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Azure Subscriptions

In this guide, we delve into the world of Azure subscriptions, offering a comprehensive understanding of their roles. You'll learn about their essential functions, from legal agreements to resource management, and discover the various subscription types available, each designed for distinct requirements and use cases. Additionally, we'll walk you through practical procedures for efficiently managing your subscriptions, including how to add, view, and rename them.

Subscription Purpose

An Azure subscription serves multiple purposes in the context of using Microsoft Azure services. It acts as a fundamental organizational mechanism within Azure, and its roles can be summarized as follows:

  1. Legal and Payment Agreement: A subscription is essentially a legal and payment agreement between the user or organization and Microsoft. Each subscription is linked to a specific Azure offer, like a free trial or pay-as-you-go. These offers come with their own rate plans, benefits, terms, and conditions. When a subscription is created, payment details such as a credit card number are provided, and the subscription becomes the mechanism through which Azure usage is billed.
  2. Resource Management Container: Subscriptions provide a logical boundary for managing resources. Every resource deployed in Azure, such as Virtual Machines, databases, and storage accounts, is associated with a subscription. This association helps in organizing and managing access, billing, and compliance of resources.
  3. Administrative Boundary: The subscription can act as a boundary for administrative control. It facilitates the management of access, security, and policies. Azure also provides other mechanisms like management groups and resource groups to further refine these aspects within a subscription.
  4. Boundary of Scale: Subscriptions have scale limits, meaning there is a cap on the number of certain types of resources that can be created within a subscription. This helps in managing the environment effectively and ensures that the usage stays within operational and budgetary constraints.
  5. Identity and Access Management: Subscriptions are associated with Azure accounts and Microsoft Entra tenants. This structure is important for identity and access management, as it defines who can access what within Azure. The account administrator is responsible for the costs incurred by the subscription’s resources and has the authority to manage subscription administrators.
  6. Region Association: While subscriptions are not tied to a specific Azure region, each Azure resource deployed is associated with only one region. A single subscription can have resources in multiple regions, allowing for a distributed architecture.

In summary, an Azure subscription is a multi-faceted entity that plays a key role in the management, billing, and organization of resources within the Azure cloud environment. It is the starting point for adopting Azure services and sets the framework for how resources are deployed, managed, and billed.

Subscription Types

Azure offers a variety of subscription types, each tailored to different needs and use cases. Here's an overview of the different types of Azure subscriptions and their key characteristics:

  1. Free Trial: This subscription is designed for new Azure users. It provides limited free access to Azure resources, allowing users to explore and experiment with Azure services.
  2. Pay-As-You-Go: This is a flexible subscription model where you pay for the Azure resources you use. It's suitable for both individuals and businesses that want a pay-as-you-use approach.
  3. Enterprise Agreement (EA): This subscription type is ideal for large organizations that use a significant volume of Azure resources. It offers customized pricing and terms, based on the organization's specific needs and usage patterns.
  4. Member Offers: Azure provides special offers for various groups like MSDN subscribers, Microsoft partner network members, and others. These offers include specific benefits and discounts.
  5. Dev/Test: Aimed at development and testing environments, this subscription offers discounted rates on Azure services, making it cost-effective for development teams.
  6. Support Plans: Azure also offers various support plans as part of its subscription model. These plans vary in terms of the level of support, response time, and available resources.
  7. Visual Studio Subscribers: Special offers are available for Visual Studio subscribers, providing additional benefits and access to Azure resources.
  8. Microsoft Azure EA Sponsorship: This is typically offered to specific groups or organizations (like educational institutions) and includes specific terms and benefits tailored to the sponsor's needs.

Each of these subscription types has its own set of terms, benefits, and pricing models. The choice of a subscription type will depend on the specific requirements, size, and budget of the user or organization.

Subscription Naming Convention

Having a clear and consistent naming convention is key to efficient resource management. It aids in categorization, quick identification, and streamlined operations. Microsoft recommends a specific format for naming subscriptions, which balances brevity and informativeness.

The suggested format for naming Azure subscriptions is as follows:

<business unit>-<subscription purpose>-<###>

This format comprises three core components, each serving a specific purpose and must be no more than 64 characters in length:

  1. Business Unit

    • Represents the top-level division of your company that owns the subscription.
    • In smaller organizations, it might refer to a single corporate top-level organizational element.
    • This part of the name helps in categorizing subscriptions based on organizational structure.
  2. Subscription Purpose

    • Provides a summary description of the subscription's purpose.
    • It's typically broken down by environment (e.g., development, testing, production) or specific workloads (e.g., web services, data analytics).
    • This description aids in quickly identifying the function or use-case of the subscription.
  3. Instance Number

    • Refers to the instance count for a specific subscription.
    • It is used to differentiate between subscriptions that otherwise share the same naming convention and components.
    • This is especially useful in large-scale deployments where multiple instances of similar subscriptions exist.

