Jonas Stawski

Everything .NET and More

MSDN Subscription and Windows Azure Offer

As an MVP we get a free Visual Studio Ultimate MSDN Subscription and with it a nice offer for Windows Azure. Since offers change often and some links may be broken let me copy the offer here:

Current offer* Updated Offer after April 12, 2011
Services Ultimate, Premium & BizSpark* Ultimate
Premium Professional
Compute 750 hrs Small compute instance 1,500 hrs Small compute instance 1,500 hrs Extra Small compute instance 750 hrs Extra Small compute instance
Storage 10 GB 30GB 25 GB 20 GB
Storage Trans 2,000K 2,000K 1,000K 250K
SQL Azure 5 GB of 
Web edition DB
5 GB of 
Web edition DB
1 GB 
(Web edition)
1 GB 
(Web edition)
Access Control Transactions** 1,000K 500K 200K 100K
Service Bus Connections 5 (1 pack of 5) 5 (1 pack of 5) 5 (1 pack of 5) 2 connections
Caching*** 128 MB cache 128 MB cache 128 MB cache 128 MB cache
Data transfer
14 GB (NA/Europe) / 
5 GB (Asia)
35 GB (WW) 30 GB (WW) 25 GB (WW)
Data transfer
7 GB (NA/Europe) / 
5 GB (Asia)
35 GB (WW) 30 GB (WW) 25 GB (WW)

If you look under Ultimate/BizSpark, you will notice a 1500 hrs of Small compute instance. So I decided to start taking advantage of this nice offer and spun 2 Extra Small instances to test some things. All nice and dandy, but yesterday I received the following complimentary email from Microsoft Online Services:

Dear Jonas Stawski,

This e-mail notification comes to you as a courtesy to update you on your Windows Azure platform usage.  Our records indicate that your subscription has exceeded 125% of the extra small compute hours amount included with your offer for your current billing period.  Any hours in excess of the amount included with your offer will be charged at standard rates.

We show that you have so far utilized the following extra small instance compute hours (or their equivalent) during this billing period:

Subscription start date: 1/12/2011 12:00:00 AM
Offer Name: Windows Azure Platform MSDN Premium
Subscription Name: Digital Idea Solutions

Total Consumed*                                         32.000000 XS Compute Hours
Amount included with your offer                    0 XS Compute Hours
Amount over (under) your monthly average    32.000000 XS Compute Hours

No action is required unless this usage is unexpected.  If this usage is unexpected, please log into the Windows Azure Dev Portal to view your running services and make any needed changes to those services to bring your usage back in line.

At any time, you can login to the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal to view your subscription's usage at  You can also click here for detailed instructions on how to view and understand your usage statements and bills.

Please do not reply directly to this e-mail as this mailbox is not monitored.   For customer support, please feel free to connect with one of our Customer Partner Care agents by clicking on this

Thank you for choosing Microsoft.

Microsoft Online Services Support

WHAT?!?!? I thought I had 1500 hours free of Small Instance, since Extra Small is a smaller option I would have imagined that I would get at least the same as a Small instance. So I called the billing department and this is what they’ve told me (I’m paraphrasing):

Extra Small instances are computed differently than any other instance. Your offer includes 1500 hrs of a Small instance, not Extra Small, therefore we have to charge you for it.

Here’s a table of equivalency for each instance based on the offer

Instance Type Equivalency Hours
Extra Small N/A N/A
Small 1 Small 1500
Medium 2 Small 750
Large 4 Small 375
Extra Large 8 Small 187.5

Thanks to the complimentary and early email sent to Microsoft I was able to quickly take action and correct the “problem”. Needless to say, my testing had already finished, so I deleted all instances. I only accrued $5!

Happy Azuring!

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