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Microsoft reduces SQL Azure pricing

Microsoft has reduced the pricing for its SQL Azure cloud database service by as much as 75 percent, and has introduced a 100MB database option.The price reductions came about as a result of "customer feedback and evolving usage patterns", Microsoft announced in a Windows Azure blog post on Tuesday.

Microsoft has reduced the pricing for its SQL Azure cloud database service by as much as 75 percent, and has introduced a 100MB database option.

The price reductions came about as a result of "customer feedback and evolving usage patterns", Microsoft announced in a Windows Azure blog post on Tuesday.

"Specifically, two usage patterns have emerged in the last 18 months, " Steven Martin, general manager for Windows Azure business planning, said in the blog post. "First, many projects start small but need to quickly grow in size... Second, many cloud adopters and customers with smaller workloads want an inexpensive option for modest usage."

Price reductions include 75-percent reductions for 25GB and 50GB databases, and a 48-percent reduction for the 5GB option.

Windows Azure has some high-profile customers, including NASA and Transport for London, according to Microsoft case studies. Nevertheless, Microsoft may be playing catch-up for market penetration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), one of its main competitors in the cloud, according to Ovum senior analyst Laurent Laschal.

"A lot of people are interested in Azure, and are playing with it, but when it comes to big deployments, there are a lot less [than Amazon]," said Laschal. "Microsoft Azure doesn't have the momentum AWS has, and Microsoft doesn't have the same aggressive pricing as AWS."

Amazon's comparable product to SQL Azure is the Amazon Relational Database Service.

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