Windows Azure charging kicks-off

UK/European companies using Microsoft’s Windows Azure Cloud computing services platform for application development must start paying for the privilege - or risk their accounts and stored data being deleted, said the company.

Subscriptions to Azure switched into commercial mode at midnight on 1 February 2010 after a month of free usage designed to let developers’ trial the pay as you go platform as a service (PaaS).

Windows Azure provides the operating system which allows developers to build, store, run, and manage their own cloud computing applications and services on virtual servers in Microsoft data centres. It is similar to Amazon’s Web services but also competes with PaaS offerings from IBM, Cisco, EMC VMWare, Rackspace and others.

From 2 February, Azure will cost 12 cents (approximately 7.2p) per hour’s usage or processing and other resources, with storage priced at 15 cents (9.1p) per Gb of data per month. Additional charges based on the number of transactions, applications built on .NET services and use of the SQL Azure database also apply.

Microsoft has not yet revealed how many developers have signed up to use Azure, either on a free or commercial subscription, but says it will release details of high-profile customer wins over the course of the year.

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