Users of Microsoft’s Azure cloud based computing platform will now be charged for using the cloud service from 1st February 2010, the company has announced on the Windows Azure Team Blog.
Due to its nature, Azure service platform has not seen a formal launch, but has been up for trial usage since the company's Professional Developers Conference in 2008.
The Azure service platform is an application platform that offers cloud computing services hosted and run from Microsoft datacenters.
The cloud computing service also offers a virtual ecosystem called Windows Azure that provides developers with an environment in which they can develop, manage and host applications off-premises.
Microsoft has asked Azure's users' to upgrade their Community Technology Preview (CTP) accounts to paid commercial subscription as Microsoft plans to charge Azure users for Windows Azure, SQL Azure and Windows Azure AppFabric services provided to them by the platform.
The company has also announced that "If you upgrade your CTP accounts during the month of January, 2010, all Windows Azure platform usage incurred during this month will be at no charge."
However, the software giant has added that the accounts which don't get updated to paid subscription before 1st February will be "disabled and any Azure Storage will be made read-only."
Azure represents part of Microsoft's complex future. It is still early days for cloud computing but we can't help think that the software giant is a tad late to the party. Amazon was the pioneer and help push cloud computing deep into the hearts and minds of geeks out there. Microsoft is only following for now.