Home Cloud Computing Microsoft updates Azure, adjusts prices

Microsoft updates Azure, adjusts prices

Microsoft has rolled out a number of changes to its Windows Azure platform, including a "truly free" 90-day trial plus new price caps on large databases.

Windows Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform, has been updated technically and commercially.

On the technical side, a new version of the Azure SDK supports Node.js, an open-source system for using JavaScript for server-side programming. Node is said to be good for developing event-driven, low-latency, concurrent applications.

Also new - though initially only as a limited preview - is an Apache Hadoop based service. Hadoop is a framework for the distributed processing of large data sets, and is used by many well-known companies including Adobe, eBay, Facebook, IBM, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yahoo.

Microsoft officials also noted a number of usability and functional enhancements to Azure's Java capabilities.

The Azure libraries for .NET, Java and Node are available under the Apache 2 open source licence.

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While the maximum database size for SQL Azure has been raised from 50GB to 150GB, the maximum charge per database per month is capped at $US499.95. This means users can expand 50GB databases without additional cost.

Data transfer prices have been reduced from $US0.15 to $US0.12 per gigabyte in the US and Europe, and from $US0.20 to $US0.19 in Asia Pacific. Service Bus usage will be billed on the basis of relay hours and message operations from April 1, 2012, not connections.

Also new on the pricing front are the introduction of "a truly free 90-day trial period" with spending caps to prevent over-quota charges.

Other changes include SQL Azure Federations to simplify adding or removing database nodes in response to fluctuating demand, and a new-look management portal with a Metro-style user interface.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.