How does CloudBilling retrieve usage from Microsoft?


 

Introduction

Usage based pricing models are the future, this is why CloudBilling has designed the CSP connector in such a way that we can support this type of pricing. By connecting with Microsoft on a daily basis and retrieving both Azure and Licence usage we provide a very detailed usage history of what your customers have been doing. This guide provides an explanation on when we retrieve usage, and how that can differ from what you receive from Microsoft.

Azure usage

Every day at 9:00 CET we connect with Microsoft to retrieve the latest usage over the past 3 days (standard setting). We retrieve Azure usage over a longer period due to the ‘grace period’ Microsoft has created for themselves. During the grace period, Microsoft can update at any point the earlier reported Azure consumption. Therefore, we always check the Azure usage of this period to make sure that we do not miss any usage. The usage is reported with the same unit as the resources consume according to Microsoft. 

Licence subscriptions

Every day at 9:00 AM CET, we connect with Microsoft to retrieve the latest count of the licence subscriptions. This is timed in such a way that we retrieve the latest licence subscription count 1 hour after Microsoft has updated their counters. This translates in a purchase per subscription with a validity of 1 day. Unfortunately, Microsoft does not support the retrieval of usage in the past, only the current status of the subscriptions.

Why are there differences between my Microsoft invoice and CloudBilling?

CloudBilling is a tool that creates the invoice with sales in mind. This allows you as a user to define in when, how and over what period you want to invoice your clients. This can lead to an apparent difference between the invoices and the purchasing invoice from Microsoft. These differences can have multiple reasons:

1. Invoice Period

Microsoft invoices you as a reseller based on the date you have signed the CSP contract with them. If you signed this contract on the 7th of the month. Each invoice, and the reported usage will be reported over the period from the 7th up until the 7th of the next month. CloudBilling allows you to move away from this period and invoice your clients as you want. You can match the calendar month or match the Microsoft period. If, however your invoice period does not match with Microsoft, due to the different period differences can arise. This is something you cannot avoid.

2. Prepayments

CloudBilling in combination with CSP is designed that your clients only pay for the actual usage. This means that we invoice after the usage has been consumed. Microsoft uses a mixed model of paying upfront and correcting this prepaid amount based on actual usage. This means that in the end, Microsoft charges you for the actual usage, but you will always see a difference due to the prepayments made for next month.

3. Start using CloudBilling

When you start using CloudBilling, we do not expect you start at exactly the moment that either Microsoft invoices you as a reseller, or that you exactly start at 1st of the month. This means that the usage we will retrieve will not contain everything of a specific month. This will lead to invoices that will only partially reflect the end result of a full month of usage. This is only occurs the first month of measuring for a tenant.