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Azure Metering: The Ultimate Guide for ISVs

Once you’re listed on the Azure Marketplace, you will need to determine whether or not to include metering as part of your pricing strategy. While some applications come with standard pricing (e.g., a monthly or annual subscription cost), other services charge by the usage of a specific unit, like data consumed or reports created. 

Think about how you are charged for your utility bills. The more you use water, gas, or electricity, the higher your bill will be. The same rule on the Azure Marketplace when you create a plan or offer with specific billing dimensions. 

Here’s an overview of metering on the Azure Marketplace to help you get started.

 

What is Azure metering?

Metering in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace can happen when customers are charged based on the usage of units such as bandwidth, tickets, emails processed, or data consumed. In Azure lingo, each unit is called a “dimension.”

Metered billing is only available with managed application plans, which by default have a monthly fee (this can be zero)

How does Azure metering work?

When an overage is triggered, the ISV starts measuring the customer’s consumption and sending real-time updates to the Azure Marketplace via the metering service API. This means you will need to set your billing dimensions, which include the following:

  • Dimension identifier – the tag for a usage event 
  • Dimension name – display name for the dimension (e.g., emails processed)
  • Unit of measurement – the billing unit (e.g., per email or per 1 GB)
  • Price per unit – the price per the unit of measurement (e.g., $.10 per email sent)
  • Included quantity per month in the baseline subscription fee – this must be an integer and can also be 0.
 

Enabled vs. Infinite

You can pick and choose which dimensions to include in each plan. For each plan, you will need to decide whether to 1) enable the dimension at all and 2) if the dimension should include limited or unlimited usage.  

  • Enabled – this simply means that the dimension is included in a plan. If you don’t check this box, then the dimension won’t be measured
  • Infinite – you can use the infinity symbol to include that the plan includes an unlimited dimension, which can mean unlimited emails sent or unlimited tickets processed. 
 

Can I make edits after making an offer?

Once an offer is published, you will not be able to edit the dimension identifier, though you can change how you measure usage and overage. 

 

Can I make edits after publishing a plan?

Once a plan is published, you can not change the baseline quantity that is included in monthly or annual subscriptions 

 

Examples of metering in Azure

Depending on your product, you might need to charge by 1 or multiple nonstandard units. 

Example 1

Launch

  • Process 20 emails for free
  • Beyond 20 emails, $.20 for every email sent 

Scale

  • Process 1000 emails for $50 per month
  • Beyond 100 emails, pay $.10 for every email sent 

Example 2

Base

  • Analyze 50 GB and process 100 tickets for $0
  • Beyond 50 GB, pay $10 per 1 GB
  • Beyond 100 tickets, pay $.1 per ticket

Premium

  • Analyze 500 GB and process 1000 tickets for $200 per month
  • Beyond 500 GB, pay $100 for every 1 TB
  • Beyond 100 tickets, pay $.05 for every ticket
 

How do I set up metered billing in Azure?

After meeting all of the requirements to make an Azure offer, you will need to determine what pricing makes sense before you set your Azure billing.

  1. Start by determining your application’s monthly costs, which can be a base number or $0 if you only want to charge by usage
  2. Determine your billing dimensions, such as bandwidth, number of tickets, emails processed, or data consumed
  3. Integrate with the Azure Marketplace metering services API so Microsoft can accurately bill customers based on their usage
 

What are the advantages of Azure metering?

  • Customers don’t need to change, upgrade, or downgrade their plans when their usage changes 
  • Highly customizable, with ISVs able to offer 30 unique dimensions for a single offer 
  • You can create plans that meet the needs of businesses ranging from small business and scaling startups to major enterprises
 

Azure metering and private offers

With a private offer, you can customize the billing dimensions to incentivize customers. This is a good option for customers who might have higher levels of usage in one or multiple dimensions. 

If your base and premium plan charge $.10 per email sent after 1000, for instance, you might make an offer with a dimension such as $.05 per email sent after 2000.

 

Benefit from Invisory’s Azure metering API 

If you’re struggling with getting transactable or connecting to the Azure Marketplace metering API, you’re not alone. 

With the Invisory platform, you can customize your metering dimensions right on the platform. Our pre-built APIs save you months of time and thousands of dollars in technical costs. 

FAQ

  • What about Azure metering and foreign currency?

    The foreign exchange rate is determined at the time the customer transacts the offer. 

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