One of the most common complaints about Azure Virtual Machine (VM) pricing is that it’s too expensive for small workloads. For custom web applications you could share an App Service Plan, which is great if the app can be hosted within Azure App Service. However, if your workload needs a full VM, then there wasn’t really a great option unless you were willing to share a VM with multiple applications. This can pose many management difficulties. Thankfully, Microsoft has been listening to feedback of wanting an even more cost effective and affordable cloud for smaller workloads too. The Azure B-Series VM sizes are the answer to this, and instead being “just cheaper VMs” they offer an innovative advancement to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Read More
Microsoft uses their own products to build and host their own products. This is done from the development platform level, all the way into the Microsoft Azure cloud. This concept of using your own products is called “Dogfooding”. (I have no idea where this term came from, but that’s what it means.) Dogfooding refers to the concept of “eating your own dog food”; meaning that you consume your own products and that helps you make your own products better. Microsoft does this a lot and in fact in the Microsoft Azure cloud, many services are built out “on top of” or using other services. Read More
Azure Resource Manager (ARM) imposes limits and quotas on how many resources of each type you can provision per Azure Subscription, and even per Azure Region. Some limits are a hard maximum, while others are a soft limit that can be increases upon request. When working with Virtual Machines (VMs), Storage Accounts, Databases, and other resources in the Microsoft Azure cloud you can easily hit up against these limits, so it’s important to know they exist and how to work around them. This article will explain the details around the Limits and Quotas on resources within Microsoft Azure; including tips on how to work around these limits to scale as high as your organization needs. Read More
At first glance, Virtual Machine pricing in Microsoft Azure seems fairly straight forward. However, the different VM pricing tiers actually do vary in price from region to region. In fact comparing the prices across regions can be a little tricky whether you’re using the Pricing Calculator or the pricing info in the Azure Portal. However, Victor Kiselev has compiled all the Azure pricing together into an easy to use comparison tool. Read More
In this video, I show you the specifics on comparing Azure Region pricing information around Virtual Machine hosting. As you can see, the Azure Regions do have different pricing for some of the Virtual Machine instance sizes. This is something that could potentially impact what Azure Region you host your VMs in. Read More
This post contains 10 tips and tricks you can use to save money on your Virtual Machines (VMs) running in the Microsoft Azure cloud. The cost analysis of the cloud can be scary at first, and it’s actually one of the reasons companies are shy to start adopting the cloud. Once you know these tricks you’ll feel confident that you won’t overspend and go broke in Microsoft Azure.
Some of these tips are almost secrets, as they aren’t really talked about anywhere. I know these from my years of experience working with Microsoft Azure and getting to know many of the ins and outs of the platform. So, read below, and benefit from my years of Azure experience in just a few minutes.
Using these tips will certainly help you save your company or organization money, and will likely impress your boss! Read More
The other day I hosted a FREE Webinar with Opsgility that provides an Introduction to Azure for Developers. In this webinar I went over an introduction to what IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS are. Then I dove into the Azure Portal and showed how to create IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) VMs with Windows and Linux, as well as how to remote into those VMs with Remote Desktop and SSH; respectively. I also went into deploying a Web Application into an Azure Web App PaaS (Platform as a Service) service directly from within the Visual Studio IDE, and I even showed how you can easily deploy a website directly from Github into an Azure Web App as well! I also discussed Azure SQL Database (“Database as a Service”), as well as a few additional services and features.
I encourage you to watch the entire webinar recording to see the whole demo of everything. There are very little slides, and the webinar was almost entirely demos of real features, real functionality, and real Azure usage! Go watch! Read More
This is a short video that shows how to create an Ubuntu Linux Virtual Machine (VM) in the Microsoft Azure Management Portal. It also explains a few details on how VMs are hosted in Azure, along with a demo on how to connect to the Ubuntu Linux VM using ssh and bash.
Please, subscribe to get more videos like this all around Microsoft Azure.
This is one of the first videos I’ve published to the Build Azure YouTube Channel where I’m starting to build out video content to accompany this site. Enjoy!
There are 2 ways to shutdown an Azure VM, and they are certainly not equal! One way you will still get charged for the compute resources, and the other will free you from paying for the compute resources and help you reduce overall cost.
