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According to pricing details on the Microsoft Windows Azure website, compute hours cost 12 cents each, but what are they?

  • 5
    It probably means per computer, per hour. So running on 1 computer, it's 12 cents/hour, but running on 2 computers it's 24 cents/hour, etc. But this isn't programming related.
    – Chris Lutz
    Oct 21, 2009 at 0:25
  • Actually, I believe it is related to actual CPU time. Oct 21, 2009 at 0:29
  • So, if it uses 0% CPU for 24 hours on one CPU, that would be 24 compute hours. I was hoping it'd be closer to zero compute hours...
    – mackenir
    Oct 21, 2009 at 0:29
  • (that was @Chris btw. I'm hoping @BobbyShaftoe is right)
    – mackenir
    Oct 21, 2009 at 0:31
  • 1
    I cant believe google spidered this question in the few minutes it was on SO, and it's now the top result for "azure compute hour cpu time" :)
    – mackenir
    Oct 21, 2009 at 0:39

4 Answers 4


This is the time that your process (Hosted by Azure) is loaded and executing. Your charges are calculated by a combination of Compute Hour and bandwidth used.

I see that someone is trying to close this Question. I think this is a fair question for stackoverflow, it's on the edge of being a programming question (Azure compute is an environment very relevant to programming) and doesn't fit nicely anywhere else.

  • So, this would seem to make Azure pretty expensive for just playing around on - a minimum charge of about $1000 pa.
    – mackenir
    Oct 21, 2009 at 0:34
  • Thanks, Tim J. I'm marking your answer as the answer, because you answered the question in the form of an actual 'answer' ;). So, Azure would indeed cost at least 87 dollars per month just to host an application, with bandwidth costs etc on top.
    – mackenir
    Oct 21, 2009 at 7:19
  • These days there is a $0.02 (two cents) per hour option for Web Roles/Worker Roles ("Cloud Services"), plus a 90 free day trial with all sorts of services (identity, storage, messaging, mobile, media, and more), plus Windows Azure Web Sites with a free tier... Jan 17, 2013 at 15:17

Just to give a definitive response (I work on the Windows Azure team), Chris Lutz's answer is absolutely correct.

  • Thanks Steve. Good to hear it straight from the horses mouth. I use this comment as confirmation for the answer below.
    – mackenir
    Oct 21, 2009 at 7:20
  • ...or indeed above.
    – mackenir
    Oct 21, 2009 at 12:50

I'd like to note that there are Virtual Machines with different number of CPU Cores. To say, if you have a CPU with 4 cores, your compute hour will cost 4*0,12 = 0.48$


To elaborate on Chris Lutz's Definition/Explanation.

The charge is based on a Web, CGI, or Service Role running within Windows Azure with a single Instance executing. As long as something is posted to the role, whatever it is, even if not "live" and set to "run" it is still using compute, and thus being charged.

The math goes like this.

1x Role (Web, CGI, or Worker) with a single instance set == an hourly charge no matter what it is doing in the cloud. If it is deployed and not running, it still accrues a charge.

If a Role has 2x Instances running, then each of those instances is included as compute. So if a Web Role is up and deployed in the cloud (again, running or not) with 2x instances set, then that is effectively 2 hours of compute.

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