There have been a lot of announcements here at TechEd North America 2013. It's clear that Microsoft is cloud-enabling all of their new tools, from Windows Server to SCCM, but what about those people who aren't familiar with Azure and how it works?
Today Microsoft announced that they've changed not only their pricing model, but also the terms of their free trial. Previously, Microsoft offered a three month trial of 750 hours of compute time - or roughly $70 worth of credits. Now, Microsoft is reducing the trial down to only a month, but is offering $200 worth of credits. This gives potential customers a lot more flexibility by allowing them to create a lot of basic virtual machines, a smaller number of virtual machines that use a lot of media and storage, or something in between. The trial also allows you to run SQL Server or BizTalk instances as well.
Not only did the demo period change, but Microsoft also made changes to their overall pricing model. First of all, if you power off your VM, you are no longer charged, whereas before today you had to actually delete the machine. Second, Microsoft now charges by the minute as opposed to rounding up to the nearest hour. And third, if you have an MSDN subscription, you automatically get service credits ranging from $50 to $150, depending on the tier of your subscription.
It's clear that Microsoft is pushing Azure as your go-to cloud solution. Will the admins listen?