Spelunking Azure, What does it Cost?

 As I mentioned in a prior post I will be spending some time on Azure, I imagine the things I run into that stump me are probably stumping to the community as well be you a SQL professional, Windows Admin or otherwise. You will know the non SQL specific topics by the title, Spelunking, it seems rather appropriate, as digging through and finding all of the needed documentation certainly feels that way.


The first thing I want to bust through is Cost, what does it cost to maintain an IaaS VM or anything else in the cloud? While there is a 90 day trial and many other free trials, you do have to provide a credit card to participate. The reason for this is so that we can verify you are a real person and not a bot. Well that is fine and dandy, but I am not a bot and I am concerned that I may accidently run up a $10,000 Azure bill. We have all seen the horror stories on the news about kids running up the text messaging bills on their parents plan to thousands of dollars. So we would all be wise to heed caution. Hopefully the following information will at least draw back the covers so you can estimate what your cost may be. On the bright side, we have a safety mechanism, the Windows Azure Spending Limit for the 90 day trial. Keep in mind the spending limit cap is only in effect during the 90 day trial.


But, before we get too far, check this out, the Azure Price Calculator. This will give you an idea of what an Azure service will cost. The slide scale under each item denotes the number of objects, size of storage, expected bandwidth etc… So if you are curious to what 10 Large VMs will cost simply slide the bar to 10 and select "L". The full details are under Pricing at a Glance


This post will be related to the Azure Virtual Machine. If there is significant interest in other areas, leave a comment and I will see if I can help!  


What is a Compute Hour – Is a deployed Hour of time. For instance, the moment you deploy a Virtual Machine in Azure, the compute clock starts. If you turn off you VM the clock is still running. If you delete your VM and all of its storage, the clock stops. One VM with one CPU core will consume 1 compute hour, if you deploy a VM with 8 Cores, the VM will charge at 8 compute hours.


To demonstrate this, in the Azure Calculator select 4 medium (2 CPU core VM) and notice the cost, this will be 8 compute hours. Then change to 1 XL VM (8 CPU Cores) you will notice that the cost is the same as the 8 small VMs. There are significant differences between the VMs, the XL will have more memory, the ability to attach more disk drives etc…, all of the differences can be found here Virtual Machines – under the section Defining the Size. Using the calculator you can determine what 1 VM will cost you per month, if you turn it off, use it at idle or 100% CPU the cost will be the same.  


Azure IaaS Pricing Details


Windows Azure Spending Limit


Azure Price Calculator


Glossary of Azure Terms


 Glossary of Azure Database Terms