here are some entry level questions after going through the blockchain videos on channel9, these questions might be related to blockchain instead of Azure, but as beginner, it is a bit hard to separate the concepts.
if I have a smart contract deployed on a ethereum blockchain, every time when a block is calculated, it requires computation power from a mining computer, who is paying for the computation? does it mean that the smart contract hosting partner (me) need to pay for the mining company every time a block is generated? I see that VMs are needed to create a workbench, does it mean that the VMs are actually used to run the smart contract and do the calculation to append the block, or it is a random mining computer on the ethereum network running the smart contract and doing the computation appending the block?
I was very closed to register the workbench, but stopped after seeing that the price is 400usd for a month just to host it. but I guess I can just work like 1, 2 hours then pause everything then the resource won't go up to 400, 500usd?
To answer your question about computation power and mining - whoever is hosting a blockchain node that is participating in the blockchain network will need to pay for the compute power. If you deploy a smart contract on a blockchain network, but you do not host a node yourself, you don't need to directly pay for the compute power.
For Workbench - the VMs that you see are running the microservices that are in the Workbench solution. Workbench currently is designed to work with a private Ethereum based blockchain network - this means that someone is hosting a blockchain network, which is NOT a public network. So, either you or someone else will need to host a private blockchain - the VMs that are running the private blockchain network will be doing the block creation. In terms of your cost concerns, you can pause the solution to save costs.