Plan to manage costs for Azure OpenAI Service

This article describes how you plan for and manage costs for Azure OpenAI Service. Before you deploy the service, you can use the Azure pricing calculator to estimate costs for Azure OpenAI. Later, as you deploy Azure resources, review the estimated costs. After you've started using Azure OpenAI resources, use Cost Management features to set budgets and monitor costs. You can also review forecasted costs and identify spending trends to identify areas where you might want to act. Costs for Azure OpenAI Service are only a portion of the monthly costs in your Azure bill. Although this article explains how to plan for and manage costs for Azure OpenAI, you're billed for all Azure services and resources used in your Azure subscription, including the third-party services.


Cost analysis in Cost Management supports most Azure account types, but not all of them. To view the full list of supported account types, see Understand Cost Management data. To view cost data, you need at least read access for an Azure account. For information about assigning access to Azure Cost Management data, see Assign access to data.

Estimate costs before using Azure OpenAI

Use the Azure pricing calculator to estimate the costs of using Azure OpenAI.

Understand the full billing model for Azure OpenAI Service

Azure OpenAI Service runs on Azure infrastructure that accrues costs when you deploy new resources. It's important to understand that there could be other additional infrastructure costs that might accrue.

How you're charged for Azure OpenAI Service

Base series and Codex series models

Azure OpenAI base series and Codex series models are charged per 1,000 tokens. Costs vary depending on which model series you choose: Ada, Babbage, Curie, Davinci, or Code-Cushman.

Our models understand and process text by breaking it down into tokens. For reference, each token is roughly four characters for typical English text.

Token costs are for both input and output. For example, if you have a 1,000 token JavaScript code sample that you ask an Azure OpenAI model to convert to Python. You would be charged approximately 1,000 tokens for the initial input request sent, and 1,000 more tokens for the output that is received in response for a total of 2,000 tokens.

In practice, for this type of completion call the token input/output wouldn't be perfectly 1:1. A conversion from one programming language to another could result in a longer or shorter output depending on many different factors including the value assigned to the max_tokens parameter.

Base Series and Codex series fine-tuned models

Azure OpenAI fine-tuned models are charged based on three factors:

  • Training hours
  • Hosting hours
  • Inference per 1,000 tokens

The hosting hours cost is important to be aware of since once a fine-tuned model is deployed it continues to incur an hourly cost regardless of whether you're actively using it. Fine-tuned model costs should be monitored closely.


After a customized model is deployed, if at any time the deployment remains inactive for greater than fifteen (15) days, the deployment will automatically be deleted. The deployment of a customized model is “inactive” if the model was deployed more than fifteen (15) days ago and no completions or chat completions calls were made to it during a continuous 15-day period. The deletion of an inactive deployment does NOT delete or affect the underlying customized model, and the customized model can be redeployed at any time. As described in Azure OpenAI Service pricing, each customized (fine-tuned) model that is deployed incurs an hourly hosting cost regardless of whether completions or chat completions calls are being made to the model. To learn more about planning and managing costs with Azure OpenAI, refer to our cost management guide.

Other costs that might accrue with Azure OpenAI Service

Keep in mind that enabling capabilities like sending data to Azure Monitor Logs, alerting, etc. incurs additional costs for those services. These costs are visible under those other services and at the subscription level, but aren't visible when scoped just to your Azure OpenAI resource.

Using Azure Prepayment with Azure OpenAI Service

You can pay for Azure OpenAI Service charges with your Azure Prepayment credit. However, you can't use Azure Prepayment credit to pay for charges for third party products and services including those from the Azure Marketplace.

Monitor costs

As you use Azure resources with Azure OpenAI, you incur costs. Azure resource usage unit costs vary by time intervals (seconds, minutes, hours, and days) or by unit usage (bytes, megabytes, and so on.) As soon as Azure OpenAI use starts, costs can be incurred and you can see the costs in cost analysis.

When you use cost analysis, you view Azure OpenAI costs in graphs and tables for different time intervals. Some examples are by day, current and prior month, and year. You also view costs against budgets and forecasted costs. Switching to longer views over time can help you identify spending trends. And you see where overspending might have occurred. If you've created budgets, you can also easily see where they're exceeded.

To view Azure OpenAI costs in cost analysis:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Select one of your Azure OpenAI resources.
  3. Under Resource Management select Cost analysis
  4. By default cost analysis is scoped to the individual Azure OpenAI resource.

Screenshot of cost analysis dashboard scoped to an Azure OpenAI resource.

To understand the breakdown of what makes up that cost, it can help to modify Group by to Meter and in this case switching the chart type to Line. You can now see that for this particular resource the source of the costs is from three different model series with Text-Davinci Tokens representing the bulk of the costs.

Screenshot of cost analysis dashboard with group by set to meter.

It's important to understand scope when evaluating costs associated with Azure OpenAI. If your resources are part of the same resource group you can scope Cost Analysis at that level to understand the effect on costs. If your resources are spread across multiple resource groups you can scope to the subscription level.

However, when scoped at a higher level you often need to add additional filters to be able to zero in on Azure OpenAI usage. When scoped at the subscription level we see a number of other resources that we may not care about in the context of Azure OpenAI cost management. When scoping at the subscription level, we recommend navigating to the full Cost analysis tool under the Cost Management service. Search for "Cost Management" in the top Azure search bar to navigate to the full service experience, which includes more options like creating budgets.

Screenshot of cost analysis dashboard with scope set to subscription.

If you try to add a filter by service, you'll find that you can't find Azure OpenAI in the list. This is because technically Azure OpenAI is part of Cognitive Services so the service level filter is Cognitive Services, but if you want to see all Azure OpenAI resources across a subscription without any other type of Cognitive Services resources you need to instead scope to Service tier: Azure OpenAI:

Screenshot of cost analysis dashboard with service tier highlighted.

Create budgets

You can create budgets to manage costs and create alerts that automatically notify stakeholders of spending anomalies and overspending risks. Alerts are based on spending compared to budget and cost thresholds. Budgets and alerts are created for Azure subscriptions and resource groups, so they're useful as part of an overall cost monitoring strategy.

Budgets can be created with filters for specific resources or services in Azure if you want more granularity present in your monitoring. Filters help ensure that you don't accidentally create new resources that cost you additional money. For more information about the filter options available when you create a budget, see Group and filter options.


While OpenAI has an option for hard limits that will prevent you from going over your budget, Azure OpenAI does not currently provide this functionality. You are able to kick off automation from action groups as part of your budget notifications to take more advanced actions, but this requires additional custom development on your part.

Export cost data

You can also export your cost data to a storage account. This is helpful when you need or others to do additional data analysis for costs. For example, a finance team can analyze the data using Excel or Power BI. You can export your costs on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule and set a custom date range. Exporting cost data is the recommended way to retrieve cost datasets.

Next steps