Exploring Azure Monthly Expenditure Analysis Using Power BI

Managing cloud costs, a crucial part of FinOps, can be quite challenging. Azure, as a public cloud platform, hosts a variety of workloads in different service categories and regions, making cost management a complex task.

In this article, I will show you how I created a Power BI dashboard to dig deep and analyze the expenses related to my Azure usage.

There are multiple ways to track usage and associated costs. While using the Azure cost management API is one option, for the purpose of this article, I will demonstrate how to utilize the monthly usage file, which offers a more user-friendly solution.

To get started, you should go to your subscription and access the invoices section.

From there, navigate to the ‘More Options’ section and download the monthly usage file in CSV format for a specific billing period.

download the usage file in CSV format

Next, import the CSV file into your Power BI environment. Once imported, you can view the data schema in the data pane.

upload the CSV file to your Power BI environment

Let’s now start building our dashboard. First, let’s analyze the cost breakdown by each resource type. To do this, drag the ‘Cost‘ and ‘MeterCategory‘ columns onto the canvas and convert the visualization to a Pie Chart.

Power BI to analyze monthly expenditure

Then, move on to our second visualization. This will allow us to examine the cost of each service based on the plan or tier. Create a table showing ‘Cost‘, ‘MeterSubCategory‘, and ‘MeterName‘.

Power BI to analyze monthly expenditure

We’ve already gained valuable insights! But let’s dive deeper. We can analyze the daily costs for specific resources by adding another table displaying ‘Cost‘, ‘Date‘, and ‘MeterName‘ as shown below.

Power BI to analyze monthly expenditure

For our final visualization, let’s track the usage pattern for specific services over time. Create a line chart incorporating the ‘Cost‘, ‘Date‘, and ‘MeterName‘ fields.

Power BI to analyze monthly expenditure

Finally, let’s improve the visual presentation by adding titles and applying formatting.

Power BI to analyze monthly expenditure

If you want to analyze a specific resource, like Cognitive Services, you can select that service from the first chart (Cost by Resource Type), and the other charts will adjust accordingly.

Power BI to analyze monthly expenditure

For instance, upon discovering higher expenses on GPT4 prompt tokens, you can drill down further by clicking on the relevant item in the second chart (Cost by Resource Plan/Tier).

Power BI to analyze monthly expenditure

This method helps in identifying spending patterns and gaining insights into Azure costing mechanisms.

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