The first method to shutdown an Azure VM, that sounds logical in the context of connecting with Remote Desktop, is to Shutdown the Operating System. In this scenario you would be connected with Remote Desktop, and when done with your work you go to the Power options within Windows and select Shutdown. This will essentially “turn off” the VM and stop it from running. However, even though the VM won’t be running you WILL still be paying for the Virtual machine hardware allocation. Doing this will cause the Azure Portal to report the status of the VM to be “Stopped”.
The second method, and the one to remember, is to go into the Azure Portal (or use Azure PowerShell or Azure CLI) and Stop the VM. Instead of just shutting down the Operating System, Azure will also deallocate the hardware (CPU and Memory) allocation; thus releasing it to be used for another workload in Microsoft Azure. Doing this will cause the Azure Portal to report the status of the VM to be “Stopped (Deallocated)”.
While in the “Stopped (Deallocated” status, you will not be paying for the VM resources.
It’s a good idea that when ever you don’t actually need the VM to be running that you Stop it using the Azure Portal, PowerShell, or Azure CLI so that the resources are released. While in the “Stopped (Deallocated” status, you will not be paying for the VM resources. This will really help you save money!
To “properly” Stop a VM in the Azure Portal to release the resources and save money, you can follow these steps:
- Within the Azure Portal, navigate to the Virtual Machine blade for the desired VM.
- On the Overview pane, click the Stop button.
There is one caveat to be aware of when shutting down an Azure VM so it gets placed into the Stopped (Deallocated) status. Since this causes Azure to release the server resources associated with the Virtual Machine, it not only releases the CPU and Memory resources but also the Dynamic IP Address allocation. Due to this, when you Start the VM back up again, the IP Address will likely change. If you require the IP Address to never change for your VM, then you’ll need to configure a Static IP Address for the VM.
To start up a Stopped VM, you can follow these steps:
- Within the Azure Portal, navigate to the Virtual Machine blade for the desired VM.
- On the Overview pane, click the Start button.
Another point that’s important to remember when stopping Azure VM’s and placing them into the “Stopped (Deallocated)” state is that you do still pay for the Azure Storage account usage. Remember, the Storage account is where the VM’s .vhd disk image file is stored. Stopping the VM retains all the VM’s settings / configurations, as well as the .vhd image stored in Azure Storage. As a result, you will still incur some cost for the storage, but at least you will save on the VM resources. After all, the Storage will only cost a small amount of money compared to the much higher cost of the Virtual Machine resource allocation if it were left running constantly.
Schedule Auto Shutdown
Manually shutting down a VM to put it in the Stopped (Deallocated) status is a great way to save cost on Azure VM’s. Although, you do need to remember to Stop the VM. This introduces a certain level of human error in the process of saving you hosting costs on your Azure VMs. As a result, Microsoft has added a scheduled auto-shutdown feature into the platform to assist you in this effort.
With the Auto-shutdown feature, you are able to configure a specific Time (with Time Zone) when Azure is to automatically shutdown the VM. When configured, the VM will automatically be stopped if it is still running at that time of day.
To configure Auto-shutdown of an Azure VM, you can follow these steps:
- Within the Azure Portal, navigate to the Virtual Machine blade for the desired Virtual Machine.
- In the list of links on the Virtual Machine blade, click on Auto-shutdown.
- On the Auto-shutdown pane, configure the specific Time, Time Zone, and desired notification Webhook URL settings, then click Save.
If you forget to Stop your VM at the end of the day, or whenever the Auto-shutdown time is configured it will get Shutdown automatically. When using a Visual Studio development VM, this can become a good thing on Friday afternoons (or any other day when you might be in a hurry) when you’re most likely to forget to shutdown the VM.
So far the servers within Microsoft Azure data centers have been running Intel processors (CPUs). For a long time I’ve wondered if the power efficiency of ARM CPUs could make them more cost effective than Intel x64 CPUs that are more powerful. It’s possible through the use of parallel computing that distributing load across many more ARM CPU cores that consumer lower power could be more cost effective than distributing the same load across fewer more powerful Intel CPUs. Since I first came up with the idea, I’ve assumed that ARM would be more cost effective, however, I haven’t seen anything to back it up. With recent news about Microsoft exploring Windows Server running on ARM, and ARM based cloud server, it looks like they’re dedicating some serious money to this very research effort.
ARM has already revolutionized mobile devices and Internet of Things (IoT). Could the next step for ARM CPUs be to revolutionize the Cloud and server market? Read More