I Owe $282.06 for Windows Azure Usage Charges on an MSDN Subscription

Since the launch of Windows Azure, I’ve been using my complimentary Microsoft MVP MSDN Premium subscription to play with Azure and enter some deployment contests. Unfortunately, I left up those trivial deployments and used 2,979 compute hours. That’s way beyond the 750 hours that come with the subscription.

As you can imagine, I’m not too pleased to learn that I’ll be billed $282.06 for the extra “usage”.

Lesson learned: Windows Azure is expensive and take down those test deployments! 


  • Ouch!

  • I really have no time for people who use services and then complain when the bill comes. I have a little more sympathy for non-technical people who get caught out on data plans on phones and have big bills, but as someone supposedly technically savvy you should know better.

    Either quit whining or stand up to M$ and refuse to pay the bill. No, I didn't think so.

  • Welcome to cloud computing.

  • @simple simon: You're right that it's my own fault for not paying attention to how many "compute hours" an unused application consumes. I was wrong to assume it would be covered under the plan. So yes, I'll pay the amount and count it as a lesson for me and hopefully for others.

  • Or move to RackSpace Cloud Servers and get a deployment for $30 / month on Server 2008 R2 64-bit.

  • @Denny: True, there are great deals on hosting out there, but the goal of using my MSDN hours on Azure was to learn about the service try to win prizes for test deployments. I had no idea how much Azure would end up costing - but I sure know now! --kc

  • I've been bitten too. I naively assumed that roles equated to threads and was therefore under my 750 hours allotted. Unfortunately role == server and I'm way over like you. My attempts to get through to the billing department have been unsuccessful. :^(

  • Over $500 for me!!! :'(

  • @James: I successfully got to customer service and they apologized, but that was it. They won't reduce the bill or anything

  • @James: I'm not going to dispute the charges because I should have explored the fine print.

    It's just an eyeopener that a tiny app that's sitting idle is consuming far more compute time than I'd ever imagined.

  • @EH: $500? Ouch! I wish I could say I'm the only one who got caught with his head down.

  • Well, thats a hint that it is time for you to start working on a new edition of your book.

  • @zoldello: What new edition? One book's enough for any sane person!

  • Sorry to hear you wont write another book Ken. I really liked your last one...

  • Ken, I feel your pain, I forgot all about an instance I had running on Amazon's compute cloud then one day the bill arrived....ouch.

    @simple simon - don't be an idiot and chill dude. All that Ken is saying is just watch what you're doing and know your pricing and utilisation so you don't get a surprise. Also your use of 'M$' just caused your bozo bit to be flipped.

  • I got bitten by the same thing. I read "Compute hours" as CPU time -- really it should be called something like instance hours. I really think the pricing chart is misleading.

  • I got a $70 bill... I THOUGHT I signed up for the 3 months free subscription but I guess not.. I quickly stuck the guestbook sample up there and a month later saw a bill..

    So yeah.. its my fault.. but I wasnt aware I was going to get billed.. like I said I thought I signed up for the free one... and I barely used it.. just for testing.. so it makes me sad.. hopefully they will udnrestand and reimburse me

  • Wow, that's horrible. I've been reading alot of the azure forums and this is a common complaint. Especially since they changed their billing models in the last 6 months theres been a lot of confusion.

    I think this problem is also compounded by the azure interface.. I just went to double check my account to make sure I wasn't getting billed and experienced 6 .NET runtime errors in their interface.

    I've billed roughly $2000 through Amazon AWS in the last year and I've found their site very easy to use and to understand what I using and being billed for.

  • This is so misleading it's practically false advertisement. The billing invoice calls it Computing Hours. Everywhere on their site is called Computing Hours, but it's actually Deployed Hours as well as other god knows what hidden charges.

    It's as if T-mobile charges me for just keeping my phone on instead of the calls. And to avoid being charged for minutes, I need to turn my phone off!!!

    Should have kept my $8 / mo hosting site rather than meeting Azure and get nailed for $166 for the first month!

  • I was charged $450. Very pricey to take a learning curve. But I am not going to complain. Just have some questions.
    Am I going to be charged if I have only project on Windows Azure?
    I deleted all databases I had and all services. Only two projects are left :
    -CTP project which is read only and
    -The main project.

    Should I call customer service to delete these two projects?

    Thank you.

  • i too was shocked. By the time I saw my 146$ amex bill, another $174 was being charged.

