Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud computing platform will be commercially available in November, the company said yesterday at its Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans. The company also released details on the pay-per-use pricing for the service, which marks a departure from Microsoft's historic licensing. Here's a roundup of some of the noteworthy analysis and commentary from around the web:
- The New York Times noted Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's focus on endurance. "“We are going to keep the same old Microsoft approach – long-term, tenacious and partner-centric," Ballmer said. "We don’t go home. We just keep coming and coming and coming. Tenacious, tenacious, tenacious."
- Venture Beat: "During the presentations I’ve attended and conversations I’ve had with Microsoft about Azure, one of the big emphases has been on Microsoft’s reputation with bigger companies, who might hesitate before moving their data or applications onto, say, Amazon’s cloud infrastructure," writes Anthony Ha.
- TechCrunch outlines the pricing particulars: "Microsoft says that Azure will be offered for purchase through a consumption-based pricing model and will try to continue to offer promotional discounts to enterprise customers. Pricing for Azure’s OS is $0.12 cents an hour for computing and $0.15 cents per Gigabyte per month for storage. SQL Azure will offer a basic $9.99 per month plan and a $99.99 business edition, which has a database capacity of up to ten gigabytes."
- ECommerce Times focuses on pricing, with analysis from Rob Sanfilippo from Directions on Microsoft. "Microsoft won't be drastically cheaper, nor more expensive than other solutions in the space, but Azure will offer a much broader set of technologies for Windows-based cloud computing," Sanfilippo says.
- Detailed analyses of how Azure's pricing compares head-to-head against Amazon Web Services are offered by The Register, Information Week and Heikiemi Hardcoded.
- Mary Jo Foley notes the 99.95 percent uptime guarantee in the Azure SLA, and discusses Microsoft's approach to potential tension points with partners. "Microsoft is trying to make sure its reseller partners don’t feel cut out of its Azure equation, even though Microsoft is doing much of the hosting," Mary jo writes. "Microsoft is providing its partners with an additional five percent promotional discount on Windows Azure compute, SQL Azure and .NET Services, officials told WPC attendees."
- The Windows Azure blog notes that additional pricing refinements lie ahead. "While consumption based pricing provides great flexibility we have also heard it introduces a level of unpredictability and some customers prefer other options," the Azure team writes. "At launch we will share details of subscription offers that provide payment predictability and price discounts that reflect levels of usage commitment."
- There will be no private Azure clouds, Muglia told Cnet. "Windows Azure obviously runs in our own data center," he said. "It is very much restricted. It only needs to run the hardware that we are trying to run on. It's not really appropriate for us to deliver it to customers in that form."