Azure VM Start/Stop Service

The Microsoft Azure Start/Stop Service is used to reduce the time Azure Virtual Machine’s (VM) run during off-hours. The Cost Management discipline is one of the Five Disciplines of Cloud Governance within the Cloud Adoption Framework governance model. For all consumers of Cloud Services, governing costs is a major concern when adopting Cloud technologies and services. A key area of cloud costs visible to most Cloud users is Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) of which Virtual Machines are the most noticeable cost expenditure. The cost of a VM is displayed when selecting the size during creation. The costs do vary depending on VM size and payment options. The payment options are pay-as-you-go, one-year reserved, or three-year reserved. Whichever choice you make, a key money savings opportunity is not having VM’s run when not required.

Why use Start/Stop?

The Azure Start/Stop service is a tool that helps companies lower costs by controlling when VM’s run. The Azure Start/Stop service can start or stop 100’s of Azure virtual machines (VMs) across multiple subscriptions or just one. It starts or stops Azure VMs on user-defined schedules, provides insights through Azure Application Insights, and sends optional notifications by using action groups. The new version provides a decentralized low-cost automation option for customers who want to optimize their VM costs. It offers all the same functionality as the original version available with Azure Automation, but it is designed to take advantage of newer technology in Azure such as Functions.

Dashboard

Additionally, Microsoft provides a custom dashboard to monitor the Start/Stop functions. The dashboard and be adjusted as needed.

Azure Dashboard for the Start/Stop service

The primary function most users would implement is the scheduled start and stop service. There are two other options. You can stop or start a group of VM’s in a particular order or auto-stop based on CPU utilization.

Why I use Start/Stop

I have used this service to control VM’s in my Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) environment reducing costs by 59% each month. I schedule systems to start at 9 AM and stop at 3 PM. The Domain Controller starts first. Then I start the AVD multi-session hosts to activate remote connection sessions for users. You can read the technical details of the Azure Start/Stop service here.

Author: Chet Camlin

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