Let's illustrate the naming convention with some practical examples. These examples will demonstrate how the naming convention can be applied in different organizational scenarios:

  • finance-prod-payroll-001: This could represent the first instance of a production environment subscription used by the finance department for payroll services.
  • marketing-dev-website-002: Indicates the second instance of a development environment subscription used by the marketing department for website development.
  • corp-test-api-001: Represents the first instance of a test environment subscription used company-wide for API testing.
  • corp-prod-analytics-003: Indicates the third instance of a production environment subscription used across the company for data analytics.

Adopting a systematic naming convention like the one recommended by Microsoft can greatly enhance the manageability and clarity of your Azure subscriptions. It allows for easy identification, sorting, and understanding of the purpose and ownership of each subscription, especially in environments with multiple subscriptions spanning various departments and use cases.

How to Add a Subscription

When working with cloud services, managing subscriptions is a fundamental task. This section provides a detailed walkthrough on how to add a subscription to your account, which is a necessary step for accessing various services and resources:

  1. Locating the Subscription Service

    • Begin by navigating to the subscription service in the user interface.
    • In the top search bar, type subscriptions.
    • You will see a section titled Subscriptions under the Services category. Click on this to proceed.


  2. Initiating Subscription Addition

    • Once you're in the subscriptions section, look for the + Add button. This is your gateway to adding a new subscription.
    • Click on + Add to start the process.


  3. Choosing the Right Plan

    • After initiating the addition, you'll be presented with various subscription offers.
    • It's important to select the offer that aligns with your requirements. Each offer is designed for different use cases and budgets.
    • For each offer, there's a Learn more link. If you're unsure about which offer suits your needs, utilize these links for more information.
    • Here's what the offer selection looks like:


  4. Authentication and Agreement

    • If prompted, sign in to your account. This ensures that the subscription is added to the correct account.


    • Review and accept the agreement terms. This is essential to proceed further.

  5. Payment and Support

    • Provide your payment information. This step is secure and necessary for any billing related to the subscription.
    • Decide on the level of technical support you require. Different levels of support are available based on your needs and budget.
  6. Finalizing the Subscription

    • After filling in all the necessary information, click on sign up to complete the process and add your subscription.
    • The final step looks like this:


How to View Your Subscriptions

In cloud service management, keeping track of your subscriptions is crucial. This section will assist you in viewing your subscriptions, ensuring you have complete oversight of your resources and services.

  1. Finding the Subscription Service

    • To begin, access the subscription service in the interface.
    • In the top search bar, type subscriptions.
    • Then select Subscriptions listed under Services.


  2. Viewing Your Subscriptions

    • Upon selection, you'll see a list of your current subscriptions.
    • This view is essential for managing and understanding your active subscriptions.
    • Here's what your subscriptions list will look similar to:


  3. Inspecting a Specific Subscription

    • To delve deeper into a particular subscription, simply click on the one you're interested in.
    • This action will direct you to the subscription's overview page, where detailed information is displayed.
    • For reference, the overview page will resemble:


  4. Addressing Missing Subscriptions

    • If some subscriptions are not visible, you might need to adjust the subscription filter.
    • Click on the Subscriptions filter.
    • Uncheck the Show only subscriptions selected in the global subscriptions filter option.
    • Then, select Apply.


  5. Setting the Default Filter

    • To avoid repeating the filter adjustment, you can change the default settings.
    • Click on the Settings cog located on the top bar of the Azure portal.


    • Tick Select all under Default subscription filter dropdown.


    • This adjustment ensures that all subscriptions are displayed by default.

    • After setting this, the Default subscription filter should indicate All subscriptions.


It's important to remember that whenever you add a new subscription, you might need to revisit these settings to ensure visibility. This step ensures that all current and future subscriptions are always accessible in your view.

How to Rename a Subscription

Managing multiple subscriptions in cloud services often requires clear naming conventions for ease of identification and management. This section will walk you through the process of renaming a subscription in a detailed and user-friendly manner:

  1. Accessing the Rename Option

    • Start by navigating to the overview page of the subscription you wish to rename.
    • Look for the rename button or link. This is your starting point for changing the subscription name.


  2. Entering the New Subscription Name

    • Once you click rename, you will be directed to a section where you can input the new name.
    • Under Subscription name, type in the preferred new name for your subscription. Ensure the name is clear and descriptive to avoid confusion.
    • Be mindful that the name should align with your naming conventions and be easily identifiable among your other subscriptions.
  3. Saving the New Subscription Name

    • After typing the new name, click on Save to confirm the change.
    • This action will update the subscription name.
    • Here's what the renaming interface looks like:


It's important to note that the change in the subscription name may not be immediate across all interfaces and services. Typically, it can take approximately 10 minutes for the new name to be displayed everywhere. This delay is due to the time it takes for the change to propagate through the system.

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