Windows Azure hosting for an Extra Small (XS) Windows VM seems to come out to be about $10 a month right now. I think this XS instance gives you the equivalent of a 1 GHZ CPU with 768MB of RAM. I think the minimum requirements for Server 2008 is 1GHZ CPU with 512MB of RAM.

Also, I think the minimum requirements for SQL Server Express is 1GHZ CPU with 256 MB of RAM and that the minimum requirements for Team Foundation Server Express 11 Beta is 2.2 GHZ CPU with 1 Gig of RAM (this 2.2 GHZ part could be a problem for my 1 GHZ XS VM...).

Given the performance of the XS Azure instance, would I be able to install: a very basic MVC web site; a free instance of SQL Server Express; a free single user instance of Team Foundation Server Express 11 Beta and run the XS VM instance without serious crashing?

I know there are other Shared WebHost providers that can provide these features for me, but those hosting providers have the following disadvantages:

  1. They sometimes cost a lot of money after all of the "addons" are in place
  2. They probably don't provide the level of security and employee integrity that Microsoft can provide
  3. They don't provide the total control that an Azure VM seems to provide

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While I'm not sure how the minimum requirements will affect installation, there are two facets of XS instances you should be aware of:

  1. The network bandwidth is 5Mbps (vs. 100Mbps * # of cores, for Small through XL). This could be a limiting factor for you. All storage will be in Windows Azure Storage blobs (your data disks), which will be throttled at 5Mbps. Same goes for external Internet access to your website.

  2. With XS you can only have one attached disk (1TB). The number goes up for larger VMs.

More details about Virtual Machines are here.

  • Thanks Mr. Makogon. That’s awesome information. I just want to run an obscure personal website in the cloud, so I think the bandwidth and attached disk limitations are not a limiting factor for me. Do you or anyone else here know if there is some sort of legal restriction that would keep me from running SQL Server Express inside the XS Azure VM? For a hobbyist like me, a single XS VM on Azure seems to be a wonderful and inexpensive playground :-). – Shawn Eary Jul 9 '12 at 4:27

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