Microsoft Expands Its Azure Advisor Recommendations Feature

With the additions, Azure users will be able to get improved recommendations to better manage and optimize their Azure cloud deployments.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure users who depend on the Azure Advisor recommendations feature to get suggestions for how they can optimize and improve the operations of their Azure cloud will now get more suggestions after the company expanded the Advisor's advice.

The expanded recommendations in the free Azure Advisor service were unveiled by Kaitlyn Corazao, program manager of Azure Advisor, in a July 25 post on the Azure Blog. By using the feature, which analyzes a customer's infrastructure, Azure customers can get suggestions for how they can optimize their deployments to cut costs, boost performance, strengthen security and improve reliability.

Azure Advisor will now analyze a company's last 30 days of virtual machine (VM) usage and make recommendations on when it might make sense to purchase Azure Reserved Instances (RIs) on one- or three-year terms, rather than paying more for individual RIs as they are needed in real time.

"Azure Advisor will show you the regions and VM sizes where you could save money and give you an estimate of your potential savings from purchasing RIs if your usage remains consistent with the previous 30 days," wrote Corazao. By buying RIs ahead of time, customers can save up to 80 percent compared with pay-as-you-go rates, she added. The use of RIs works best with workloads with predictable and consistent traffic.

The expanded Advisor recommendations also now include the ability to flag Azure subscriptions that aren't being monitored by Microsoft's free Azure Service Health alerts, which provide personalized guidance and support when Azure service issues might affect a company's operations. Under the expanded recommendations, Azure Advisor will identify any Azure subscriptions that do not have Service Health alerts configured and recommend that they be set up. The Service Health alerts can be created for any region or service so users can stay informed via the Azure portal, email, text message or webhook notifications as needed.

Also new is a recommendation that will point out Azure subscriptions that are accruing high technical support spending totals on an as-needed basis so that users can consider saving money by upgrading their support plans to include technical support, wrote Corazao.

Other new recommendations include help with solving common configuration issues with Azure Traffic Manager profiles, such as identifying DNS Time to Live (TTL) settings that need to be reset to allow clients to be routed to functioning endpoints more quickly in the event a given endpoint stops responding to queries, wrote Corazao. The expanded recommendations in Azure Advisor will now  identify Traffic Manager profiles with a longer TTL configured and will recommend configuring the TTL to either 20 seconds or 60 seconds depending on whether the profile is configured for Fast Failover.

The new recommendations will also now identify Traffic Manager profiles that include proximity routing where all the endpoints are in the same region. The expanded suggestions will show how performance can be improved if new endpoints were added or if some endpoints should be moved to another Azure region.

Other new Traffic Manager profile recommendations include a suggestion that areas where no endpoints are configured to be given an endpoint and be switched from Regional Grouping to "All (World)" to prevent traffic from being dropped in the event of a service failure. When traffic is configured for geographic routing, it is routed to endpoints based on defined regions. But if a region fails, there is no predefined failover, causing service disruptions. This recommendation will avoid such situations, wrote Corazao.