Azure - Web Hosting

Azure cloud usage, subscriptions and content management


Azure cloud usage, subscriptions and content management
Choosing a Web Site or a Virtual Machine to Host your site

When should you use the cloud to host a website

There are a number of different models that you can choose for web hosting on the cloud. Using the Azure pricing calculator you can see roughly what you monthly bill is going to be. The first thing you'll notice is that you can have up to 10 websites free (although there are a number of restrictions on them) and at the time of authoring a 1GB database was $10 a month, which is also manageable. Things start getting expensive once the requirements for CPU, Memory and data storage increase

Pricing calculator in Windows Azure

In most instances Azure lends itself to

  • Hosting a number of small sites
  • Prototyping and Proof of concept work
  • Quickly spinning up virtual machines
  • Avoiding large upfront licencing fees

Its all depends on your existing infrastructure, you need for High availability and Scalability. Whatever your size, using the cloud is a fairly competitive option.

You would not use Azure to

  • Store highly sensitive data
  • As a one stop shop for data backups (you are responsible for your data!)

Azure Subscriptions

Azure offers a few different types of subscriptions. At the time of authoring, there's a 1 month free trial (this used to be 3 months) and if you're an existing MSDN subscriber you can get up to $150 per month credit depending on your subscription

Subscription Management

The management of subscriptions is still a bit clunky, but this is bound to improve. Every object created in Azure (Website, Virtual Machine, Database, etc) is linked to a subscription.

Typical Subscriptions available in Azure

While the billing of a subscription can be confusing, its very transparent. You can check you current usage and billing at any time. Any additions or changes to your environments that may incur a cost a highlighted with an alert at the time of the change.

All objects created in Azure are linked to a subscription

When that subscription expires, there is no way to transfer to another. A ticket has to be raised with support (who were extremely efficient) to do this for you. However, in the process a couple of virtual machines got screwed up, which brings me to my final importing point...

Content Management

YOU are responsible to for ensuring you have backups of your data, backups of your site, backups of your reports, backups of your virtual machines. How to do this will be discussed in future posts, in the mean time, this Dilbert strip sums it up nicely!