Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Virtual Networks provides the ability to securely extend the network perimeter of our data center into the Windows Azure cloud platform for many useful scenarios – backup, disaster recovery, accelerated cloud storage, dev/test/pilot, remote access, Internet applications … and MORE!
Windows Azure provides a Pay-As-You-Go cost model, so that you cost effectively pay for just the compute, storage and network resources you need – when you need them. Virtual Machines start at an “Extra Small” size ( 1GHz CPU, 768MB RAM ) and can be scaled up to larger CPU and memory sizes as needed. Extra Small VMs cost just $ 0.013 USD per compute hour – That’s right! Just 1.3 cents per hour or $9.36 USD per month for an Extra Small VM running continuously 24x7.
Can you run a server inside your data center for less than $10 per month? Nope!
Best of all, you can try this all out for FREE with a Windows Azure 90-Day Free Subscription.
Great question! That where Windows Server 2012 Server Core enters our scenario. Server Core provides a super-efficient Windows Server core operating system without the extra requirements of a GUI interface and GUI management tools. It uses approximately 4GB less disk space and historically has about 45% less patches required due to this smaller OS footprint. Server Core also runs comfortably in less that 512MB RAM.
In addition, Windows Server 2012 gives us the added capabilities to run many more roles and features in Server Core install mode than prior versions of Windows Server and allows us to uninstall the Server GUI post-install and scale down to a Server Core footprint.
Yep! This means you can initially provision your Windows Server 2012 server just how you’d like it using the full Server GUI and, once everything is fully configured, uninstall the GUI and reduce your footprint down to Server Core. If you running Windows Server 2012 Server Core in a VM on Windows Azure, it also means you can scale back to the Extra Small VM size we mentioned above.
Lots! Many IT Pros already take the approach of isolating separate Windows Server roles into different VMs to make management and upgrades easier. If you’re using this approach, then you can experience great results on Windows Azure with Extra Small VMs with various server roles such as:
NOTE: Prior to moving to the Extra Small VM size, be sure to check your memory requirements in Task Manager on Server Core to make sure it will comfortably fit in 768MB RAM.
First, you’ll need to build a VM on Windows Azure using Windows Server 2012 with GUI. For a Step-by-Step walkthrough on how to do this, check out the link below
Once your VM is up and running, follow these steps to configure Windows Server 2012 running inside your VM for Server Core and move to an Extra Small VM size on Windows Azure.
Start this exercise after establishing a Remote Desktop connection to your Windows Azure VM and logging in as Administrator.
In addition to the above scenario, also check out our growing list of free Cloud Lab scenarios for additional step-by-step Lab Guides.
I look forward to seeing you in the Clouds!
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Keith Mayer is a Senior Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 20 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT Pros worldwide on design of enterprise technology solutions.
Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including Private Cloud, System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from VMware, IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.
You can contact Keith online at http://aka.ms/AskKeith.