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One of our customers ran across some interesting data within their Azure bill. Specifically they were
looking at the billing for their SQL DW, but this same issue can show up in the billing statement for other services as well.
This customer has a single SQL DW setup with a service tier of DW300. Looking at their monthly bill last month, something looked kind of odd. A snippet of the bill is shown below.
Some things stand out to me when looking at this bill. First is the service that is being billed. It doesn’t say how many DWs we’re being billed more (more on that later).
Something else odd is that the SQL DW shows being billed for 1220 hours. Now in theory the most number of hours for any single service you can be billed for in a single month is 744 as that’s 24 (hours) *31 (days), but here we’re being billed for 1220 hours. Now we know for a fact that this SQL DW is powered off at times, so how are we using this resource for more than 31 days in a month?
The last oddity is the rate. $1.46 an hour. This points us to the reason for all of these strange numbers. That’s the rate to run a SQL DW at DW100 for one hour.
The entire SQL DW service is built around 100 DWUs and incrementing the cost and scale up from there. If you look at the pricing page for SQL DW you’ll notice that the price increase is linear. This is for a reason, it makes the billing MUCH easier.
So even though we’re being billed for 1220 hours, the SQL DW actually only ran for about 406 hours and change.
When reviewing your Azure bill, especially for PaaS services, keep in mind that the billing may not look like you expect it to because they have configured the billing at a lower tier then used a multiple to get to the correct pricing.