Microsoft Rolls out Windows Azure For Paid Customers

Microsoft has announced that the its Azure cloud based computing platform will now be commercially available in 21 countries across the world after being available for free for a month.

The announcement was made by Microsoft on the Azure Team Blog, which went on to explain the features offered by the cloud computing platform including computing, storage, hosting and management capabilities.

Windows Azure was unveiled in October 2008 by Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, as an application platform in the cloud which allows applications to be hosted and run at Microsoft datacenters.

The Redmond based company first released the cloud computing platform on a free-to-use basis in order to allow its customers to familiarize with the user interface before subscribing it on a pay-as-you-go basis.

In the blog post, Microsoft said that CTP token bearers in the US, UK and other European regions will start to pay for the service whereas users in countries including Australia and Brazil will retain free usage until April 2010.

However, the blog post also contained a warning for those who continue to run their operations on the cloud platform without paying as Microsoft said that “Customers who have not yet upgraded their Windows Azure CTP accounts will have their service disabled and any Windows Azure Storage will be made read-only.”

Our Comments

Microsoft offered Community Technology Preview tokens to those who had registered themselves for the free preview. Azure will be facing some tough competition out there. Google and Amazon are already ahead of it for now with others like Oracle, Salesforce and IBM keeping a close eye on the SaaS sector.

Related Links

Microsoft Windows Azure cloud reaches general availability stage

(SF Gate)

Windows Azure moves into paid mode

(ZD Net)

Windows Azure finally ready for customers

(CNET)

Microsoft's Azure cloud is officially open for business

(ZD Net Blog)