Azure Subscriptions

Azure Subscriptions

July 11, 2016 4 By Eric Shanks

Azure is a great reservoir of resources that your organization can use to deploy applications upon and the cloud is focused around pooling resources together. However, organizations need to be able to split resources up based on cost centers. The development team will be using resources for building new apps, as well as maybe an e-commerce team for production uses. Subscriptions allow for a single Azure instance to separate these costs, and bill to different teams.

When you signed up to try out Azure, you created at least one subscription to get started. Every resource that is deployed must be associated with only one subscription so that billing for that item can be processed. When I signed up for my account there was a free-trial going on so I have two subscriptions.

The screenshot below shows that I have a pair of subscriptions in use.


When we drill down into each of these subscriptions, we can see that they show statistics about the billing of those subscriptions. Stats like which objects are using the resources, and the burn rate to see how the costs have changed over time. We’re also able to further break down what resources and resource groups are part of the subscription. We can also assign permissions to this subscription object. One thing you’ll notice is missing is the “Add a Subscription” button.

NOTE: At the time of this writing, Microsoft has a pair of Azure portals including the new Azure Resource Manager portal and the Azure Classic portal. Not all abilities are in the new portal yet.


Add a New Subscription

To get to the subscription additions page you must go to the account center. The Account page will allow the Azure administrator to add additional subscriptions. Go to the Subscription tab and then click the “add subscription” link on that page.


The next screen gives you the opportunity to select an “offer” which equates to a payment plan. You can pick “Pay-As-You-Go to pay monthly with a credit card or a prepaid plan.


I selected the Pay-As-You-Go plan which required me to enter a credit card number and accept the agreement and privacy statements.AzureSubscription4

When your subscription build is complete you’ll get a message about managing your subscriptions. If you click the link, it will take you back to the new Azure Resource Manager portal.


Manage Subscription Security

Sometimes you need to modify the person that is the administrator for the subscription. By default, the account administrator (User who setup the Azure Account) is also the Service Administrator for the subscription. The Service Administrator has admin access to the subscription including modifying the directory connected to the subscription. If you want to, you can add a co-administrator which has all of the administrative permissions of the subscription except for modifying the directories connected to the subscription. This prevents the co-administrator from modifying which sets of users are connected to that subscription.

To do this go to the classic portal at: and go to settings. Select the Administrators tab and then select the subscription to manage.


Enter the co-administrator that you want to add to the subscription and then click the check box.


When you’re done, you’ll notice that your new user has been added an is listed as a Co-Administrator.

You can also add the user to the subscription through the new Azure Resource Manager portal but won’t see “Co-Administrator” anywhere. Go to Subscriptions, and add a user. Select the role of “Owner” and then your user.


When you’re done you’ll see a list of users again and your new user will show as “Owner” which gives it the same rights. You’ll also notice “Subscription Admins” which includes all Service Administrators and Co-Administrators. They of course also have “Owner” rights.AzureSubscription12