Azure DevOps Cost Savings

Aammir Mirza
3 min readJan 10, 2022

Lots of organization with DevOps practices using ADO (Azure DevOps) are likely dealing with the new reality of a contracting and uncertain economy. Ah !!! It is too much on my plate.

So busy to focus on areas where I can squeeze few $$ from Azure services. Now is a good time to deliver value by turning your attention toward identifying some cost-saving measures for the various systems you are using.

What if we have a automation in place that keep track of users licenses within the organization that are not active from 1,2,3…n months and downgrade them back to ‘Stakeholder’.
An extension to ‘Audit Your License Usage’ and downgrade them if they are not active from past few months or so.

Extension Azure DevOps License Management Tasks

The first step to evaluate your cloud spend is to audit your license usage within Azure DevOps. Azure DevOps has three or four different tiers of license usage.

Stakeholder — Free
Basic — First five users free, then $6 per user
Basic + Test Plans — $52 per user
Visual Studio Subscriber — $45 — $250 a month


It make no sense to discuss who should have what type of license in this blog because that is more dependent on how your team works.
For example:

Some employees may have Visual Studio subscriptions.
Some may have basic licenses.
Anyone else in your org that needs visibility have a stakeholder license (these licenses are free).
Any team members outside of Visual Studio subscribers who need to review or access test plans on a regular basis might have the Test Plan add-on license. This would typically include product owners and possibly support engineers who are subject matter experts.
I would recommend taking a close look at the number of Visual Studio subscribers you have and making sure that everyone is actively using their license.

Extension is taking care of pulling this information across all organization.
As we can see in the pipeline if fetches users and there entitlements for individual organization. As shown in the below screen shot.
As it runs the organization, organization mv-e….. (#1)
Extension finds 2 users those who not logged-in since 2-months (#2)
And then downgrade the license type from Basic or Basic+Test to Stakeholder (#3 and #4)

In the same way,we can have explicit email address to skip the license auditing and they will be excluded from the action of downgrade.
As you can see in below image

And finally it generates the log (csv) which can be artifact of the pipeline for reference. As you see in the below image the list of action performed
#1 : gives the error for downgrade because either the user in owner of organization or the user is added thru ‘Group rule’

Evidence of cost savings for 30+ organization (without multi-org feature enabled) and 1000+ users

November-2021 cost (without license management automation)

Cost for user licenses : 3867 EURO

December-2021 cost (with license management automation)

Cost for user licenses : 2364 EURO with savings of 1500+ Euro

Extension is available at link.



Aammir Mirza

Cloud Architect with 12 years of experience in managing cloud infrastructure and automation, integrating Azure cloud-based infra components