When Written: Aug 2011
Of course the current trendy way to solve the problem of dealing with such traffic is to host your web site in the ‘Cloud’. With a vast number of servers all waiting to serve your web application to your eager audience, surly it is a ‘brain dead’ choice? The reservation I have here is problem of the charges which are dependent on the level of traffic and so difficult to predict.
Should you be the subject of an attempted DDOS attack it could cost you real money, but also in the case of Microsoft’s offering, Azure, the table of charges is labyrinthine to say the least. I was intrigued to get an email the other day announcing revised charges for Azure, perhaps things might be easier to work out? A while ago they dropped the charges for uploading content to your site in Azure which is an improvement, as I got charged over £90 a month for the basic tests I did for a couple of articles for our sister title CloudPro ! In this email that I received from Microsoft it claimed they were ‘increasing flexibility and simplicity’ of their pricing structure for Azure. There then followed a turgid lump of text which attempted to explain the new rates which I must confess left me a confused as ever. Microsoft in an attempt to make estimating the cost of hosting via Azure possible have produced a calculator on the web, there is however a big disclaimer about its accuracy that you have to agree to before you use this page (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/pricing-calculator/).
The issue I have with their pricing model is that it is based on data transfer and number of transactions both of which can be impossible to estimate for a lot of sites. Back in the bad old days of hosting with an ISP this was the same model used, now thankfully most hosting packages are based on a size of server, virtual or otherwise with unlimited bandwidth, something than any company can budget to. The pricing structure for Azure is the sort of thing put together by that most dangerous of creatures, the ‘tech-based bean counter’ and being based on the technical resources used it has little bearing on the real world requirements of their customers. Now I know Microsoft will tell us about all the companies who are signing up to Azure but often with these high profile larger ‘names’, deals are struck that differ from what is publicly offered, so I take such announcements with a large pinch of salt.
Come on Microsoft, put your collective brains together and come up with a pricing model that will neither bankrupt a company nor leave them without a web server because they have used their allocation that month, and one that a company can accurately budget to. The Cloud pricing structures for almost all other providers are simpler and do not rely on trying to work out how much data your application is going to have to supply to an unknown number of users.
Article by: Mark Newton
Published in: Mark Newton