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Microsoft announce “Azure” services platform at PDC – no hard pricing yet

Microsoft’s big Cloud announcement finally came out yesterday at PDC: the “Windows Azure” services platform:

“The Azure™ Services Platform (Azure) is an internet-scale cloud services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers, which provides an operating system and a set of developer services that can be used individually or together.

More info at What is the Azure Services Platform?

Also, take a look at the section on Pricing and Licensing: no hard pricing is available yet as this announcement is just for the CTP – planning to go into production in H2 2009.

Given the pricing competition from Amazon EC2 and other players on a spending spree like Rackspace this is going to get pretty darwinian pretty quickly. However, this is good for everybody (except perhaps Microsoft $hareholder$ who were expecting monopoly revenues forever!) – there are far fewer opportunities for vendor platform lock-in in the frictionless cloud: Microsoft can reinvent their revenue model around the stuff which delivers the most *real* value – which will be .NET from now on – but I don’t think we’ll be seeing >90% market share any time soon. 😉

“The Azure™ Services Platform business model is aligned around four basic principles. These are:

* Consumption-based model
* Pricing attractive with the market
* Market expansion opportunity for Microsoft partners
* Easy access through the Web, or through existing channels and programs

Consumption is based upon:

” * Compute time, measured in machine hours
* Bandwidth requirements (transmissions to and from the Azure data center), measured in GB
* Storage, measured in GB
* Transactions, measured as application requests such as Gets and Puts

If you dive a bit deeper into the FAQs, you can see the production schedule:

” * Availability Timeframe – H2 2009
o Acquire directly through the Microsoft Online Customer Portal
o Acquire though ISVs (independent software vendors): purchase an ISV application which utilizes the Azure Services Platform, and pay the ISV through their own licensing and pricing model”

Intergen’s Chris Auld is blogging the PDC – see his take on the Azure announcements here.

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