/>
X
Tech

Microsoft announces its Azure cloud computing pricing

Microsoft reconfirmed today that its cloud computing platform will be commercially available this November and unveiled pricing for its Azure components -- the base operating system, its hosted database and its messaging service.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft reconfirmed today that its cloud computing platform will be commercially available this November and unveiled pricing for its Azure components -- the base operating system, its hosted database and its messaging service.

At the Worldwide Partner Conference on July 14, Microsoft, as expected, announced prices for customers who want to host their apps in Microsoft's and/or Microsoft partners' datacenters. Microsoft also shared more details on its private-cloud positioning during the kick-off keynote at the show on Tuesday.

Here's the Azure pricing, courtesy of the Windows Azure blog:

Windows Azure:

Compute @  $0.12 / hour Storage @ $0.15 / GB stored Storage Transactions @ $0.01 / 10K

SQL Azure:

Web Edition – Up to 1 GB relational database @ $9.99 Business Edition – Up to 10 GB relational database @ $99.99

.NET Services:

Messages @ $0.15/100K message operations , including Service Bus messages and Access Control tokens

Bandwidth across all three services will be charged at $0.10 in / $0.15 out / GB

Microsoft reiterated that Azure will be available via consumption-based pricing. Compute hours will be charged only for when apps are deployed, not during development and testing. Microsoft is advising customers to "remove the compute instances that are not being used to minimize compute hour billing."

Update: Microsoft also spelled out some of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) terms for Azure on July 14 via the Azure blog post. According to that post:

"To support partners’ and customers’ complex business needs we are providing an enterprise-class guarantee backed by a service-level agreement that covers service uptime, connectivity, and data availability.  For compute, we guarantee that when you deploy two or more role instances in different fault and upgrade domains your Internet facing roles will have external connectivity at least 99.95% of the time. Additionally, we will monitor all of your individual role instances and detect within two minutes when a role instance’s process is not running and initiate corrective action.   For storage, we guarantee that at least 99.9% of the time we will successfully process correctly formatted requests that we receive to add, update, read and delete data. We also guarantee that your storage accounts will have connectivity to our Internet gateway. "

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. 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.

Any initial observations on Microsoft's licensing and SLA terms?

Update: The Register has a good analysis of Microsoft vs. Amazon consumption-based pricing which shows Microsoft only marginally undercuts Amazon. I don't think Microsoft is actually offering Azure for free for the next three-plus months, as the Reg says, however. I think Microsoft is just continuing its free tech preview/beta program for its cloud offerings until it takes the "beta" tag off in mid-November.

Roger Jennings, of Oakleaf Systems fame, notes that Azure pricing isn't competitive with Google App Engine for developers because Microsoft doesn't appear to offer a free threshhold.

Editorial standards