual Studio Ultimate MSDN credit) on the subscription running his production website.

Both of these unpleasant situations were avoidable if the reseller leveraged a feature Azure has called the Billing Alert Service.   …It is in preview and not easily identifiable at first so let me acquaint you with the process.

You will want to be in the Account Center/ Billing Portal for this process.

If you log into http://account.windowsazure.com and then select any of your subscriptions you will see a summary page much like the one below.  There is no “Billing Alerts” Option as of yet.

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Go to https://account.windowsazure.com/PreviewFeatures and scroll down to the bottom of the page.  You will see “Billing Alert Service”. 

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Click on “Try it Now”.  Shortly a dialogue will appear allowing you to select the subscription on which you would like to enable the Billing Alert Service.

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You will receive an email when the Billing Alert Service has been enabled for your Subscription.

After activation you will see a new menu option appear to the left of billing history.

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An Account admin can set up to 5 alerts.  Depending on the forecasted rate of consumption and the potential time to act and either remove a spending limit or add additional Azure Open credits (2 business days perhaps), you may want to set up several alerts.

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In my example below I am illustrating what an alert for 50% use of a $1000 Azure Open Credit might look like. Note the ability to notify a second individual. This could be the partner alias or perhaps a DL within the Tech Support organization of the partner managing the Azure subscription.  It is important to note that Delegated Admins within the management portal cannot see credit remaining nor add credit/remove limits to an account.  Only the Account Owner can see this information.  BTW 50% is a good idea as it gives one an opportunity to gauge actual consumption versus estimated consumption with a significant buffer.  This way one can determine a corrective course of action long before a balance gets critically low.

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Here is what the list of alerts looks like when a few have been populated.  I added another one for 10% remaining (same scenario as above).

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The alert emails do not kick off the actual second a threshold is reached.  The consumption refreshes at intervals in the account center and the Alerts are sent based on a schedule.

The emails come from Microsoft Azure Billing Alerts billing-alerts-noreply@mail.windowsazure.com

The subject line has the prefix [BILLING ALERT ACTIVATED] and will include the subscription name.  My example is below.

[BILLING ALERT ACTIVATED] - Less than $500 of Monetary Credit remaining for Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN

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I hope this clarifies any questions on leveraging the Preview Billing Alert Service.

Regards,

Woody

 

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