Microsoft Releases Details Of Azure Cloud Computing Platform

Microsoft has today unveiled more details of Azure, its cloud computing platform that was announced back at the Professional Developers Conference in 2008 and is set to debut in November during PDC 2009 in Europe, US and Singapore.

The software giant revealed the service level agreement (SLA) details as well as the cost of the Azure (formerly known as Strata) cloud platform. The platform is made up of three different components; Windows Azure, SQL Azure and .Net Services which bring everything together.

Customers will be able to switch between three different pay methods; either Pay as you go, subscription or volume licensing similar to Microsoft's existing enterprise structure.

They will be charged $0.12 per compute hour, $0.15 per GB per month and a commission fee of $0.01 per 10,000 transaction (or $1 per million). That corresponds to the sevice charge, storage charges and incoming/outgoing data charges.

Furthermore, SQL Azure will be available in two versions: Web and Business with the former costing $9.99 per month for 1GB while the Business edition will be charged at $99.99 per month for 10GB.

Microsoft also detailed the service level agreements for each part. Customers will get 10 percent SLA credit if the compute component is down for more than 0.05 percent per month, ditto for storage but for 0.1 percent downtime or more. A 25 percent SLA credit will be given if uptime is less than 99 percent per month. That's equivalent to nearly half a day of downtime per month.

Mark Taylor, director of developer and platform evangelism, said that "In the first half of the next calendar year, we are going to talk about international availability - about additional data centres and about additional countries that Azure will be available in."

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Our Comments

Azure was officially presented by Microsoft Chief Software Architect, Ray Ozzie, back in October 2008. He said then that Azure is meant to change Microsoft in the same was as Internet Explorer did with Windows 95 almost 15 years ago.

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