I just spent 1 month to test the feasibility of Ethereum mining with 2 Microsoft Azure Ubuntu VMs (with the free trial credits), and here’s the result.
Initially I have HK$1,600 (around US$200) free credits in my Azure account, which triggers my mind: “Can I mine something meaningful with these credits?”
Therefore I went to Azure Portal and start creating 2 Ubuntu instances. Since I’m using Free Trial, types of VM instances are limited. I chose 2 different sizes of VM to have control tests & to compare the effectiveness.
VM Specifications & Setup
The first VM (I named it as ETH1) is with size Standard DS2 v2 (2 vcpus, 7 GB memory) located in East US node. The CPU information obtained by Ubuntu is 2 Intel Xeon E5–2673 @ 2.4GHz.
The second more powerful VM (I named it as ETH2) is with size Standard D4s v3 (4 vcpus, 16 GB memory) located in East Asia node.
The initial SSD (don’t choose HDD, as the I/O rate is too low) size is too small for storing the full blockchain. It’s recommended to extend to around 500GB.
By default the VM does not have any swap file. You can also create a 2 ~ 4GB swap file in order to avoid out of memory errors.
I installed Geth toolkit v1.7.3-stable in both Ubuntu machines and start syncing. ETH1 took around 10 days to complete syncing the blockchain using fast sync mode, while ETH2 only took 2 days to complete syncing. Since there is no mining work done during blockchain synchronization, the resources spent are literally wasted.
On Day 20, I learnt that I can import the blockchain from others in order to speed up the synchronization process, but it’s too late for me to realize that. If you want to speed up the process, please go ahead and download my full blockchain (which is synced up to Feb 7, 2018, block #5045015) here. Download the file, copy to your machine and import the file using geth import <filename>.
So you may wonder what is the result.
Mining hash rate of ETH1 is around 640H/s
Mining hash rate of ETH2 is around 100,000H/s
There is a huge difference in terms of performance. And here’s the resource utilization charts:
During mining, network usage and disk I/O are not very significant, while CPU usage holds around 85%. The pattern is almost the same as the less-powerful ETH1.
So, what’s my earnings?
When I check my balance at Day 30, it’s still ZERO ETH; that means I could not mine anything useful when my current computation power. That’s reasonable, as CPU mining is much less powerful than GPU mining, which is not available in Free Trial plan. If I use their GPU mining virtual machines, the result will be more promising.
If you have any questions about this report, or about Ethereum mining experiments, please feel free to contact me.