Windows Azure Cloud Computing Service: Release Date And Pricing Details

Microsoft has shared details on how much it will charge companies that want to use its Windows Azure cloud computing service – which will compete with the likes of Amazon WS and Force.com – when it is released in final form later this Fall. Redmond announced a couple of plans, including one that charges purely on consumption and another that offers discounted rates for those that agree to a 6-month commitment.

The cloud operating system isn’t launching in final form until Microsoft’s upcoming Professional Developer Conference (November 2009), but an executive apparently had informed CNET that the pricing announcement would be made at this week’s Worldwide Partner Conference, which is taking place in New Orleans.

Microsoft said it will charge 12 cents per hour for computing, 15 cents per gigabyte for storage and 10 cents per 10,000 storage transactions. For network bandwidth, the software maker is charging between 10 cents and 15 cents per gigabyte. The discount plan comes in two forms and offers a 15 percent to 30 percent discount off the consumption charges. It requires a six-month commitment, with overage charges billed at the regular rates. After six months, the pricing reverts to the standard Azure rates.

Microsoft also announced pricing for its SQL Azure database, charging $9.99 for the basic Web edition, including up to a 1GB relational database and $99.99 for the Business Edition, which includes up to a 10GB database.

The software maker said it would promise 99.95 percent reliability for its compute and connectivity and 99.9 percent for role instance and storage. Ultimately, though, Ray Ozzie has said that trust will play a big role in which company businesses are willing to choose to host their applications.

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