Windows Azure I smell scam! RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Hi everyone.

    I just like to say my expeirence with windows azure.

    Its build only for a huge sites,to paid a tousand of USD a month.

    I used trial for 90 days and got disable couple times becouse i over reach limits.

    So i thought great i can just set my limits at databases, blob storage, Data transfer out ......... and when i over reach limit i get disable.

    Well i wasnot sure so i asked technical microsoft support how does it work when i choose pay as you go or windows azure package for 6 month or SQL azure package for 6 moth offered about 80 usd a month.

    I was willing to pay about 200 USD a month because

    My site is sql driven site and i have allready about 20 000 peoples.Average 5000 -10000 online a day growing 100-200 users  a day. Takes a lot of Data transfer Out.(Windows azure charge 100 GB - around 13 USD a month ).

    I like to post all question and answer with microsoft tech support:

    My guestion:

    Problem Description: I like to upgrade my trial to pay as you go 200 usd a month limit.So my question is when i reach 200 usd a month will i get dissable for the month and enable for the next month, thanks for answer.
    Operating System: WindowsVista
    Articles Viewed: ,

    Microsoft answer:

    Before the 3 Month Trial ends, you have an option to remove the spending limit. If you remove the spending limit, your subscription will move into Pay As You Go after the trial period. Once you remove the spending limit, you start getting charged for consuming resources beyond monthly allocations. We do not have an option to set it to 200 USD or any other amount. You may have to monitor the usage manually and try to stay within those limit.

    My response:

    Thanks for replay.
    What i am worry is I have  website with average 10000 people a day.Basically people fill my databases by their activity. I dont making any money of it but my site growing well. Well i count 20000 people whoud take Data Transfer Out 1000 GB  monthly.that is 120 USD. I get 100-200 new people avery day join my website.So what is the best way to monitor my usage and if necesary disable it. If i go 6 month plan and i increace my Data Transfer Out to 1000 GB  and i over reach a limit will i get Disable in the month and enable next moth like now under free trial?
    Thanks for any suggestion.

    Microsoft answer:

    Thank you for your response. The best way to monitor your usage is by following the steps given below.

    1.        Login in to https://account.windowsazure.com using your Live ID.
    2.        Click on the “Account” tab.
    3.        Now click on 'Subscriptions' tab.
    4.        Select the Azure subscription to view the usage for current month.
    5.        Click on 'Overview' tab.
    6.        On the right side click on 'Download usage details CSV'.

    After the trial period is over, you could remove the monetary cap and continue the trial subscription as a pay as you go subscription. After the trial period is over, in pay as you go, there is no option to disable the subscription, once you reach any limit. This applies to 6 month plan as well, your subscription will not get disabled, if you go beyond any limit. The best way is to manually keep a track of you usage, to avoid charges. Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.

    My response:

    Thanks for reply
    I can keep eye on database and blob storage but how can i keep eye on Data transfer out ?
    I mean i can see Data transfer out used  every day but what i can really do,when my limit is reached? No way to disable or stop the traffic. Is my understanding that windows azure is only for a big sites like"MSN "
    I understant what is windows azure capable of for a big Web sites but what about middle or small web sites who can only pay couple hundred USD a month because they still growing?
    Is there a way how programatically load how much Data transfer out has been used , than i can use some algoritm on my site when i reach that limit ?
    what do you suggest? Thanks

    Microsoft answer

    Thank you for your update. From the billing side, we will not be able to do anything once you reach the limit on data transfer. However, I am not sure if you could alter your code in such a way to reduce the Data Transfer Out used. In order to know, if there is a way to programmatically load how much Data transfer out has been used and using algorithm on your site, the Azure technical team will be able to answer that part. You could contact the Azure technical team on 1866 676 6546 Option1 Option2. Feel free to let me know if you have any further questions.

    So generally in the 90 days trial a lot of people get cought because they over reach some of the limits.So they can update to pay as you go or the 6 month packages,but It doesnot really matter which way you will go because you will get always charge for anything extra and we dont have control over it.

    You will never get dissable when you reach any limits like at trial version!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    In my case What if Ill get couple 1000 new users a day ,means my traffic increase 10 times than my expection ,that means Data transfer out usage over reach my 200 usd very fast and i cant Do anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Well that is my story and i am very disapointed.

    Hope microsot azure will come with some futures to support a small or midlle business.

    Friday, May 18, 2012 2:56 AM

All replies

  • I understand that you would like billing caps (the ability to automatically shut off your site when a certain dollar amount has been reached). When I was at Microsoft working on Windows Azure, that was certainly an understood feature request, and I think it's likely this will eventually be implemented.

    But I'm not sure why you see any of this as a "scam."

    Friday, May 18, 2012 4:57 AM
  • In my opinion Its on the edge of scam. There is a  thousand of peoples who had inpresion from 90 days trial that thay only pay what they choose and any over reach limit they will get disable like at the trial.But that is not true, in any of the plans available.You canot find 1 word about it  in whole windows azure documentation(I Do not mean pay as you go option) ,I think its very inportante to let people know you just canot set your money amount,dont you think? Windows azure its a servise right. So like any other servise one of the first thing what average people wante to know is how much is the servise total. I came a croos Windows azure its like when you rent a car ,nobody care if you use it you pay the servise. That is absolutely right,but on the begining you pick the car and all about it and that is what you pay for,Windows azure act more like you pick the car and than you pay extra because no biling cap.Well I understant microsoft whoud not invest a bilions of dollars to scam couple people for few dollars,but when you look at it from people point of view a lot of  people  had the differente inpresion.I hope they eventually  implemented billing caps.I am very impress what is Windows azure  capable of my self but missed billing caps in the world what we live that is strange.

