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I'm organising Windows Azure training and need to prepare a budget for such a course. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a way to limit the number of running instances, usage of the different resources. Can I somehow set a budget on an account as in Google App Engine to prevent abuse from students?

Any suggestions are welcomed

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Not that I know of. Unfortunately, I had an Azure account that ran up a huge set of charges without any warning. I tried to set a limit but I couldn't see how.

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I was afraid so. Thanks anyway for taking the time to answer. – Daniel Victoria Oct 16 '10 at 14:33

An update on this: First, there's a new billing alert service (in preview) - sign up here. This will let you receive email alerts when hitting a certain spend threshold. ScottGu just blogged about it, here.

Second: You can now suspend and re-enable spending limits. See Scott's blog post here for the details.

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New Windows Azure customers have a spending limit of $0.00 applied to their accounts. You can change this amount to any dollar amount you wish. If your balance exceeds the spending limit, all your instances will be shut down for the remainder of the billing cycle, and all of your data will be read-only.

You can also remove the spending limit entirely and re-enable it starting with the following billing cycle.

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This is a big problem with Azure at the moment. Hopefully Microsoft will soon take care of the terrible costs management on Azure and allow users to put budgets on their accounts and have more fine-grained monitoring on how charges are accrued.

AFAIK, the closest thing to an account budget you can get currently are the recently introduced email notifications for compute hours usage. You can read more here.

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This will not allow you to cap abuse from students, but for those folks who are looking to cap scaling of their Azure applications by cost, look into - it's a dynamic scaling service that externally controls scaling of your Azure applications. It can track Average Instance Count up to a months' time. Using it, users can create rules that allow them to limit/cap their instances once certain dollar amount has been reached by multiplying Average InstanceCount by the going hourly rate and by the number of hours in a month. Not a precise entry into the non-existent billing API, but a decent approximation.

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