The major topic at this year’s Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans was Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing OS. It is clear that Microsoft is shifting a majority of resources to support cloud computing.
Strategically highly important to Microsoft, Azure is however still in its infancy. At the conference Microsoft announced the first pricing details with a pay-as-you-go model, becoming valid from November 2009 on.
Unfortunately it left a number of open questions, in particular around predictability for ISVs and subsequently their end-customers. Many issues arise from the fact that the announced model is based on computing hour, web traffic, storage and usage of .NET services.
Above all, this leaves ISVs with a challenging job of finding a predictable pricing model for their customers. The pay-as-you-go model is only relevant to a few peak-performance applications where pay-as-you-go represents a monetary advantage over needing to have computing and storage resources at ones disposal for rarely used applications.
Microsoft is working on subscription-based pricing models but these are not likely to be available before late 2010. This surely will hold back partners and ISVs from quickly adopting Azure.
Microsoft needs to move fast to work out a smart model for a more predictable pricing of cloud applications in order to become the number one choice for ISV partners migrating their apps into the cloud.