A Guide to Windows® Azure Platform Billing

Understanding billing for Windows® Azure Platform can be a bit daunting, so here is a brief guide, including useful definitions and explanations.

The Microsoft ® Online Customer Service Portal (MCOP) limits one Account Owner Windows Live ID (WLID) per MOCP account, and the Account Owner has the ability to create and manage subscriptions, view billing and usage data and specify the Service Administrator for each subscription. While this is convenient for smaller companies, large corporations may need to create multiple subscriptions in order to design an effective account structure that will able to support and also reflect their market strategy. Although the Service Administrator (Service Admin WLID) manages deployments, they cannot create subscriptions.

The Account Administrator can create one or more subscriptions for each individual MOCP account and for each subscription, the Account Administrator can specify a different WLID as the Service Administrator. It is also important to note that the Service Administrator WLID can be the same or different as the Account Owner and is the person actually using the Windows ® Azure Platform. Once a subscription is created in the Microsoft ® Online Customer Service Portal (MOPC), a Project appears in the Windows ® Azure portal.

The relationship between components is clearly displayed in the diagram below:

Projects:

Up to twenty services can be allocated by one project. Resources in the Project are shared between all of the Services created and the resources are divided into Compute Instances/Cores and Storage accounts.

The Project will have 20 Small Compute Instances that you can utilize, by default. These Small Compute Instances could be a variety of combinations of VM sizes as long as the total number of Cores across all deployed services within the Project doesn’t exceed 20.

To increase the number of Cores, simply contact Microsoft ® Online Services customer support to verify the billing account and provide the requested Small Compute Instances/Cores (subject to a possible credit check). You also have the ability to design how you want to have the Cores allocated, although be default the available resources are counted as number of Small Compute Instances. See the conversion on Compute Instances below:

Compute Instance Size CPU Memory Instance Storage
Small 1.6 GHz 1.75 GB 225 GB
Medium 2 x 1.6 GHz 3.5 GB 490 GB
Large 4 x 1.6 GHz 7 GB 1,000 GB
Extra large 8 x 1.6 GHz 14 GB 2,040 GB

Table 1: Compute Instances Comparison

The compute Instances are shared between all the running services in the project—including Production and Stage Environments. This allows you to have multiple Services with different number of Compute Instances (up to the number of maximum available for that Project).

5 Storage accounts are available per Project, although you can request to increase this up to 20 Storage accounts per Project by contacting Microsoft ® Online Services customer support. You will need to purchase a new subscription if you need more than 20 Storage accounts.

Services:

A total of 20 Services per project are permitted. Services are where applications are deployed; each Service provides two environments: Production and Staging. This is visible when you create a service in the Windows ® Azure portal.

A maximum number of five roles per application are permitted within a Service; this includes any combinations of different web and worker roles on the same configuration file up to a maximum of 5. Each role can have any number of VMS, see below:

The Service has two roles in this example, and each role has a specific worker role. Web Role, web tier, handles the Web interface, while the Worker Role, business tier, handles the business logic. Each role can have any number of VMs/Cores up to the maximum available on the project.

If this service is deployed from the Azure ® resources perspective, the following resources will be used:

1 x Service

–       Web Role = 3 Small Compute Nodes (3 x Small VMs)

–       Worker Role = 4 Small Compute Nodes (2 x Medium VMs)

–       2 Roles used

Total resources left on the Project:

–       Services (20 -1) = 19

–       Small Compute Nodes (20 – 7) = 13 small compute instances

–       Storage accounts = 5

For more information regarding the Windows Azure pricing model, please contact a Nubifer representative.

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