Q&A: What are the UK prices for the Windows Azure Platform


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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Lots of folks keep asking me for UK prices and to be fair it does take a little work to find them (You need to start here and bring up this pop up)

Hence for simplicity, I have copied them here (as of Jan 29th 2010).

Note that there are several rates available. The following is “Windows Azure Platform Consumption”

Windows Azure

Compute

  • Small instance (default): £0.0728 per hour
  • Medium instance: £0.1455 per hour
  • Large instance: £0.291 per hour
  • Extra large instance: £0.5819 per hour

Storage

  • £0.091 per GB stored per month
  • £0.0061 per 10,000 storage transactions

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

  • Service currently available as a Community Technology Preview (CTP) at no charge

SQL Azure

Web Edition – Up to 1 GB relational database

  • £6.055 per database per month

Business Edition – Up to 10 GB relational database

  • £60.604 per database per month

AppFabric

Access Control

  • £1.2062 per 100,000 transactions*

Service Bus

  • £2.4184 per connection on a “pay-as-you-go” basis*
  • Pack of 5 connections £6.0307*
  • Pack of 25 connections £30.1535*
  • Pack of 100 connections £120.6139*
  • Pack of 500 connections £603.0695*

Data Transfers

North America and Europe regions

  • £0.0607 per GB in
  • £0.091 per GB out

Asia Pacific Region

  • £0.1819 per GB in
  • £0.2728 per GB out

Inbound data transfers during off-peak times through June 30, 2010 are at no charge.  Prices revert to our normal inbound data transfer rates after June 30, 2010.

Related Links:

You have 10 votes. Why not use them! www.mygreatwindowsazureidea.com


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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The Windows Azure Platform team is very keen to get your feedback on where they should be directing their efforts over the coming months. I’ve mentioned www.mygreatwindowsazureidea.com in previous blog posts but it never managed its own post – well this is it 🙂

Everybody has 10 votes to cast. Which means you have. Go on, vote now.

The current top 5 are not that surprising (I even voted for 4 of them):

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But I also find the “new entries” very enlightening e.g.

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And trust me – those 10 votes get used up pretty quickly 🙂

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Results of Cloud Computing Survey – Part 1: Is Cloud relevant?


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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On January 7th 2010 I kicked off a survey on Cloud Computing and the Windows Azure Platform (Now closed). A big thanks to the 100 folks who completed the survey. I have been through the results and removed a few where folks clearly dropped out after page 1 (which is fine – but I felt it wasn’t helping the results).

I promised to share the results which I will do over four posts. This is the first of those four.

  • Part 1: Is Cloud relevant?
  • Part 2: How well do you know the technologies of Microsoft, Amazon, Google and SalesForce?
  • Part 3: What Plans around the Windows Azure Platform?
  • Part 4: My analysis

Some observations:

  • I am a .NET developer (well, I try to be), therefore my expectation is that most folks replying would in the main be .NET developers. This will obviously means the results will end up favouring MS technologies.
  • I am UK based, hence most of the respondents are from the UK.
  • At the time of creating the survey I had only just switched to Azure. Hence I think my “readership” at that point were not “Azure fans” or “Cloud fans” – instead they were likely a cross section of the development landscape. Which I think makes the answer to question 2 very interesting.

Do you develop in the UK?

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What is your view of the relevance of Cloud Computing to the applications you build?

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What type of applications would you expect to deploy? (Multiple choice)

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NB: 6 people skipped the above, presumably folks who had rules it out.

Which technologies do you currently use for building web applications and services? (Multiple choice)

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Excellent example of explaining the details of a PaaS offering – alas it isn’t Azure


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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The Windows Azure Platform is now live. It is showcased by a terrifically exciting web site which tells you what it is and makes it incredibly simple to sign up.

Actually, it isn’t. We have http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/. It is an “ok” site I suppose. The detail is there. It has the occasional decent enough diagram, but TBH its a maze of words, pages, whitepapers, links, videos, downloads. I dislike it a lot. Sorry. I think the technology is great but the site is not.

I would encourage you to take two minutes to check out just how well it can be done. But remember – you must come back as you want to use the Windows Azure Platform!!

Meet Heroku. A PaaS offering for Ruby developers. More specifically check out the “How it Works” and “Pricing” tabs.

How it Works is presented a a series of excellent and interactive diagrams. This snip doesn’t do it justice:

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And Pricing is even more amazing. It is actually fun! Yes – you heard me, it is fun!

