Microsoft has announced pricing for its hosted Windows Azure cloud computing application platform. Microsoft in its Windows Azure Team Blog is urging Azure Community Technology Preview (CTP) users to upgrade to the commercial versions by Feb. 1.
Windows Azure is priced at 12 cents per hour for a small compute instance, and 15 cents per gigabyte of storage per month. Storage transactions are priced at 1 cent per 10,000 storage transactions. Microsoft has published its full pricing for Azure on the Azure Team blog.
Transition Incentives Offered
As an incentive to buy the commercial version, Microsoft says users upgrading their accounts in January will not be charged for all Azure platform usage incurred during the same month.
Users who choose not to upgrade their accounts will be given limited access to the products for a short time before the accounts are deleted, according to the blog posting. Microsoft will disable the CTP accounts of users who don't upgrade and will make read-only any Windows Azure Storage. SQL Azure CTP users will not be able to create new databases, although they will be able to keep using their existing databases until March 1 when the SQL Azure CTP accounts will be deleted. The Azure platform AppFabric namespaces will also be disabled. Finally, on April 1, the Azure Storage CTP accounts and Azure platform AppFabric namespaces that have not been upgraded will be deleted.
Simpler Pricing for AppFabric
Microsoft also says that based on feedback from the CTP users, it has "made the pricing simpler and more predictable" for its AppFabric product, which helps developers connect cloud and on-premises applications. Service Bus will now be priced at $3.99 per Connection-month, and Access Control will be $1.99 per 100,000 Transactions, according to the blog.
The blog-based announcement of the commercial version of Microsoft's hosted platform follows the unveiling of the CTP version at Microsoft PDC in October 2008. Then, it drew criticism from some industry watcher for coming late to the cloud computing market, which has been served by Amazon's EC2 since 2006. In March 2009, Azure suffered a 22-hour outage to the Quincy, Wash., data center that houses the Azure Dell servers.