17th September 2018
Many application workloads run for most of the time using a small fraction of the available CPU capacity, but in certain situations of heavy load, they need spike to a very high level of computing power. Until recently there were only two ways to deal with this: either over-invest in capacity for those few occasions when you need full power, or just accept that response times will be poor under high load. Fortunately, this is no longer the case.
Burstable virtual machines (Azure B-series VMs) present a significantly cheaper option compared to standard (or recommended) virtual machines, like an Azure Standard_DS2_V2 VM for example.
The B-series VMs are ideal for workloads that do not need the full performance of the CPU continuously, like web servers, small databases and are especially suited for Dev and Test environments. These workloads typically have burstable performance requirements. The B-series provides you with the ability to purchase a VM size with ‘baseline’ performance and the VM instance builds up credits when it is using less than its baseline. When the VM has accumulated credit, the VM can burst above the baseline using up to 100% of the vCPU when your application requires higher CPU performance.
For example, consider a small web server in the graphic below. During peak hours (evenings and lunchtimes) the web server is under CPU stress to deliver content to the users but only for a short amount of time. With a B-Series VM, the server can take advantage of cheaper compute prices most of the time and ‘burst’ the CPU power for the infrequent times it needs to – meaning you save money overall.
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