The shopping list to get me up and running with an inexpensive public site was as follows:-
- A public server to host the website
- A database server
- Source control
- A copy of Visual Studio
After signing up and creating a pay-as-you-go account on Azure I configured the following:-
1. A public server to host the website
Using the FREE web hosting plan mode I have a single-server, 32-bit host (on shared metal) for my web site. I also get the option to specify a domain suffix giving mysite.azurewebsites.net. Neat.
Start-up performance is not great, especially if the site hasn't been touched for a while. This suggests that the site image is stopped after a period of inactivity requiring the CLR to be reloaded and re-compilation of the MSIL. Once it is warmed up it is fine however. Amazing given the £0 price tag. Pricing and scaling options can be found here
Running total £0
2. A database server
On the basis that I am sticking with my areas of expertise and with my requirement for a relational database (SQL Server or similar), I signed up for the "Web" sku/tier of SQL Server. This tier has since been superseded by the BASIC service tier and offers pay as you go storage and 5 DTU's, So what is a DTU?
Extracted from the online reference
"DTUs are based on a blended measure of CPU, memory, reads, and writes. As DTUs increase, the power offered by the performance level increases. For example, a performance level with 5 DTUs has five times more power than a performance level with 1 DTU. A maximum DTU quota applies to each server. For more information on DTU quotas, see Azure SQL Database General Guidelines and Limitations.
Running total £0 (expected £3.18)
3. Source control
I like TFS, especially the recent upgrades to the SCRUM templates in TFS 2013 with the simple backlog management. So I signed up for the free edition of TFS online or "Visual Studio Online Basic" as it is known.
Signing up for this includes a free Web Edition of Visual Studio which means that I now have everything I need to get started.
The BONUS is that by linking the Azure account with the Visual Studio account, I also get Continuous Integration for free, put simply whenever I check in my web project, an MSBuild job (no doubt wrapped in powershell) launches in the background and deploys may latest code to the site. If anything goes wrong the Azure portal keeps a log of the deployment history.
The number of CI hours per-month is limited on the free plan, but this hasn't caused me a problem yet, given that I am developing in my free time once or twice a week.
Running total £0
Having received my first bill after a month, the cost is £3.18, the charge is for SQL Server - not bad considering the cost of a standard license.
Month 1: £3.18