Preview of Azure Spot virtual machines

Microsoft announce the preview of Azure spot virtual machines. Azure Spot VMs let you access unused Azure compute capacity at large discounts compared to pay-as-you-go prices. These VMs are evicted when Azure no longer has available compute capacity and must reallocate its resources. At that point, the VM is deallocated and no additional VM-related changes are incurred, but other resources, such as disk or network, continue to run and accrue charges.

Ideal workloads for Azure Spot VMs include:

  • development and test
  • workloads that can recover from interruptions
  • short-lived jobs which can easily be run again if the virtual machine is evicted.

Azure Spot VMs are created in the same way as regular VMs, but a flag is set at the time of creation, designating it as a Spot VM. At this point in the preview the pricing is fixed for a Spot VM, but in the future the pricing will vary based on capacity for a particular VM in a particular region. You’ll be able to choose your eviction terms: when Azure needs the capacity, or when the variable pricing reaches a maximum price that you have set.

As a comparison of pricing, for an Fsv2 VM, the pay-as-you-go price per hour is $0.163, while the Spot price is $0.065 per hour, with 1-year and 3-year Reserved Instances at $0.142 and $0.1227 per hour respectively.

Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/36O659J and there’s a useful FAQ at the bottom of this page: http://bit.ly/2tsxXBO.

Pricing guidance for SQL Server VMs in Azure

There’s an excellent article from Microsoft that gives some great advice on saving money when running SQL Server VMs in Azure. Tips include:

  • using a free edition of SQL Server (Developer or Express) where possible
  • choosing the SQL meter for temporary or periodic workloads, and bringing your own licence via the Azure Hybrid Benefit for workloads with a known lifetime and scale
  • correctly sizing the VM – perhaps choosing one of the special VMs that are optimised for certain types of SQL Server workloads which have a high level of resources but a lower virtualised core count
  • shutting down VMs where possible, perhaps using an automatic shutdown facility

Find the article here: http://bit.ly/2Ndp7jd.

Updated Windows in VMs Volume Licensing Brief

There’s an updated (Dec 2014) Volume Licensing Brief for licensing Windows for use with virtual machines. The main changes, as you would expect, are for Windows per User licensing and all of the scenarios are updated which means, of course, that the Companion Subscription Licence is banished to obscurity. Get the document here: http://bit.ly/IKPKXE.