Visual Studio 2015 and pricing of VM’s


So instead of ranting about the joys of PaaS let’s discuss Azure development environments and cost.

I really wanted to try the new ASP vNext and maybe even the possibility to run the application on Linux/Mac as well.So the first thing I need is to get me a version of Visual Studio 2015 preview.
I don’t want to hose my workstation by installing weird versions of VS so I’d rather just get another computer … hmm , let’s think about that … maybe a virtual one from Azure !

Ok, I go to Azure and provision me a new A2 machine , 2 cores 3,5G memory. Installs very fast, no problems there. Log into the vm with remote desktop , fire up IE , goto google, install chrome, install the new visual studio : http://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/downloads/visual-studio-2015-downloads-vs
This phase actually takes some time since it’s like 10G of stuff that gets installed.

So while I’m waiting for the install to happen I start thinking about the cost of this test …
Looking at the pricing at http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/calculator/?scenario=virtual-machines it says that a Basic A2 machine will cost me 0.111 € per hour.
That’s not very much. So If I was to use this machine 8 hours per day for 20 days a month it would cost me 17,76 € per month.
Which is definitely not how much I will be using this machine. In reality If doing only VS testing the real number would be closer to 4 hours a day times 5 days which makes about 2,22 € !!!

Think about it, I don’t have to screw up my real desktop computer for this test and I get to utilize another processor for compiling in totally separated environment and runnning and it only costs me 2,22 € !.
That is if I remember to shut the vm down every day when I’m done with it. I will definitely try to.

This can be taken so much further… I could be using preseeded VM images or using Azure DSC-tools to create specific configurations with minimal effort on my part.
Have visual studio do stress testing on finished projects (there’s gonna be a writeup on that later) .
So many possibilities and the cost is ridiculously low.

One would have to be a complete moron not to do this.

 EDIT 1.12.2012

Tried it home with my iMac … worked perfectly with osx remote client. Tried it on my Surface RT as well … works equally well.
This is sweet.


Comments (3)

  1. John Boehner says:

    Nice to be rich I guess?! Over $100 per month USD is too much for me for playing around. I've got a primary that's a middling I7 machine w/ 16GB memory and a 180GB SSD. I toss a virtual machine in there and I don't have to mess with my real computer either and I don't have to constantly feel like I have to hurry and GTF off my testing machine cuz I'm burning cash each second. Nope, Azure is heading in the right direction, but it'll be at least five more years before it's an acceptable value for individuals.

  2. Matt Ridgway says:

    @John I would disagree, when you only pay for what you use (plus a little bit for storage of the VHD) it is going to be considerably less than $100USD. In the example above 8hrs a day, 20working days in a month is ~20Euro.

    A few months back I had a big compute task to go through (multiple sets of 100GB of data to compare) I used the HDInsight cluster, which finished a few different runs through the data in a few hours. The whole thing cost me £16GBP. There is no way I could have achieved this quicker or in less money, even if I had utilized hardware we already had in the business.

    It's fair to say I wouldn't be replacing my actual development machine with a permanent VM, but for helping me develop, staging platforms/test environments or production deployments that require scale its pretty good, and certainly cheaper than alternatives.

  3. petsablog says:

    I hear You John.

    At work I  have a company laptop (i5) with 8G of memory and 140G disk.Not exactly a workhorse.

    With his setup I really don't have too much choice given all the scenarios I need to support, plus I want to be able to tweek my stuff on the road too.  I don't mind shutting my tests down while I'm not at work or I am playing with other setups So the cost per individual environment really stays ridiculously low.

    … but that's me. Your view is equally valid in Your case.

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