Microsoft News – 8 April 2015

There’s a lot of stuff happening now. The Windows Server vNext Preview expires on April 15th and Microsoft is promising a fix … the next preview isn’t out until May (maybe with Ignite on?). There’s rumours of Windows vNext vNext. And there’s talk of open sourcing Windows – which I would hate. Here’s the rest of what’s going on:

Hyper-V

Windows Server

Windows Client

Azure

Microsoft Blogs About New Azure Backup Pricing

It’s April Fool’s Day, and the new pricing system for Azure Backup comes into force today. Make of that what you want 😀

I am not a fan of the new pricing system. I am all for costs coming down, but I can say from 8 months of selling Azure, complex pricing BLOCKS sales efforts by Microsoft partners. The new system isn’t just “price per GB” but it also includes the abstract notion of an “instance”.  A new blog post by Microsoft attempts to explain clearly what an instance is.

I’ve read it. I think I understand it. I know that no MSFT partner sales person will read it, our customers will call me, and when I explain it to them, I know that a sale will not happen. I’ve seen that trend with Azure too often (all but a handful of occasions) to know it’s not a once-off.

Anyway … enjoy the post by Microsoft.

Microsoft News – 27 March 2015

Welcome to the Azure Times! Or so it seems. Lots of Azure developments since I posted one of these news aggregations.

Windows Client

Azure

Office

Office 365

New Azure Backup Pricing Description – With Examples

Microsoft has corrected and changed the description of the new pricing for Azure Online Backup that comes into effect on April 1st. This is after the owners of the website royally screwed the pooch in February with a confusing and incorrect posting.

NOTE: I am redacting this post because no one is able to explain what a “protected instance” is. Until then, while Azure Backup is great technically, and could be cheap, I have no idea how much it will cost.

As with all posts regarding licensing or pricing on this site, I will not be answering questions. Ask your reseller, distributor or LSP – they’re the people you are paying so they are the people who can do the work.

With the new pricing you no longer pay (using North Europe pricing in Euros) €0.149 per GB stored in Azure per month. Instead the pricing is broken into 2 pieces:

Instances

Think of an instance as The block of data that has to be protected. I

The charge per instance depends on the size of the instance. Sigh!  This charge is based on the size of the protected instance. I do not know if this is based on data protected or the total amount of disk space in the instance. Another sigh!

  • Less than 50 GB:€3.7235 per instance
  • 50 GB to 500 GB: €7.447 per instance
  • Larger than 500 GB: Multiples of the 50-500 GB charge

Storage

Azure Online Backup will use Block Blob Storage. You can use either LRS (3 copies in 1 data center) or GRS (3 copies in 1 data center, and 3 async copies in another region) at a higher cost.

image

Examples

The end result is that for most customers, the pricing will come way down.

1 File Server with 30 GB on LRS Storage

  • 1 instance: €3.7235
  • Storage: 30 GB * €0.0179 (LRS) = €0.54

Total = €4.26

4 Machines with 80 GB each on LRS Storage

  • 4 instances: €7.447 * 4 = €29.788
  • Storage: 30 GB * 4 * €0.0179 (LRS) = €5.73

Total = €35.52

1 Machine with 1400 GB on GRS Storage

  • 3 instances (3 * 50-500 GB): €7.447 * 3 = €22.341
  • Storage: 1400 GB * €0.0358 (GRS) = €50.12

Total = €97.52

Wrap-Up

As I have told some people in Redmond, the added complexity to Azure Online Backup pricing is indicative of everything that is wrong with Azure pricing. The only blocker I’m seeing in Azure sales is that sales people cannot get their heads around the wildly varied and complicated pricing. I really don’t care what AWS does – I don’t work with AWS and what they do to limit their own sales is their issue. Microsoft needs to fix the pricing structure of Azure to grow it the way they want, and need, to.

Microsoft News – 13 March 2015

Quite bit of stuff to read since my last aggregation post on the 3rd.

Windows Server

Hyper-V

Windows Client

Azure

Office 365

Intune

Miscellaneous

Microsoft News – 3 March 2015

Here’s the latest in the Microsoft world!

Hyper-V

System Center

Azure

Office 365

Miscellaneous

Video – Pricing Solutions With Azure Virtual Machines

One of the biggest blockers, in my personal opinion, to Azure IaaS adoption in the SME space is understanding how to price solutions. I don’t get questions about technology, features, cost, trust or any of that; instead, I get questions such as “how much will this cost me?”. Microsoft does not help themselves with a very complex pricing model – please don’t try to bring up AWS – Microsoft doesn’t sell AWS so I don’t get why they are relevant!

So I’ve started producing some videos for my employers. This one focuses on pricing solutions based on Azure virtual machines.

The Price Of Azure Online Backup is … I Don’t Know!

Microsoft sent out emails last night to inform Azure customers that the pricing of Azure Online Backup is changing.

Currently, you get 5 GB free and then pay €0.149/month (rounded to €0.15) in North Europe for each additional 1 GB.

On April 1st, the pricing structure changes:

image

So, 5 GB free. Then for each machine you backup, you pay at least €7.447, with an additional charge of €7.447 for each additional 500 GB protected on that machine. And that DOES NOT COVER the cost of storage consumed in Azure. You have to pay for that too (GB/month and transactions).

So how much will that be? I have no frickin’ idea. There is no indication what kind of storage or what resiliency is required.

It might be Block Blobs running at €0.0179/GB (LRS) or €0.0358/GB (GRS). But who knows because Microsoft didn’t bother documenting it!

That leads me to an issue. The biggest blocker I’ve seen in the adoption of Azure in the SME space is not cost, technical complexity, or trust. The biggest issue is that few people understand how to price a solution in Azure. If you’re deploying a VM you need the VM/hour cost, storage space, storage transactions, egress data, and probably a gateway. Is there a single place that says all that on the Azure portal? No. What Microsoft has is isolated islands of incomplete information on the Azure website, and a blizzard of pricing in their Excel-based pricing “tools”.

If Microsoft is serious about Azure adoption, then they need to get real about helping customers understand how to price tools. Azure Online Backup was the tool I was starting to get traction with in the SME/partner space. I can see this new announcement introducing uncertainty. This change needs to be changed … fast … and not go through the Sinofskian feedback model.

Grade: F. Must try harder.

Video: Microsoft Azure For Small-Medium Businesses

Earlier today I produced a video for my employers to discuss the role of Microsoft Azure infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) in the SME/SMB market. In the video I talk a little about what Azure is, the economic sense of a service like Azure for these businesses, how the Open licensing scheme works, and then I talk about 3 of the core services and some of the scenarios that apply.

Microsoft News – 24 February 2015

Here is the latest news in the world of Microsoft infrastructure:

Hyper-V

Windows Server

System Center

Azure

Office 365

Miscellaneous