SteveZaske-8007 avatar image
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SteveZaske-8007 asked ·

How much will it cost me to learn Azure Machine Learning?

I'm trying to do the Azure Data Scientist Associate certification. I'm on the first portion of learning exercises and it has me create a Machine Learning Workspace and then its had me create a VM which according to the Azure pricing calculator will cost me $367 a month. If I forget to shut down this VM could I get a bill for this much? Is there a way to have these VM's automatically shut down? Since I'm only interacting with this VM via a web interface I'm really worried that I'm going to get stuck with some hefty bills after this training. Should I be concerned? The Azure Portal has a cost estimate section but it does not include any of my Machine Learning resources or workspaces so I'm not sure how I can get a realistic estimate for how much this will cost me to complete this training.

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romungi-MSFT avatar image
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romungi-MSFT answered ·

Hello @SteveZaske-8007,

I believe that you are trying to create a compute instance from ML portal which gives you an option to stop or delete the instance but does not have an option to auto shutoff the instance since this feature is not available for compute instance.

You have an option to use the compute cluster type of compute which allows you to set the minimum/maximum number of nodes. In this case to avoid being billed when the training is not in progress the minimum number of 0 will ensure you do not have any nodes running when not required. You can also set this from the SDK if required.

For example, if you are using the Basic plan and you you train a model for 100 hours using 10 DS14 v2 VMs on an Basic workspace in US West 2. For a billing month of 30 days, your bill will be as follows:

Azure VM Charge: (10 machines $1.196 per machine) 100 hours = $1,196

Azure Machine Learning Charge: (10 machines 16 cores $0 per core) * 100 hours = $0

Total: $1,196 + $0 = $1,196

But if you are using an Enterprise edition when it becomes generally available, it will have a machine learning surcharge (for training and inferencing). When this is enabled the calculator will be updated to give you an estimate of surcharge based on the amount of time you run the training and inferencing.

So, in the current scenario the charge for your training depends on the amount of time you use the VM. If you use compute instance type you need to ensure to stop or delete it when not required, If compute cluster type is used you can set the minimum number of nodes to 0 to avoid billing when there is no training.

We hope this helps.

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I'm asking about the scenario where I'm doing one of the learning labs, and then get busy with something in the real world and forget to stop my compute instance. As it stands that instance continues to run indefinitely. One month later I have a bill for $367, two months $734 dollars. As someone just learning, this really scares me. Your suggestions seems to be equally difficult to remember to do; either I'm remembering to stop the instance, or in your case i'm remembering to set minimum nodes to zero. I'd prefer a setting that lets my instance shut down after a time of in-activity.

I guess at some point I'd need to notice these charges on my credit card statement...or my credit card reaches it maximum.

BTW, your budgeting and cost alert features seem useless, so they aren't helpful here. Only the cost analysis tab seemed to give me any indication as to how much it was actually costing me to learn Azure Machine Learning.

1 Vote 1 ·

Hi @SteveZaske-8007, the simple answer to your question is to remember to shutdown your compute instance or set your minimum compute cluster node to zero. You must do this manually. Failure to do this will lead to charges incurred. I have been a prey to this.

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I set a calendar reminder to email me every day at 5pm to shutdown/turn-down Azure VMs and databases. That's how I "remember" many things these days :)

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Frankfalvey avatar image
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Frankfalvey answered ·

Hi @SteveZaske-8007 , The good news is that you can create an Azure Machine Learning studio workspace for free. All you have to do is open any modern browser, and go to studio dot Azure ML dot net, and sign in using a live I.D. and you're ready to go. Now of course it's free, so there are some restriction, especially around how much compute you can consume, so there are some restrictions, you can use the absolutely free version, that is no credit card required, that is no Azure subscription needed. Certainly, if you have an Azure subscription, you can use it and that'll allow you to create a slightly more complex model, that may consume more compute. Maybe you want to import some data from an existing source, or some other data store that already might be on Azure, you can use datasets up to 10GB for free. so I think for more serious projects, you'll probably end up using your Azure subscription,

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