Here are some preliminary results of how long it takes to upload and run 10000 iterations of a cat model under various worker role configurations
Extra Large with 8 cores took 26s
Large with 4 cores took 34s
Medium with 2 cores took 49s
Small with 1 core took 82s
For comparison here are some run times on a D20 desktop
VB.NET on a D20 compiled with VS2010 running on 1 thread took 104s
F90 on a D20 compiled with Intel running on 1 thread took 162s
C++ on a D20 compiled with Intel with optimization on 1 thread took 58 s
The time needed to upload exposure and events took about 100s Within the cloud it took about 1s to download from blob storage
The initial flat file text files had the following sizes and number of points
Exposure file 7.3MB 385560 Points
Event Catalogue 4.8MB 194510 Events
To reduce the run times we reduced the number of events from 194510 to 10000. So this means the actual run times are 20 times longer.
I have not received the bill for these tests but I think it is probably quite cheap. I think there is a lot to be said for cloud computing because I only had to worry about my code, the infrastructure was completely abstracted away. In fact setting up a new node takes about 8 minutes with a very friendly billing terms that you pay only for the time that the role is active.