*Update* Microsoft have updated their FAQ with instance pricing

In my previous post on the newly released Azure SDK I touched on the ability to set a size for your VM instance.

Lets delve down into what size virtual machines are available (values from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee814754.aspx)

VM Size CPU Cores Memory Disk space for local storage
Small 1 1.7 GB 250 GB
Medium 2 3.5 GB 500 GB
Large 4 7 GB 1,000 GB
Extra Large 8 15 GB 2,000 GB

The sizes are easy to follow, they are all just multiples of the base VM size. Microsoft have said in their FAQ that the pricing is based on multiples of the small VM size. It is based on “CPU cores / hour”, so $0.12 per hour for the small VM, $0.24 for medium, $0.48 for large, etc.

Lets draw up a matrix to compare the Microsoft Azure and Amazon EC2 pricing side by side:

Azure Amazon EC2
CPU cores Memory Platform OS cost / hour "Compute units" Memory Platform OS cost / hour
1 1.7 GB 64 Bit Windows Server 2008 R2 $0.12 1 1.7 GB 32 Bit Windows Server 2003 $0.12
2 3.5 GB 64 Bit Windows Server 2008 R2 $0.24 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
4 7 GB 64 Bit Windows Server 2008 R2 $0.48 4 7.5 GB 64 Bit Windows Server 2003 $0.48
8 15 GB 64 Bit Windows Server 2008 R2 $0.96 8 15 GB 64 Bit Windows Server 2003 $0.96

(Values taken from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee814754.aspx and http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/instance-types/ )

The Azure and EC2 packages are roughly equivalent to each other and the “CPU” speeds are roughly the same (Azure: 1.5-1.7GHz, EC2: 1.0-1.2GHz Xeon). Where they still do differ though is Amazon is still only offering Windows Server 2003, and the low end instance is only 32bit compared.


From a .Net developer’s perspective I see Azure winning here. For the same price I can get Windows server 2008 R2 over a 2003 instance, which gives me IIS7. If you are developing cutting edge .Net code (like ASP.Net MVC), IIS7 is going to be a lot easier to work with than IIS6. Of course if you need to control more in your instance then Amazon is going to offer you that over Azure.


Footnote: Amazon does have a few more instance types available that offer higher CPU processing or increased memory. Here I have just used the basic instance types for easier comparison.

By David Burela