Today I attended a one day class on the basics of Microsoft Azure. This is the cloud computing platform from Microsoft. Normally the course retails for $690. There was some agreement between Microsoft and the training company where I would not have to pay any money to attend the class. I like that price.
One subtlety that I think I picked up on was the true meaning of a private cloud. I previously thought that meant you have all the servers on your own premises. This is not necessarily true. The real meaning of private in this context is that nobody but you has access to these cloud objects. The machines they run on are 100% dedicated to you and you alone. The machines might be physically located in your building. But they could also be hosted by a cloud provider.
I was also surprised at the costs involved. Sure, Microsoft will take care of all the hardware, networking, patching, and so on. But I used their calculator to estimate the cost of a normal virtual machine. Would run me about $750 a month. Ouch. I think if I were counting costs, I might just want to buy a physical machine and handle the patches myself.
Some things about Azure were encouraging. It was really easy to spin up a virtual machine. You could also put together a server running SQL Server with a minimal amount of clicks. Just know that you will be paying a lot for these things. I hope I can get a free Azure account and play around with some of these configurations without incurring any real costs.
Free Laundry - Apparently a lot of apartment buildings have coin operated laundry machines in the basement. And guess what? You can order a key to unlock the payment mec...