I’ve been running a Minecraft server on my local machine for a while, but only turning it on when I’m using it. I’m going on vacation soon and I thought it would be fun to set one up in Windows Azure instead. In addition to the fun of setting it up, it would allow me to play while I’m gone without having to leave my desktop on at home or copying the world to my laptop for trip and then copying it back when I return.
Anyway, now that Azure has IaaS support, setting up the server was really easy. I found a great video tutorial that describes the process in-depth. I didn’t think it would be that easy because of how Minecraft just stores the world locally. But you can just mount a drive in your VM that is backed by your storage account and it will persist automatically.
I found that an extra small instance worked fine for a couple people on a small world. But I’m guessing you’d want to move up to a small instance if you had any real load. Another thing I learned is that Azure supports sparse storage of drives. I set up a 10 GB data drive for the world, but the world is actually much smaller than that. When I looked at my bill, it showed less than 1 GB in usage.