What can be used for free in Azure?

When trying to decide which public cloud to use, often a key decision point is cost. Understanding these costs and how to better leverage the services available to you is a post for another day. Today we’re simply going to run through those services that are always free and highlight some great offers out there at the moment if you’re thinking of trying Azure.

First up, there are approximately 25 services that are always free in Azure. Before you get too excited, some of these are services that compliment others or the platform use itself rather than a standalone feature. However, anything free is better than nothing!

I added the listed free services below with some thoughts:

Service NameDetails
5 GB of bandwidth for outbound data transfer with free unlimited inbound transfer Fairly self-explanatory. But if your usage lines up, you could have free inbound and outbound data to Azure forever.
10 web, mobile, or API apps with Azure App Service with 1 GB storage This is a good one, the free tier can be quite slow, but free web apps!
1 million requests and 400,000 GBs of resource consumption with Azure Functions Most likely need additional resources etc to make full use of this, but a great free quota
100,000 operations for event publishing and delivery with Event Grid Same as above!
Free Azure Container service to cluster virtual machines Container service is basically deprecated now so…
50,000 stored objects with Azure Active Directory with single sign-on (SSO) for 10 apps per user Identity is important, so very handy to have that many objects but free, but check feature set in AAD Free works for you.
50,000 monthly stored users and 50,000 authentications per month with Azure Active Directory B2C Depending on your B2C requirements, 50k could be more than enough or just part of your daily active. Either way, free quota is good.
Free Azure Service Fabric to build microservice apps Helpful, but you have to pay for everything you build…
Unlimited nodes (server or platform-as-a-service instance) with Application Insights and 1 GB of telemetry data included per month As it says, can be difficult to estimate your telemetry data though, so one to keep an eye on.
First 5 users free with Azure DevOps Straight forward and good.
Unlimited use of Azure DevTest Labs Very ambiguous. You can configure it and create templates, but you pay for everything you deploy as normal.
Machine Learning with 100 modules and 1 hour per experiment with 10 GB included storage A great starter quota
Free policy assessment and recommendations with Azure Security Center Another great free addition to an overall service
Unlimited recommendations and best practices with Azure Advisor Helpful, not sure if anyone would pay for it if it wasn’t free though…
Free Azure IoT Hub edition includes 8,000 messages per day with 0.5 KB message meter size Excellent starter quota
5 free low frequency activities with Azure Data Factory Still have to pay for that DF.
50 MB storage for 10,000 hosted documents with Azure Search including 3 indexes per service Excellent starter quota
Free namespace and 1 million push notifications with Azure Notification Hubs Good service, most likely need additional paid services to get full benefit
Unlimited Azure Batch usage for job scheduling and cluster management Similar to devtest labs offer, pay for what is deployed
Free 500 minutes of job run time with Azure Automation Excellent starter quota
Unlimited users and 5,000 catalog objects with Azure Data Catalog Excellent starter quota
30,000 transactions per month processing at 20 transactions per minute with Face API Excellent starter quota
Free 2 million characters included for Translator Text API Excellent starter quota
Free 5 GB per month analysis plus 31-day retention period with Log Analytics Excellent starter quota, again watch the ingestion of data
50 virtual networks free with Azure Virtual Network Not sure what use they are without other paid services, but still free
Unlimited inbound Inter-VNet data transfer Great that it’s free, but you pay for outbound so be careful

At the moment, there is also plenty of great offers for first time sign-up that gives you free resource usage for 12 months and some monthly credit. More on those here. Some nice resources are part of that offer, including B-series VM (explainer on those) and CosmosDB.

Of course, with anything free, please be careful and double check your usage so you’re not surprised with a crazy bill. Better to know after an hour or two than a whole month!

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