The Windows Azure Platform Pricing Calculator is pretty neat to help application developers get a rough initial estimate of their Windows Azure usage costs. But where to start? What sort
of numbers do you plug in? We've taken a crack at some use cases so you can get
a basic idea. We've put the Windows Azure Calculator Category Definitions at
the bottom of the post.
Free options for
An application developer is going to customize an existing Microsoft .NET e-commerce
application for a national chain, US-based florist. The application needs to be
available all the time, even during usage spikes, scale for peak periods such
as Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day
You can use the Azure pricing data to figure out what elements of
your application are likely to cost the most, and then examine optimization and
different architecture options to reduce costs. For example, storing data in
binary large object (BLOB) storage will increase the number of storage
transactions. You could decrease transaction volume by storing more data in the
SQL Azure database and save a bit on the transaction costs. Also, you could
reduce the number of compute instances from two to one for the worker role if
it’s not involved in anything user-interactive—it can be offline for a couple
minutes during an instance reboot without a negative impact on the e-commerce
application. Doing this would save $90.00 per month in compute instances (three
instead of four instances in use).
- Asset Tracking Application
A building management company needs to track asset utilization in its
properties worldwide. Assets include equipment related to building upkeep, such
as electrical equipment, water heaters, furnaces, and air conditioners. The
company needs to maintain data about the assets and other aspects of building
maintenance and have all necessary data available for quick and effective
Hosting applications like this asset tracking system on Windows
Azure can make a lot of sense financially and as a strategic move. For about
$6,500.00 in the first year, this building management company can improve the
global accessibility, reliability, and availability of their asset tracking
system. They gain access to a scalable cloud application platform with no
capital expenses and no infrastructure management costs, and they avoid the
internal cost of configuring and managing an intricate relational database.
Even the pay-as-you-go annual cost of about $9,000.00 is a bargain, given these
- A worldwide technology corporation wants to streamline its training
process by distributing existing rich-media training materials worldwide over
Hosting applications like this sales training system on Windows
Azure can make a lot of sense financially and as a strategic move. Using the
high estimate, for a little less than $10,000.00 a year, this technology
company can avoid the cost of managing and maintaining its own CDN while taking
advantage of a scalable cloud application platform with no capital expenses and
no infrastructure management.
A national restaurant chain has decided to use social media to connect
directly with its customers. They hire an
application developer that specializes in
social media to develop a web application for a short-term marketing campaign.
The campaign’s goal is to generate 500,000 new fans on a popular social media
Choosing to host applications on Windows Azure can make financial
sense for short-term marketing campaigns that use social media applications
because you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars buying hardware that will
sit idle after the campaign ends. It also gives you the ability to rapidly
scale the application in or out, up or down depending on demand. As a long-term
strategic decision, using Azure lets you architect applications that are easy
to repurpose for future marketing campaigns.
Windows Azure Calculator Category Definitions
| Azure Calculator Category
|| How does this relate to my application?
|| What does this look like on Azure?
|| Measured by
| Compute Instances
|| This is the raw computing power needed to run your
|| A compute instance consists of CPU cores, memory, and disk
space for local storage resources—it’s a pre-configured virtual machine (VM).
A small compute instance is a VM with one 1.6 GHz core, 1.75 GB of RAM, and a
225 GB virtual hard drive. You can scale your application out by adding more
small instances, or up by using larger instances.
|| Instance size:
| Relational Databases
|| If you application uses a relational database such as
Microsoft SQL Server, how large is your dataset excluding any log files?
|| A SQL Azure Business Edition database. You choose the size.
|| This is the data your application stores—product catalog
information, user accounts, media files, web pages, and so on.
|| The amount of storage space used in blobs, tables, queues, and
Windows Azure Drive storage
| Storage Transactions
|| These are the requests between your application and its stored
data: add, update, read, and delete.
|| Requests to the storage service: add, update, read, or delete
a stored file. Each request is analyzed and classified as either billable or
not-billable based on the ability to process the request and the request’s
|| # of transactions
| Data Transfer
|| This is the data that goes between the external user and your
application (e.g., between a browser and a web site).
|| The total amount of data going in and out of Azure services
via the internet. There are two data regions: North America/Europe and Asia
|| GB in/GB out
| Content Delivery Network (CDN)
|| This is any data you host in datacenters close to your users. Doing
this usually improves application performance by delivering content faster.
This can include media and static image files.
|| The total amount of data going in and out of Azure CDN via the
internet. There are two CDN regions: North America/Europe and other
|| GB in/GB out
| Service Bus Connections
|| These are connections between your application and other
applications (e.g., for off-site authentication, credit card processing,
external search, third-party integration, and so on).
|| Establishes loosely-coupled connectivity between services and
applications across firewall or network boundaries using a variety of
|| # of connections
| Access Control Transactions
|| These are the requests between your application and any
|| The requests that go between an application on Azure and applications
or services connected via the Service Bus.
|| # of transactions