    I had a simple hello world app in staging with nobody accessing it including myself. Azure billing says there are alot of people complaining about the same thing and they credited the $146 but so far not the $174. Needless to say, i am done with it. Cant imagine what a real web site with some modest traffic would cost. And what the heck would their cheapest introductory subscript actually cover if hello world costs me $170+ a month!

  • Update on my situation: MS refunded the credit card charges for the usage related to the deployment contest. That was very fair of them. I see they've also put up notices that the meter is running even for idle apps.

  • Same stuff here :(

    If I new Computing Hour = Deployment Hour - would not even consider a try...

  • I just found out they billed me $550 for some "Hello World" apps. I think I am not a naive user (I even was a Microsoft employee for 10 years) but I still thought they would charge me for actual compute hours, not for apps that sit there doing nothing. I filed a request for a refund today and maybe I will get one...

  • Luckily after only 360 compute hours for a hello world website! I'm terminating my account now. Got the impression I had signed up for a version where I would pay for compute hours and since I am the only user of my site right now, I assumed it would be almost free. But not so. Looking somewhere else for a hosting service with fair pricing.

  • Just got bitten! Luckily after only 360 compute hours for a hello world website! I'm terminating my account now. Got the impression I had signed up for a version where I would pay for compute hours and since I am the only user of my site right now, I assumed it would be almost free. But not so. Looking somewhere else for a hosting service with fair pricing.

  • Happened to me too -- to the tune of £283 English pounds. Refund refused.

    I wonder what percentage of Azure's revenues are coming from this racket.

  • Oh, come on people! I think M$ is just taking advantage of the very developers that help them debug their "quality software"!, I too was hit with a "thanks for being careless while helping us debug this crap"!! Now, my local public library sends me an email if my books are about to be DUE! Come on, you don't think that those bright people at Redmond could setup something like that? SPECIALLY for accounts that they know are helping test the Azure platform?? Give me a f*&*&*# brake!

    I am planing to put up a fight for my money, and see how low they can go! Good luck to all!

  • Same thing here. My 'Hello World' app started to make costs so i suspended the app, and even a suspended app will continue to be charged. This small test costed me approximately 100 dollars.

    A minute a go the Microsoft Support Portal cancelled my subscription thank god.

  • Yeah
    I naivly thought Compute Hours was cpu cycle related not Hosting Hours on my MSDN inticement. Hence I also got a nasty bill as a painful introduction to MS Azure services. Microsoft should use the term 'Hosting Hours' Not 'Compute Hours'.

    MS are better than Nigerians at these scams. Sucker Me !

    Now Trying to Cancel all my Subscriptions and Accounts

  • Just so I don't sound like an idiot: I'm a solution architect and have been using the .Net platform for about 10 years now (since beta!). I've built massive SaaS applications that run on hundreds of servers and big commercial web sites.

    Whilst I haven't been screwed (yet), I was ashamed to find out that my trial storage transactions for the month are half gone from deploying a todo list around 15 times. I mean what the?

    When projecting it across our current application and deployment, it would cost about $25,000 a month to sustain. Our current pricing (with our own kit, hosting costs, sole staff member and trips to the data center) turns out at around $15,000 a month and a fair chunk of that's going out of the window when we dump SQL server for postgresql.

    So it's not cost effective for both small LOB applications and large ones? What good is it?

    Considering all the "features" which are not portable once you've implemented them (service bus, worker roles etc), once you've built it, you are screwed properly. AppFabric on Windows server is not the same. Total disaster.

    Rackspace, cheap VPS and AWS are far cheaper with no API lock in and vendor lock in.

    In fact, it'd probably be better to use PHP and Postgres or something on Linux.

    Oh and don't even get me started on how long it takes to deploy. I can shift a 2500 file deployment package to a Linux machine with rsync over ssh in 10 seconds flat. Compare that to 5 minutes with azure to shift a couple of static pages over.

    Sorry rant over.

  • Me too. I used to get 750 of free computing time via ms partner program. Without knowing they droped it to 350hr. U can imagine how happy I was when I got the bill.

  • I tried out the Azure crap, wanting to check out the supposedly cheap reporting services. I believed that I would be billed for computing resources used. I thought that was the point of the thing. I made a little test report, ran it a few times and let the thing go for a month. For this privilege I was charged $633. Microsoft can go to hell. I have gained a new appreciation for the clunky home grown Java reporting system I code on at work.

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