I was tempted by a Fugu but settled on a Koi, 13 Dynos and 19 Workers. Enough said 🙂

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I hope someone in marketing stumbles across this post or better still the Heroku website. Fingers crossed it is sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, why not join the UK Azure community and be amongst friends 🙂

New Windows Azure Platform online community in the UK


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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There is a really strong interest in Cloud Computing and Azure in the UK – but it doesn’t appear to be supported by an online community. Well, at least I couldn’t find an active community.

Hence I decided to go and create one. Or at least create the skeleton of one: http://ukazure.ning.com/

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Right now you can:

  • Give a “Shout out” to what you are up to with Azure. I’m certain folks would like to know.
  • Watch UK produced videos on Azure including interviews with early adopters
  • Check out upcoming UK events featuring Azure
  • Join groups such as AppFabric and PhP
  • Publish Azure/Cloud events you know about (Moderated)
  • Blog directly to the community (Moderated)
  • Create your own sub groups e.g. regional cloud computing groups (Moderated)
  • Publish Azure/Cloud video you find on YouTube etc (Moderated)
  • And plenty more…

Don’t be put off by “Moderated” – that is simply to avoid spam. I’m hoping there will be plenty of contributions from the community – from folks just “kicking tyres” to those already active with the platform.

I also hope that in quick time I can share the admin of the site with one or two others outside of Microsoft  – it is certainly not my intention to make it a “Microsoft speaks” site.

I hope you find a reason to join up.

P.S. I since discovered Brazil has been doing “the same” for a long while. They have a very nice site and 256 members (very “binary”!). Lest see if we can beat Brazil in double quick time. No – I do not have a Microsoft objective to do that 🙂

QandA: How do you avoid being charged unnecessarily for Windows Azure compute hours?


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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[Check out my other QandAs]

You would reasonably expect to be charged for the use of the Windows Azure Platform for any application you have built which is live on Azure.

But you will a) want to minimise that cost and b) you would probably like to avoid it all together while doing development or learning about Azure.

These “tips” should help you minimise the cost:

Make the most of January 2010

You can use the Windows Azure Platform at no charge throughout January and get an insight into the billing. Remember

January is FREE!

Understand how we charge

Billing of compute hours is done in hourly chunks. You get billed for a full hour for every deployed application, even if you only have it running for just 1 minute. Remember that the instance type affects how much we bill e.g. Medium is using 2 physical cores and is twice as expensive as Small which is using one core.

From the Introductory Special:

  • Small instance (default): £0.0728 per hour
  • Medium instance: £0.1455 per hour
  • Large instance: £0.291 per hour
  • Extra large instance: £0.5819 per hour

Take advantage of the introductory offers

Including:

Develop and test locally

Where possible stick with the Development Fabric which comes as part of the SDK. Only deploy an application to Windows Azure when you are absolutely ready to do so.

Delete applications you no longer need from the cloud

When an application isn’t used – DELETE IT – don’t just suspend it.  More Detail

Use the right number of instances of an application

Use the minimal number of virtual machines instances.  If you don’t have an explicit reason to use multiple instances, don’t. Remember you need two instances to get the SLA from Microsoft.

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Avoid Surprises

Track your usage diligently on the Microsoft Online Service portal but remember that the portal is lagging behind your actual usage. I believe it is 12 hours behind. 

QandA: When do I get charged for compute hours on Windows Azure?


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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[Check out my other QandAs]

This question keeps coming up. Hence I will have a stab at explaining it.

Nothing deployed = no charge

First I think we can all happily agree that the following service on Windows Azure won’t be costing me anything 🙂

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Deployed and running and being used = charge

If we have code deployed and being used then you will be charged. Seems reasonable. Note that Staging and Production cost the same.

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Deployed and running but no one is using it = charge

You will be charged even if no one is using your service. Presumably because they have something better to do 🙂

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Deployed but Stopped/Suspended = ?

In this case I have suspended Production and Staging. Staging is Stopped and Production is Stopping.

Will you be charged? The answer is Yes. This will be charged exactly the same as Deployed and running.

It is not sufficient to suspend a service – you need to actually delete it to avoid being charged.

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I hope that helps. I am definitely keen to hear your feedback on any of the above.

