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2008: Decision Year for RIAs - October 20-22, 2008 San Jose


Microsoft Prices Azure
Microsoft's Amazon-like Azure public cloud is four months away from going live

Microsoft's Amazon-like Azure public cloud is four months away from going live.

The company confirmed Tuesday the widely held supposition that Azure would go commercial at its Professional Developers Conference in mid-November.

Microsoft also deigned to start explaining what it's going to cost developers to use it after November 17. Until then the technical preview will continue to be free to all comers.

Azure will be available on a consumption basis, a subscription basis, and as volume licenses integrated into existing agreements with Microsoft.

Microsoft's not ready with the subscription prices that are meant to offer predictable costs or the price discounts that it'll trade for usage commitment but as a basic utility Azure will run 12 cents an hour for the computer infrastructure; 15 cents a gigabyte for the storage; and one cent for every 10,000 storage transactions.

Use of its cloud database, now called SQL Azure, will run $9.99 for a 1GB-capacity Web Edition and $99.99 for a 10BG-capacity Business Edition.

.NET Services tools for creating cloud-based apps will cost 15 cents per 100,000 message operations and that's with the widgetry's Service Bus messages and Access Control tokens.

All bandwidth will cost 10 cents a gigabyte for in-coming data and 15 cents a gigabyte for out-going data.

Storage and bandwidth costs will be calculated every month.

The numbers are close to Amazon's pricing, maybe a tad cheaper than Amazon using Windows and more expensive than Amazon using Linux, but as convoluted.

There will be Service-level Agreements covering service uptime, connectivity and data availability.

For compute, Microsoft says it's willing to guarantee external connectivity of 99.95% when two or more role instances are deployed in different fault and upgrade domains. It says it will monitor all individual role instances and detect in two minutes when a role instance's process isn't running and initiate corrective action.

For storage, it will guarantee 99.9% uptime and process correctly formatted requests to add, update, read and delete data. It will also guarantee that storage accounts have connectivity to Azure's Internet gateway.

Third parties that belong to the Microsoft Partner Network are supposed to get an additional 5% promotional discount on Azure compute, SQL Azure and .NET Services.

There will be a Development Accelerator promotional offer for partners and customers who want to quickly develop and deploy applications with dynamic scaling, predictable pricing and discounts of 15%-30%.

Microsoft won't have any local pricing until November but it intends for Azure to be available at launch in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the United States.

Round about next March it will expand to Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Singapore and Taiwan. Other countries will follow.

It looks like the big 303,000-square-foot data center Microsoft opened July 1 in Dublin will service Europe

See http://blogs.msdn.com/windowsazure/.

About Maureen O'Gara
Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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