Folks,Know your Outbound Data Transfer Costs – Windows Azure


The cost associated with Outbound Data Transfer is very important when you consider bridging your On-premise network with Windows Azure.

Yes, when I said cost I indeed meant the $ amount which is involved. The good news however is that all the Inbound Data sent to Azure is free. The outbound data is all what really matters.

As per Microsoft

Outbound data is charged based on the total amount of data moving out of the Windows Azure datacenters via the Internet in a given billing cycle. Data transfers between Windows Azure services located within the same datacenter are not subject to any charge. The first 5 GB of outbound data transfers per billing month are also free.

Lets talk about this simple scenario – You have deployed SQLServer on a Windows Azure Virtual Machine. Data out of the SQLServer database will be accessed by clients which are located in your On-premise data center. Below diagram will explain the scenario.

Note – This is a high level diagram and doesn’t explain the actual network intricacies which are involved while bridging your network with Azure.

Outbound Azure

All the outbound data which is flowing out of the Azure data center is a cost ($) factor for you and inbound data sent is free.

How much should I pay?  Well,that really depends on your usage.

First 5 GB a month is free and beyond that cost is like(As of today) –

Outbound Azure2

Ref – http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/details/data-transfers/

Note – Always ref http://www.windowsazure.com for any pricing estimates as these numbers($) tend to change.

Conclusion

Analyzing and understanding various cost factors which are involved with Windows Azure is one of the key areas an Architect should focus on and comparing this costs with ongoing on premise operational costs will help management get a clear picture.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more !

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Windows Azure Service Dashboard – Checkout the health of Azure Services


Windows Azure Service Dashboard is an excellent way to know the health/availability of your Windows Azure Services.

Azure Doctor

You might always want to know if any of the service is down or having some performance degradation, and with windows azure service dashboard this information is just few clicks away.

All you need to do is access http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/support/service-dashboard/

This portal is available to all, irrespective of your account availability.

To me this is a great initiative by Microsoft to report service availability details as this is super useful from user perspective.

The portal is really impressive with the amount of information it provides. It will help you understand if

1. The service availability is normal

2. There is a performance degradation

3. There is a service interruption

4.There is any specific information(FYI type) regarding a service

WindowsAzureDash1

You can drill down each of the service and see what’s the status for each region

WindowsAzureDash2

Incase there is a problem, then drilling down the problem description will help you understand what is the current status of the fix, and how the support team is acting on the problem.

WindowsAzureDash3

I’m really impressed with this level of details. This will come handy when you have production deployments in azure and you need to keep your business users informed when there is a problem.

Now comes the icing of the cake –

Historical data ! Yes, you have the flexibility to see historical data and understand if there was a problem

WindowsAzureDash4

Conclusion

These are cool facilities made available to you by the Azure team and this will definitely prove helpful to you.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more !

Windows Azure pay per minute – Time is money !


One of the most exciting news which got announced yesterday was related to Windows Azure. When Scott Guthrie mentioned that billing model for Windows Azure is going to be per minute basis from now on, then there was a great cheer from the crowd.

Time is money

This is indeed a game changing announcement. I definitely foresee great amount of Windows Azure usage in the future, and this announcement is a great deal for the cloud adopters.

Earlier if I had used my cloud service for 20 minutes,and then turned that off I was charged still for the full hour. Lot many cloud providers still operate with this policy.

Going forward I will be charged for what I useI will be charged for just 20 minutes, no questions asked.

Another super news which was really exciting for me was related to no charge for stopped VMs.

Think about a situation –

Your Dev/Test folks works from 9 AM – 5 PM window. On premise Dev/Test boxes sits idle after 5PM utilizing all the power and other compute resources in your data center. This is sheer waste of money and resources, and in 2013 you should definitely think about moving these to the cloud.

Dev/Test environments can be easily moved to Windows Azure VMs and you can just stop them after 5PM and just don’t have to pay for anything. This is a big deal isn’t? I have no second thoughts about it.

Cloud is the future and these great announcements are making it more affordable to the public.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more.

SQLSaturday Redmond(SQLSat212) – A quick recap !


That was indeed a great day at Redmond. I had a great time talking to some of the best SQLServer minds and learned something new.

It all started with a wonderful keynote by Buck Woody(B/T),and he delivered quite an interesting talk on SQLServer history. A journey way back from 1989 to 2012.

SQLSat2121

The first session which I attended was AlwaysOn – Finally, A usable ‘mirror’! by Jim Murphy(B/T). This was a beginner level session and Jim delivered it really well. I/m sure anyone who is new to Always ON AGs had lot of takeaways from this session. Jim spoke quite a lot about VNN  – Availability Group listener and gave some good demos on how flexible Always ON AGs fail-over is.

SQLSat2122

Attending the 2nd session was really a challenge for me. There were 3 sessions happening at the same time and all 3 were interesting to me. This is when things gets really tricky.

Finally I decided to attend the session Being the DBA of the future – a world of on-premise and cloud by Dandy Weyn as I’m focusing on a lot of things related to cloud these days, and eventually will move lot of things to the cloud.

This was an intermediate level session and I had lot of take away’s from this session. Dandy was a great speaker and he gave some cool demos by setting up a virtual machine in Windows Azure platform and showed some real networking concepts to connect that VM to your domain. This was something which I was really looking for.

SQLSat2123

After a yummy lunch(Yep, SQLSaturday offers great food too) I was all set for the big one.

This was one session I was eagerly waiting for, Machine Learning for Mere Mortals by Dev Nambi (B/T).  The session was super exciting and everything was new to me for this one. Machine learning is all about building predictive models from available data. Dev gave multiple real life examples and gave some good demos explaining the concept from a high level perspective. Lot of learning for me and I’m looking forward to read/explore more on this.

SQLSat2124

Next up was Windows Azure SQL Database – your cloud database by Scott Klein . This was a Windows Azure SQL Database 101 talk and Scott was a real good speaker. There were couple of good demos explaining the whole SQLDatabase concepts and he was kind enough to answer my multiple questions offline via an email after the event.

The final session for the day was like icing on the cake. I have no words to describe how useful was the session Why I Won’t Be Hiring You by Nicholas Cain(B/T). The session was all about how good you need to present your resume to a recruiter. The session was really interactive and there were lot of great questions. Nicholas is a super nice speaker and he really knows what he is talking about. Kudos to him !

SQLSat2125

I had a great time meeting and talking to wonderful #SQLFamily members and my first SQLSaturday experience was indeed memorable.

Thanks for reading and keep watching this space for more.