Understanding Azure virtual machine usage

Applies to: ✔️ Linux VMs ✔️ Windows VMs ✔️ Flexible scale sets ✔️ Uniform scale sets

By analyzing your Azure usage data, powerful consumption insights can be gained – insights that can enable better cost management and allocation throughout your organization. This document provides a deep dive into your Azure Compute consumption details. For more details on general Azure usage, navigate to Understanding your bill.

Download your usage details

To begin, download your usage details. The table provides the definition and example values of usage for Virtual Machines deployed via the Azure Resource Manager. This document doesn't contain detailed information for VMs deployed via our classic model.

Field Meaning Example Values
Usage Date The date when the resource was used 11/23/2017
Meter ID Identifies the top-level service for which this usage belongs to Virtual Machines
Meter Sub-Category The billed meter identifier.

For Compute Hour usage, there's a meter for each VM Size + OS (Windows, Non-Windows) + Region.

For Premium software usage, there's a meter for each software type. Most premium software images have different meters for each core size. For more information, visit the Compute Pricing Page
Meter Name This value is specific for each service in Azure. For compute, it is always “Compute Hours”. Compute Hours
Meter Region Identifies the location of the datacenter for certain services that are priced based on datacenter location. JA East
Unit Identifies the unit that the service is charged in. Compute resources are billed per hour. Hours
Consumed The amount of the resource that has been consumed for that day. For Compute, we bill for each minute the VM ran for a given hour (up to six decimals of accuracy). 1, 0.5
Resource Location Identifies the datacenter where the resource is running. JA East
Consumed Service The Azure platform service that you used. Microsoft.Compute
Resource Group The resource group in which the deployed resource is running in. For more information, see Azure Resource Manager overview. MyRG
Instance ID The identifier for the resource. The identifier contains the name you specify for the resource when it was created. For VMs, the Instance ID contains the SubscriptionId, ResourceGroupName, and VM Name (or scale set name for scale set usage). /subscriptions/xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx/ resourceGroups/MyRG/providers/Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/MyVM1


/subscriptions/xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxxxxx/ resourceGroups/MyRG/providers/Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachineScaleSets/MyVMSS1
Tags Tag you assign to the resource. Use tags to group billing records. Learn how to tag your Virtual Machines using the CLI or PowerShell This is available for Resource Manager VMs only. {"myDepartment":"RD","myUser":"myName"}
More Info Service-specific metadata. For VMs, we populate the following data in the additional info field:

Image Type- specific image that you ran. Find the full list of supported strings under Image Types.

Service Type: the size that you deployed.

VM Name: name of your VM. This field is only populated for scale set VMs. If you need your VM Name for scale set VMs, you can find that in the Instance ID string.

UsageType: Specifies the type of usage.

ComputeHR is the Compute Hour usage for the underlying VM, like Standard_D1_v2.

ComputeHR_SW is the premium software charge if the VM is using premium software.
Virtual Machines
{"ImageType":"Canonical","ServiceType":"Standard_DS1_v2","VM Name":"", "UsageType":"ComputeHR"}

Virtual Machine Scale Sets
{"ImageType":"Canonical","ServiceType":"Standard_DS1_v2","VM Name":"myVM1", "UsageType":"ComputeHR"}

Premium Software
{"ImageType":"","ServiceType":"Standard_DS1_v2","VM Name":"", "UsageType":"ComputeHR_SW"}

Image Type

For some images in the Azure gallery, the image type is populated in the Additional Info field. This enables users to understand and track what they have deployed on their Virtual Machine. The following values that are populated in this field based on the image you have deployed:

  • BitRock
  • Canonical FreeBSD
  • Open Logic
  • Oracle
  • SLES for SAP
  • SQL Server 14 Preview on Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview
  • SUSE
  • SUSE Premium
  • StorSimple Cloud Appliance
  • Red Hat
  • Red Hat for SAP Business Applications
  • Red Hat for SAP HANA
  • Windows Client BYOL
  • Windows Server BYOL
  • Windows Server Preview

Service Type

The service type field in the Additional Info field corresponds to the exact VM size you deployed. Premium storage VMs (SSD-based) and nonpremium storage VMs (HDD-based) are priced the same. If you deploy an SSD-based size, like Standard_DS2_v2, you see the non-SSD size (Standard\_D2\_v2 VM) in the Meter Sub-Category column and the SSD-size (Standard\_DS2\_v2) in the Additional Info field.

