Windows Azure Prepping for Launch
Even a month ago, I’d have bet money against it, but it looks like Microsoft is going to have Windows Azure ready for paying customers by a target release date of February 1, 2010. Here’s a quick rundown of what you should know as the date draws near.
To recap, Windows Azure is Microsoft’s Windows-based cloud platform. Microsoft has spent recent months recruiting closed source and open source ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) to Azure. At the same time, Microsoft is educating channel partners about how to deploy customer applications in the Azure cloud.
- If you’re already participating in the Azure preview, Microsoft’s trying to get you to upgrade to a paid account with both the stick and the carrot: commit to a paid subscription now, and they’ll let you see details on your full usage for the month of January to help project costs; but if you don’t pay up, they’re going to make all your information read-only on February 1 and delete it entirely on the first of March.
- In that same blog entry, Microsoft announced a new pricing scheme for AppFabric, their platform for connecting on-premise applications to the cloud: “Service Bus will now be priced at $3.99 per Connection-month, and Access Control will be $1.99 per 100,000 Transactions.”
- Finally, those developers and resellers leveraging Windows Azure will be able to look forward to new builds on a semi-regular basis. This is a case of Microsoft playing against type — one might expect them to release 10 different flavors of Azure and update each one once every five years. But in the age of cloud computing, Microsoft will be delivering one constantly-updated Azure version.
Will Windows Azure be on the leading edge of a new age of cloud computing, or will it be roundly ignored by resellers, developers, and the IT community at large? Personally, I’m betting on Skynet. But The VAR Guy himself seems pretty bullish on Azure because of its growing ISV base.
Keep an eye on The VAR Guy for more as Azure nears its release date.