    Thanks for you answer you give me some hope.

    Friday, May 18, 2012 3:01 PM
  • I'm with Steve. I don't see any scam. It actually seems like you have a fairly clear understanding of what the billable charges are in Windows Azure are. If I'm understanding your root concern correcly, it a desire to have more flexible options for cost control. As Steve has indicated, that's a commonly asked for feature and I have little doubt that we will see this implemented eventually.

    In the meantime, the spending caps were introduced to help prevent people who were still learning Windows Azure (and subsequently the billing model) from inadvertantly exceeding their "free usage" teir and thus receiving bills without their explicit concent. It was not intended to be a robust cost control mechanism like what you are ater. This is also likely why this "feature" isn't something that documented publically. Its less a feature then it is a limit on the "free" accounts.

    BTW, I do compliment you for being proactive in making sure you understood Azure's billing model and limits before making a big commitment. This was a very smart move and something i always encourage others to do. :)

    Friday, May 18, 2012 6:07 PM
  • You can programmatic-ally monitor your usage using the Windows Azure API - if you start using too much resources you could prevent new people joining your site.

    The problem is not actually with the Azure system here but you are asking billing about a technical (programming) question. It is unlikely they can help you it is like asking your supermarket check-out operator about your health.

    As you are not earning income from your site (although with the numbers you are talking about an income can easily be generated through various advertising systems, or subscription charges. a 1$ charge per month would generate 10,000$ for you - seems more than enough to cover your costs.

    Nevertheless, your situation is you want to prevent yourself from paying more than a set amount. As said, the API will give you this ability. So there is no scam here, it is just you asked the wrong people the wrong question.

    go to the Azure development forums and they will help you out with the API implementation. You can use, almost any language that your site is coded in!

    Azure Coding Forums: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsazuredevelopment/threads

    Digital Forensic Software Developer
    CCS LABS Digital Forensic Software
    Mark as Answer or Vote up if useful thank you!

    Saturday, June 23, 2012 12:19 PM
  • Sury777, 
    it's not a scam. It's only a poor implemented billing and monitoring system.  :(

    The MS guys should look at the competitors with more attention. Google GAE has a fantastic web monitoring system (with real time data and detailed graphs... minutes on x axis and not hours) and a real billing limiting system (calculated every day and not month).

    IMHO from a tech point if view Azure is a lot more interesting, flexible and powerful than Google GAE. But has a paleolithic accounting/billing system.

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012 6:34 AM
  • Maybe not a scam, but the model certainly does not allow a user to become comfortable with and establish trust in the azure billing cycle. Also, I imagine that many companies would prefer to release to a small set of users to determine whether it is even worthwhile pursuing the web application without exposing themselves to unexpected charges. What if there is a bug in a third-party client application that causes a continuous download of data from my web application? Or a bug in my web application (bugs in my code are possible in theory) that causes the CPU to stick at 100% and write blobs and data like there is no tomorrow?  

    A cap on the pay-as-you go model would encourage companies (especially SMB) to host an application on Azure because one of the concerns is that they will be stung by unexpected charges. Once the initial trials, alpha, beta tests have been done and the company is happy they understand the pricing and how it works, the company would raise or remove the cap. 

    I completed the 3 month trial and was quite impressed, but the lack of a cap on the pay-as-you-go is making me reconsider - I don't want to carry that kind of liability that I will suddenly get stung by unexpected azure usage. 

    As for using the azure API as suggested by Dave - sure it is good to implement controls in the application to guard against overuse or misuse. However, unless I am missing something, I don't think that there is any method like DenyFurtherConnectionsAndSendMeAnEmailWhenCostMoreThan($200.00) or anything that doesn't require monitoring a whole bunch of resources. I don't want to bloat my application with code to calculate bandwidth, database, CPU, etc. If I am mistaken here, please point me to the correct place to start. 

    • Edited by acarlonvsn1 Sunday, September 16, 2012 10:46 AM
    Sunday, September 16, 2012 10:02 AM
  • I equally don't think it's a scam.  Here is a way to mitigate your Windows azure costs if you can stay in the neighborhood of the 200.00 cost (monthly).  Go out and buy a Visual Studio with MSDN Premium subscription.  You are then allowed an  Azure Subscription.  The subscription allows about 200.00 of free services monthly.  The spending limit is set at 0 when you start and going over the limit will disable the subscription until the next month when you will have to re-deploy the services.  If you're reasonably sure to stay in the 200.00 range then you can remove the limit so as not to have the subscription disabled and you will only be charged for what you exceed.  The cost of VS 2010 or 2012 with MSDN Premium for the first year may be prohibitive at first but if you shop around you may be surprised at what you find.

    Sunday, September 16, 2012 7:33 PM