Region Names

The region name populated in the Resource Location field in the usage details varies from the region name used in the Azure Resource Manager. Here's a mapping between the region values:

Resource Manager Region Name Resource Location in Usage Details
australiaeast AU East
australiasoutheast AU Southeast
brazilsouth BR South
CanadaCentral CA Central
CanadaEast CA East
CentralIndia IN Central
centralus Central US
chinaeast China East
chinanorth China North
eastasia East Asia
eastus East US
eastus2 East US 2
GermanyCentral DE Central
GermanyNortheast DE Northeast
japaneast JA East
japanwest JA West
KoreaCentral KR Central
KoreaSouth KR South
northcentralus North Central US
northeurope North Europe
southcentralus South Central US
southeastasia Southeast Asia
SouthIndia IN South
UKNorth US North
uksouth UK South
UKSouth2 UK South 2
ukwest UK West
USDoDCentral US DoD Central
USDoDEast US DoD East
USGovArizona USGov Arizona
usgoviowa USGov Iowa
USGovTexas USGov Texas
usgovvirginia USGov Virginia
westcentralus US West Central
westeurope West Europe
WestIndia IN West
westus West US
westus2 US West 2

Virtual machine usage FAQ

What resources are charged when deploying a VM?

VMs acquire costs for the VM itself, any premium software running on the VM, the storage account\managed disk associated with the VM, and the networking bandwidth transfers from the VM.

How can I tell if a VM is using Azure Hybrid Benefit in the Usage CSV?

If you deploy using the Azure Hybrid Benefit, you're charged the Non-Windows VM rate since you're bringing your own license to the cloud. In your bill, you can distinguish which Resource Manager VMs are running Azure Hybrid Benefit because they have either “Windows_Server BYOL” or “Windows_Client BYOL” in the ImageType column.

How are Basic vs. Standard VM Types differentiated in the Usage CSV?

Both Basic and Standard A-Series VMs are offered. If you deploy a Basic VM, in the Meter Sub Category, it has the string “Basic.” If you deploy a Standard A-Series VM, then the VM size appears as “A1 VM” since Standard is the default. To learn more about the differences between Basic and Standard, see the Pricing Page.

What are ExtraSmall, Small, Medium, Large, and ExtraLarge sizes?

ExtraSmall - ExtraLarge are the legacy names for Standard_A0 – Standard_A4. In classic VM usage records, you might see this convention used if you have deployed these sizes.

What is the difference between Meter Region and Resource Location?

The Meter Region is associated with the meter. For some Azure services who use one price for all regions, the Meter Region field could be blank. However, since VMs have dedicated prices per region for Virtual Machines, this field is populated. Similarly, the Resource Location for Virtual Machines is the location where the VM is deployed. The Azure regions in both fields are the same, although they might have a different string convention for the region name.

Why is the ImageType value blank in the Additional Info field?

The ImageType field is only populated for a subset of images. If you didn't deploy one of the listed images, the ImageType is blank.

Why is the VMName blank in the Additional Info?

The VMName is only populated in the Additional Info field for VMs in a scale set. The InstanceID field contains the VM name for nonscale set VMs.

What does ComputeHR mean in the UsageType field in the Additional Info?

ComputeHR stands for 'Compute Hour', which represents the usage event for the underlying infrastructure cost. If the UsageType is ComputeHR_SW, the usage event represents the premium software charge for the VM.

How do I know if I'm charged for premium software?

When exploring which VM Image best fits your needs, be sure to check out Azure Marketplace. The image has the software plan rate. If you see “Free” for the rate, there's no extra cost for the software.

What is the difference between 'Microsoft.ClassicCompute' and 'Microsoft.Compute' in the Consumed service?

Microsoft.ClassicCompute represents classic resources deployed via the Azure Service Manager. If you deploy via the Resource Manager, then Microsoft.Compute is populated in the consumed service. Learn more about the Azure Deployment models.

Why is the InstanceID field blank for my Virtual Machine usage?

If you deploy via the classic deployment model, the InstanceID string isn't available.

Why are the tags for my VMs not flowing to the usage details?

Tags flow to the Usage CSV for Resource Manager VMs only. Classic resource tags aren't available in the usage details.

How can the consumed quantity be more than 24 hours one day?

In the Classic model, billing for resources is aggregated at the Cloud Service level. If you have more than one VM in a Cloud Service that uses the same billing meter, your usage is aggregated together. VMs deployed via Resource Manager are billed at the VM level, so this aggregation won't apply.

Why is pricing not available for DS/FS/GS/LS sizes on the pricing page?

Premium storage capable VMs are billed at the same rate as nonpremium storage capable VMs. Only your storage costs differ. Visit the storage pricing page for more information.

Next steps

To learn more about your usage details, see Understand your bill for Microsoft Azure.