WATTT: Know If You’ve Got Your Cloud On

(If you’re wondering what WATTT stands for, it’s Windows Azure Tips, Tricks, and Tools – a blog series dedicated to bringing you neat Windows Azure things that can help you with your development.)

If you’re like me and are actively doing work with Windows Azure, whether you’re learning how to develop Cloud-based applications, actually building an application, or just demoing Windows Azure capabilities to various audiences, you probably have one or more deployments configured in the Windows Azure Developer Portal. You start up your deployment, do your thing, and then stop your deployment so don’t get billed when you’re not actively working.  Right?

If you remember to stop your deployment every time, consider yourself a rare breed! For the rest of us who don’t always remember to do it right away and then realize in the middle of the night that we forgot, there is hope!

imageDuring my most resent perusal of CodePlex, I came across a nifty little utility written by Windows Azure MVP Michael Wood (@mikewo) called GreyBox.  GreyBox is an application that sits in your system tray and visually indicates to you whether you have any deployments running in your Windows Azure subscription.

As Michael describes in his blog post, if the box is blue, you have one or more deployments running (a.k.a. consuming compute hours). If your deployments have all been stopped, the box is grey. Simple! Now if that wasn’t useful enough, GreyBox will also alert you, on intervals that you define in the configuration, that you have deployments running. Commit this to memory - “If the cube is grey, you’re OK. If the cube is blue, a bill is due”.  Thanks for that nice and simple summary, Brian Prince.

Give GreyBox a try and hopefully, it will remind you, like it reminds me, that your deployments are still running - before you get into bed! 

Have you had an interesting or funny remembering that you forget to turn off your deployments? Share your story with the community.  

This post also appears in Dev Pulse.

Comments (2)

  1. Cory Fowler says:

    My first bill for Windows Azure was $396. I had a few instances running, and didn't know [at the time] that a Worker Role used a separate instance from a Web Role.

    It's one of those Blushed momments that i've long since forgotten. I now remember to spin down my deployments and delete them from my hosted Service before moving on to my next task.

    I've heard of GreyBox before, and I think I'll start using it during my demonstrations so people experiencing Windows Azure for the first time, won't leave with a bitter taste in their mouth.

  2. Mike Wood says:

    I'm glad you found the tool useful!  I'm always open to feedback over on the greybox.codeplex.com site.  The next feature I'm planning is multiple subscription support.

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