I have prepared a development environment in Windows Azure the last days and blogged about it:
Learning 1: Pricing
I am not totally sure, what the shown price means - my expectation: its the projected monthly cost if i continue with using my VMs as i did in the past days in November.
Learning 2: Performance
- If i reduce the VM size - now i have 4 cores with 7GB ram - back to a medium size (2 cores with 3.5GB ram), i reduce my fees bac 50%, since the VM hours are by far the biggest part in the cost. I don't need the 4 cores all the time, but for testing its definitively needed.
- Turning off and on the VM is saving you a big deal of money. I was not shutting down the VM all the time, and then you pay... Just be aware, that starting the VM up is taking 4-5 minutes. So you cant start working immediately in the morning - grab a coffee first and you are good to go ;)
- Performance-wise I have noted two things: the operations (e.g. building etc) are fast, so the machine itself is fine, but the RDP performance (moving a window etc) is pretty slow. you even notice it when you type. I have my VM hosted in the Western Europe region and played around with many performance-settings the RDP protocol offers - no setting hat a noticeable effect:
So far I still like to have my VMs hosted on my Macbook Pro better, since its faster and smoother to use.
Learning 3: Is it the future?
I wonder, if this way of working is the future. Just look at Amazon: They also offer a similar thing: Amazon Workspaces. So far they only offer Windows 7 and only 2 vCPUs (and then still charge 60-75$/month) but this might change in the future also. I will have a close look at this offering too.
With this model, I can have small, not really powerful devices and connect to my dev-machine, which has CPU power enough - I just need internet connectivity. See Scott Hanselmans post about his experiences.