Microsoft to make inbound data transfer free on Windows Azure cloud

Microsoft plans to tweak its Windows Azure pricing, come July 1, to make the platform more attractive to users who want to migrate lots of data to the cloud.

Microsoft plans to tweak its Windows Azure pricing, come July 1, to make the platform more attractive to users who want to migrate lots of data to the cloud.

The change, announced on June 22, also will result in all inbound data transfers for both peak and off-peak times being free, company officials said, via a post to the Windows Azure blog. In the post, Microsoft quotes the Chief Technology of the Press Association, Andrew Dowsett, explaining why he's upbeat about the change:

“Estimating the amount of data we will upload every month is a challenge for us due to the sheer volume of data we generate, the fluctuations of volume month on month and the fact that it grows over time.  Eliminating the cost of inbound data transfer made the project easier to estimate and removes a barrier or uploading as much data as we think we may need.”

Microsoft has made various tweaks to Azure pricing over time. Last fall at the Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft introduced "extra small instances" --a new, lower-priced option for Azure developers, priced at $0.05 per compute hour. That offering was meant to appeal to developers creating and running smaller apps on Azure.

In other Azure-related news, Microsoft recently rolled out the Windows Azure AppFabric June Community Technology Preview (CTP), which includes some of the Azure AppFabric technologies that Microsoft promised at last fall's PDC. The new CTP includes AppFabric Developer Tools, AppFabric Application Manager, The Composition Model set of .Net Framework extensions for composing apps on Azure; and support for Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) on Azure.

Windows Azure AppFabric is part of Microsoft's cloud platform designed to help developers build cloud apps on Azure. It includes AppFabric Caching for accelerating app performance and the AppFabric Service Bus for helping devs deliver data and messages between apps and mobile devices.

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