My attention was brought to a greenbutton.com (http://www.greenbutton.com/blog/index.php/2013/10/30/why-windows-azure/) today when it was tweeted by @WindowsAzure (https://twitter.com/WindowsAzure/status/400669888823697408) in which the author, Dave Fellows speaks of how they believe Windows Azure is going to overtake Amazon as the leader in cloud computing within two to three years.
My personal feeling is that I agree with what Dave is saying. Windows Azure has been gaining steam and momentum significantly over the last year as Microsoft has increased the amount of work and effort it’s putting into virtualisation and cloud for the on premise private, mash-up hybrid and all out public cloud software architectures.
Microsoft are traditionally late to a party but when they arrive, they do it well and they do it big. As I’ve made public knowledge recently on my blog here, I worked on a Windows Azure project recently to deliver my companies public website on the Platform as a Service public cloud infrastructure using a CMS product called Sitecore. The experience was really good both when dealing with pre-sales to engage with Microsoft and discuss the opportunity of Windows Azure, and also with Premier Support Services who were really good at helping us get to where we needed to be on the couple of occasions we ran into issues. For clarity, we ran into issues because of soft limits imposed on Azure subscriptions to prevent customers from inflicting giant bills on themselves by provisioning lots of service without considering the ramifications, not because of any practical issues such as performance or loss of service.
As the integration with products and services like System Center Data Protection Manager, System Center Virtual Machine Manager and AppController all improve as I’m sure they will beyond the 2012 R2 releases, this story is only going to get better. The Azure VPN feature already allows customers to expand their on premise networks and private clouds into Azure and future services of this nature, allowing customers to adopt public cloud but in a private and secure manner will promote adoption for those customers who aren’t quite ready to take the leap of faith into public-public.
My blog has been running in Windows Azure now for one week so I thought I’d post an update on how the billing is coming along and also the usage of the platform.
I’ve just dived into my subscription summary and here are the charges thus far:
Data Transfer Out (GB) – Zone 1 – 0.6GB (5GB Free)
Compute Hours for Cloud Services – 21.28hrs / £1.08
If the above holds true to the remaining three weeks of my billing cycle then I am looking at having consumed 2.4GB of egress data transfer which is less than half of the free allowance and I will have consumed 85.12hrs of compute time producing a bill of £4.32. As I predicted in my original post, the number of compute hours my blog is consuming is much less than the hours consumption shown on the Windows Azure Pricing Calculator.
At this rate of consumption, my annual bill for the site will be £51.84. When you consider that I was previously paying around £150 a year for a hosting plan with lower quality hosting providers offering much more clunky and cumbersome management interfaces and inferior billing transparency, I think I’m getting an amazing deal.
I am paying more than I had originally hoped for the Backup Recovery Services feature which I use to backup my Windows Server 2012 Essentials server to the cloud, protecting all of mine and my wife’s documents and files along with all of our family pictures of the kids growing up but. For the peace of mind having that data properly protected I’m happy to pay it. I actually made a change to the retention period for my backups in Azure earlier this week so fingers crossed that, that will reduce my bills going forwards a little.
Aside from billing, what else is there to show? Below is a screenshot of the Windows Azure Monitor page for the blog. As you can see, there is a huge spike at the beginning of the week. This was caused by me doing the deployment and maintenance of the site including uploading all of the WordPress files, doing the WordPress upgrade and then upgrading all of the plugins. As you can see though, it settles down nicely after this. All of this is running on a Shared Website Mode single instance. I don’t generate enough traffic to consider adding a second instance and scaling out the site although I might do it one day just to test it.
So it’s been a while since I wrote anything on here since my latest outbursts against Virgin Media due to their inability to provide us with broadband, and low and behold we still don’t have our super fast 20MB internet.
Virgin rescheduled us for late October and the day before the appointment called to cancel because there is no T-Piece outside our property and they need to get council planning permission to install the piece so we are now going to be waiting until November 14th.
Why on earth they couldn’t have just seen in advance that they needed this piece and that they could have done the work in the three weeks between our first and most recent appointments I don’t know! Bless their little cotton socks.