Windows Azure – How Much Is It Costing Me?

By | December 6, 2010

So yesterday I whipped up a quick post going over how to deploy a trivial MVC 2 application to Windows Azure. One of the most important things to realize here is that you incur costs in the cloud regardless of whether or not someone is actually using your cloud-based application. For grins and giggles, I wanted to see just how much of my free allotment I had used up. So I fire up the management portal, looking for some link to help out.


For the life of me, I couldn’t find any link remotely related to billing on this page. I did see the “Take me back to the old portal” link, so I clicked that to see what I could find. Ignoring Microsoft’s pleas to stay with the most recent “enhanced experience,” I was presented with the below display.


Woot, there was a link that had hope. Clicking that took me the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal.


Utter hotness that I had to log in again. Once I did, the “View my bills” link was enabled, and I dutifully clicked it, then clicked “View Online Bill/Invoice” on the next screen corresponding to the one billing cycle I had accrued charges for.


Thank goodness, I don’t owe any money. But how close was I to owing any? Clicking “Windows Azure Usage Charges” produced the below.


Apparently my playing around yesterday had consumed over half of my free compute hours. When I had first started experimenting, I remember leaving my first deployment in a suspended state, despite having read a blurb somewhere that this still incurred charges. I certainly didn’t leave it running for 16 hours; 2-3 tops. So what the hell is a compute hour? The Windows Azure pricing page tries to answer me:

Compute time, measured in service hours: Windows Azure compute hours are charged only for when your application is deployed. When developing and testing your application, developers will want to remove the compute instances that are not being used to minimize compute hour billing. Partial compute hours are billed as full hours.


I find it pretty impossible that I left my application deployed for 16 hours. It would be very useful to be able see some sort of detail for my deployment, say start and stop times, but alas, there’s no way to get that information. I guess I’ll just have to be more careful going forward.