Microsoft Announces Two New Azure Billing APIs

Microsoft has announced the public preview release of two Azure billing APIs: the Azure Usage API and the Azure RateCard API. Cloud computing has long been touted as a way to cut major capital investment in IT infrastructure. However, data confirming such savings is often hard to come by at the individual enterprise level. Microsoft's two new APIs provide programmatic access to Azure consumption and pricing information to help streamline cost analysis for user organizations.

"You can start taking advantage of both of these APIs today," Scott Guthrie, head of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group, commented in a blog announcement. "You can write your own custom code that uses the APIs to construct your own custom reports, or alternatively you can also now take advantage of prebuilt bill tracking systems provided by our partners, which already integrate the APIs into their existing solutions."

The Usage API provides usage data associated with an Azure subscription. The API correlates usage and costs by Resource tags that users can set on Azure resources. Accordingly, users can associate certain usage by projects, departments or other areas to better understand and assign usage costs. Enterprise Agreement customers also receive a more granular view into consumption data that complements data available through the EA Billing CSV.

The RateCard API lists the resources available for use. Further, metadata and price information associated with such resources is provided. Users can query the resource/meter metadata and price information used by a subscription via offer ID, currency, locale and region. To learn more about the RateCard API, visit the MSDN site.

A couple of billing partners have already integrated the new APIs into products. The Cloudyn Integration provides IT financial management insights for cost optimization. Cloud Cruiser integrated the RateCard API to provide cost estimates for running an existing workload on the Azure cloud. Cloud Cruiser anticipates releasing soon an Azure consumption offering that utilizes the Usage API. Microsoft expects the new billing APIs to provide more insight into cloud consumption and costs for better analysis and decision-making in the cloud.

Microsoft encourages those interested to engage with the team at the Azure feedback forum.

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