As many of you who occasionally read my blog know, I tend to be an early adopter of most Microsoft technologies. Let me rephrase that, I am an early explorer of most Microsoft technologies; adoption into production generally comes a little later. However, I did try out Azure two months ago with a sandbox web service hosted in the cloud. I hadn’t thought much about it until recently when I received a bill for around eighty dollars. I am an MSDN subscriber, so I figured this must be a mistake (MSDN subscribers are free for 18 months based on limited usage). After discussing the situation with Microsoft I found out the charge was for a second instance I unknowingly had. As it turns out, maintaining a staging and production environment in Azure is actually listed as two instances, even though only one is “production”. I thought staging was internal and therefore not counted as a paid instance, in fact, at the time I was deploying the web service it suggested adding a second instance to maintain the true service level agreement of max up time. This led me to believe I was only running one true instance, and would be therefore covered under the MSDN subscription.
I was wrong, and because it does clearly state it several lines into the lengthy Terms and Conditions document which you agree to by setting up Azure, I had no leg to stand on in refuting the charge. I will admit, I was pretty irritated that as I sat in front of Visual Studio 2010, calling on my WP7, and only moments before spreading Microsoft praises to fellow employees, that there was no understanding or attempt to reconcile… only the cold abruptness of a Microsoft employee telling me how I “clearly signed in full knowledge and agreement”. Formally, the representative filed a request for reimbursement which was promptly denied.
Hopefully, as you excitedly dive into new technology you do so with caution. In Microsoft’s case, I still believe there are no better development tools, no better programming languages, and no worse pricing structures and convolution. I’m hope by reading this, you will at least avoid making the same mistake I did and save yourself a little cash in the process.