Windows Azure Platform, Amazon Web Services and Google App Engine Explained


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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I wanted to point folks at this great blog if you are interested in Cloud Computing. Janakiram MSV has been busily producing some great work in his role as a Cloud Computing Strategist. What I particularly like is he is looking at the Windows Azure Platform and Amazon Web Services and Google App Engine. Out of which came these three videos which are all well worth a look.  You might also want to check out this video my colleague David Gristwood recorded with David Chappell in London last year which also looks at the three big players in the Cloud Computing space. Although I would  argue that there are really just two  – I will let you guess which two 🙂

Windows Azure Platform

Amazon Web Services

Google App Engine

Maybe see you at London CloudCamp on the 21st January 2010


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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I will be popping along to CloudCamp this Thursday. I’ve been to CloudCamp once before when it coincided with Qcon London when I was a speaker in 2009. But TBH I really didn’t pay much attention last time around as it was a) the end of a long day and b) I was only dabbling with cloud at the time.

On January 1st I switched full time to the Windows Azure Platform which means this time I will be paying attention 🙂

Find/avoid me as necessary 🙂

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The agenda looks promising:

  • 6.00 – 6.10 pm Introduction to Cloud Computing and Cloud Camp
  • 6.10 – 6.40 pm Lightning Talks
    • 1. Gojko Adzic – Neuri: ‘A short guide to key technical differences between cloud and in-house deployments’ – Base on his experience of moving one of his projects deeper into the clouds.
      2. Jim Liddle – Giggaspaces: ‘MaaS ! Middleware as a Service’ – How the cloud is shaping next generation middleware.
      3. Kate Craig-Wood, Memset [and G-Cloud technical architecture co-lead]: ‘UK G-Cloud: The first instantiation of true Cloud Computing?’ – A review of NIST’s definition of Cloud and attempt to differentiate Cloud from Utility, and a brief look at the UK gov G-Cloud & App Store programme.
      4. John Rainey – Geniedb: ‘Pros and Cons of SQL vs. NoSQL – It’s not a simple case of one or the other’ – Should we be abandoning ACID properties and the standard SQL interface?
      5. Max Robbins – AiCache: ‘Dynamic Cloud Caches – Unbundling CDN services the cloud’ – Real life examples of using the cloud to provide an on demand service with all the benefits of the CDN.
      6. Pat Kerpan – CohesiveFT ‘2010 Cloud Predictions’ An industry insiders view of what to expect from the cloud computing market in 2010.
  • 6.45 – 7.20 pm Unpanel – bring your questions along!
  • 7.20 – 7.30 pm Organise and announce the Open Spaces sessions
  • 7.30 – 7.45 pm Refreshment break & select break-out session – Beer & Drinks, etc
  • 7.45 – 9.00 pm Open Spaces unconference discussions x 3 topics to be chosen on the night.
  • 9.00 pm Networking – Beer and Pizza
  • 10.00 pm Close

P.S. Unfortunately the event is now full http://cloudcamplondon6.eventbrite.com/ 

Related Links:

Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4 book available and it is from a UK author


Note: Cross posted from IUpdateable from Eric Nelson.

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Many, many months back UK based Alex Mackey (Australia now has him) mentioned that he was starting work on a book about Visual Studio 2010 which would also be his first book. I remember at the time thinking “Poor chap – I wonder if he has the slightest idea of what he has let himself in for!?”.

Why did I think that? It was certainly no reflection on Alex who is a top class developer and speaker. However, writing a book is IMHO a mammoth undertaking if it is not your day job. It can consume every spare waking hour – I should know, I’ve tried and failed.  But more importantly, at the time Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4 were still “flexing” a lot! It was the days of the PDC CTP release (which was only available as a very slow virtual machine with much missing or changing) and I also knew we were still many months away from having a stable Beta.

However, I should not have worried. Alex stuck with it and has produced a very comprehensive tone on the upcoming Visual Studio release – Introducing .NET 4.0: with Visual Studio 2010. It won’t be in print until February but it is currently available to download as a pdf. I downloaded it today and I just gave it a quick skim. There is lots of good stuff in there (505 pages, 16 chapters, VB and C#) and I’m looking forward to spending more time with it in the near future. Thanks Alex.

Alex also just posted a summary of the good and bad bits of writing a book about beta (alpha!) technology. An interesting read in itself.

P.S. I also noticed I snuck in to the bit on “What Do Others Think About .NET 4?”. My moment of fame – although the wrong blog 🙂

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