Delete unused instances to save money in Azure

Don't get caught paying for instances you think aren't costing you anything just because they're not being used.

Published on 25th January 2021

It’s easy to spin up instances in Azure, especially for developers if you haven’t implemented a tight permissions policy. Pet projects and Proof of Concepts (POCs) get created regularly and the person involved needs to remember to delete all resources or else you will be charged indefinitely.

Even services which can be stopped and deallocated such as Virtual Machines will cost you money if they are not deleted. Why? If you don’t delete unused instances in Azure, you still pay for all of the associated costs including the storage which can be significant. Moreover, you need to specifically delete your storage when your delete those VMs or you’ll keep paying for that too. That is known as orphaned storage or unattached storage, and it is not cheap.

A script to find unattached storage

Microsoft published a PowerShell script to find unattached storage in azure which you can run to list out anywhere it occurs in your subscriptions.

Use resource groups for POCs

I would encourage developers and engineers to use a resource group for POCs. This way, when it is done, the whole resource group can be obliterated in one go, leaving nothing behind.

Azure policies and tagging

Once you have got rid of all your old unused instances and orphaned storage, you may want to prevent team members from doing the same thing again. This is where a combination of Azure policies and tagging comes in handy. You can set policies to prevent new services being spun up without the appropriate tags. This Microsoft tutorial explains how to manage tag governance with Azure Policy.

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