Scott Guthrie made an announcement on his blog about changes to the way Windows Azure is priced
The main two changes that will affect most people are
- Per minute Billing
- No charge for turned off VMs
Prior to this announcement you would be charge for Windows Azure usage in hour blocks of time which meant that if you used 5 minutes of compute time or 55 minutes of compute time you were charged for the full hour, similarly if you used 1 hour 5 minutes you were charged for 2 hours. This change now means that you will be charged for 5 minutes, 55 minutes and 1 hour 5 minutes, matching your actual usage, This doesn’t affect you if you have a fixed usage but for those who take advantage of the easy scalability of Windows Azure this could have a significant impact on your costs.
By far the biggest cost saving is the ability to turn off a VM and not be charged for its usage. Prior to this change you would need to undeploy the solution in order to not be charged and just turning it off would still incur charges, This allows for systems that are in staging, dev/test scenarios, training systems etc to be left deployed and configured but turned off without being charged. Saving both time and money. I have a number of customers where this change alone should half their monthly bills as they have systems running that are not needed all the time but can not be undeployed because of the time taken to deploy and configure them. The ability to turn off VMs will provide both customers and developers with flexibility whilst reducing costs. Always a good thing.