How can we improve Azure Signup and Billing?

allow setting spending limit on any account type

I cannot afford to have a runaway process or a mistake in the Azure portal to generate a huge bill for me.

Many of the special offers that give Azure credits come with a spending limit of $0.00 such that when your credit is used up, your account is temporarily disabled until your credits are refreshed.

However, you can only remove the spending limit. You cannot change it to a higher level.

Also, Pay as you Go accounts cannot have a spending limit either.

It would be extremely useful to be able to set a spending limit on Pay as you go or Dev Essentials and would make users far less afraid to turning on new services.

I know there is an spending alert that you can turn on (which has been in preview for a very very long time), but all that does is send an email.

That is just not sufficient. If that email is overlooked or goes into your spam folder then you can still end up with a giant bill.

This feature would be important for Personal accounts and larger businesses.

For example, I have personal Azure account linked to my personal credit card. I don't mind spending a limited amount on Azure each month but I can't afford to risk getting a multi-hundred or thousand dollar bill just because I clicked the wrong button.

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  • Eric Olmsted commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    It is a bit of a pain to start but you can purchase an open license for Azure. You can make a one time purchase from CDW, buy $100 and apply to your account. Worst case if you blow through your $100. Beats having MS access to charge your credit card at will.

  • Jim Fisher commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree with this. Allowing better control of cost should be enabled for pay-as-you go services, if for no other reason than PR: its very difficult to see this as providing any meaningful value to MS or the customer. It *looks* like actual effort was put in to disallow this safety net for customers if there is a credit card on file. More practically, I'd like to budget a set monthly amount for our development staff but protect the company from over-expenditures. There doesn't seem to be a way to do this beyond manual intervention and email, which is frankly silly, since automation is sort of the cornerstone of cloud.

  • Gopakumar R commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Exact same reason I am not able to explore Azure beyond the initial trial period. Waiting for my org to give me an account but they won't give me until I learn Azure. So it is a chicken and egg problem now.

    I vote for a spend limit on pay as you go subscription so developers can learn Azure features with a planned amount each month.

  • Robert commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    It is possible to use prepaid tokens worth 100$ for 1 year. I think it is the only safe solution since there is no spending limit in pay-as-you-go subscription.

  • Sam Smith commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is an especially serious issue with the Azure IoT Starter Kit, which involves setting up a Solution Accelerator that is marvelous, BUT: It generates 8 or 9 resources on Azure that are EXPENSIVE like hundreds of dollars a month! This all happens automatically, with no warning that cost is going through the roof. I am now stuck with a bill for hundreds of dollars for trying a starter kit! Azure IoT management please look into this and help others interested in IoT avoid this predicament!!

  • Steve Harrison commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree 100% with the original poster. As a developer doing personal R&D to evaluate Azure, I don't mind spending a small amount, but I need to set caps to account for coding errors or unauthorized use (e.g. exposed keys). Microsoft should go out of their way to support developers, as they are the ones who affect the decision-making of large enterprises. I would love to continue researching Azure services, but it's too risky.

  • Stan Vickers commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    So yes. Let me add my voice to the "This is crazy" crowd. This is something very basic. Who would want to give Microsoft a blank check and then have to go to the portal every day to see if they used it?

  • Antonio Rodriguez commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I made one of those mistakes... $2,500 USD over 2 months for an unused staging environment... trying to get support to help me out is giving me so much anxiety and sadness!

    It feels like i'm speaking to robots!

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    When you spend all the credit included with your subscription, Cloud Services that you deployed are removed from production and your Azure virtual machines are stopped and de-allocated. The data in your storage accounts and databases are available in a read-only manner.

  • Aviv commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Definitely needed, many startup dont use Azure because of that reason exactly

  • DanM commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This is definitely needed. I had to cancel our subscription for our non-profit org because we can't allow the possibility of costs running away. Alerts is not good enough. A spending limit is a must when you have a personal or non-profit org credit card tied to the subscription.

  • Som commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    +3 : Not sure why MS is trying to make money with people learning. You gave 30 days trial and your product is changing every hour, I think some amount of trial money should be provided for each new feature every month till Azure is decommissioned. Current Azure trial is NOT satisfactory.

    But, MS does not care about these comments because, making money from other's mistake could be one of the business strategy.

  • Manuel Alves commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Azure is off-limits for me as long as Pay as you Go account subscriptions do not allow to set a spending limit.

    I love it and have used it with MSDN subscriptions but the possibility of a mistake/atack is a stopper for me.

  • wpqs commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Giving Cloud providers like Azure what amounts to a blank cheque is just not acceptable. The provision of billing alerts just doesn't address the issue. The problem is that things go wrong both intentionally and unintentionally, particularly in IT. For example, some junior employee accidently spins-up 100 servers running an expensive analysis service over-night, or some disgruntled contractor does the same on his last day. Saying that the CFO should provide control is impractical in a start-up or SME; he/she just doesn't have the time or necessary skills to operate Azure portal. Alternatively, what if Microsoft makes a mistake and over-charges your account by $1M claiming you used services that you hadn't? This is the sort of thing that a hacker would delight in doing and is entirely plausible in the world post Spectre / Meltdown. How would you go about disproving that?
    No, what we should demand is the ability to set a limit on monthly expenditure. Sure, send-off plenty of billing alerts when you're close to this limit. However, once the limit is reached your services are shut-down as for people with trial offers. This gives you surety that you won't get a bill you can't pay or haven't budgeted for. That must take precedence over keeping your service up and running. In the first case your company goes bankrupt and the second you just annoy some of your customers. The facility is clearly implemented in Azure, so please Microsoft switch it on and let me sleep at night!

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