Using the Vertica on Azure Free Trial

Posted February 15, 2017 by Chris

In August of last year, we announced support for Vertica in the Microsoft Azure Cloud environment. This includes a fully automated cluster deployment from the Azure Marketplace (which can be found here) and also includes our free Community Edition license. Microsoft, like many other public Cloud providers, offers a free trial subscription for users that are interested in trying their environment and exploring the possibilities.

In this post I will explain how to best navigate the Azure Free Trial Subscription process, and the full capabilities of Vertica in Azure.

Microsoft’s free trial subscription for Azure

By visiting Microsoft’s Azure web site, you can apply for a free trial subscription here. This subscription provides a $200 (USD) credit to be used over 30 days for any of the Microsoft owned services or free solutions in their marketplace. All you need to provide is a phone number, a credit card, and a Microsoft Account username (formerly Windows Live ID). Microsoft has provided a great FAQ page for the free trial subscription that you can read here.

Each Azure subscription is limited by the quota it is authorized to use. Quota covers all things within the Azure environment, and it is how Microsoft maintains its projection of future data center utilization. For most subscriptions, quota is not a big issue, as you can easily increase your quota by simply requesting an increase via the Support Ticket system for the Azure portal itself. This process is fairly quick—24-48 hours depending on the request (large increases take longer, as they have to be approved). However, Microsoft has defined the free trial subscription so that it is not eligible for a quota increase, and the quota that is allowed is not large enough to effectively deploy the Vertica marketplace solution — a full list of the subscription limits can be found here. The free trial subscription is limits deployments to 4 virtual CPUs (vCPUs) total. And while possible, a virtual machine (VM) with only 4 vCPUs is not a great platform for exploring Vertica. In fact, the available VMs with only 4 vCPUs or less have small memory foot prints, making them even less suitable for use with Vertica. Because you cannot increase the quota for a free trial subscription, customers that want to explore Vertica in Azure you will need to take a few extra steps.

Making it all work

Your best option is to upgrade your free subscription to a pay as you go one—Microsoft describes the process here. This tells Microsoft that you are authorizing them to charge the credit card you have already provided to them on a monthly basis to cover the expenses incurred on your subscription. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Wait a minute, this is supposed to be free!” So before you close this browser page in disgust, let me tell you how it’s still free. When you upgrade a Free Trial subscription to a Pay-As-You-Go subscription, all the benefits left over from your Free Trial, such as the 30-day limit and $200 credit will continue, until one of them is exhausted. Only after you consume the $200 credit or exceed the 30-day limit does the subscription upgrade happen.

Best of all, once you click the upgrade button, your Azure quota is instantly raised to 10 vCPUs, allowing you to deploy a single node Vertica solution. You can immediately request a quota increase for your subscription to be able to test out larger VMs, and multiple node solutions. All of this can be done for free as long as you stay mindful of the amount of money you are consuming, and don’t exceed the $200 credit or the 30-day limit.

Increasing Your Quota

Once you have upgraded your subscription to pay as you go, increasing your quota is easy. Start by opening a support ticket from the Azure portal:

  1. From the Help drop-down menu, click New support request.
  2. Select the Issue Type as Quota, and Quota type as Cores.
  3. Set the following fields in the Support Ticket:
    a. Deployment Mode: Resource Manager
    b. Location: Choose for the region you would like the quote increased in
    c. SKU Family: This is VM Type, and the Vertica Marketplace solution uses DSv2 instances, but you can select multiple types in this drop down
    d. New quota (Cores): The number of cores you would like to be able to allocate (i.e. if you want to deploy a 3 node cluster, and each node has 8 cores, you would request 24 cores).
  4. Provide the Azure support team with some contact information for the support staff to communicate with you about your request.

Final thoughts

With the Azure Cloud environment, Microsoft has provided a compelling and cost-effective way to move workloads that were once only considered for on-premises deployments into the Microsoft cloud service. Vertica has recognized that many companies, and individuals are exploring cloud computing as a way to decrease their overall costs for running their solutions, or are exploring new tools. As such, we are committed to offering customers the best cloud computing experience for Vertica possible, while staying mindful of factors like cost, and easy of deployment.