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Microsoft's Azure cloud price pipped by Amazon's Linux

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WPC Microsoft has announced pricing for Azure that marginally undercuts Amazon on raw computing for Windows-based clouds but remains more expensive than the mega book warehouse's Linux option.

The company has said it will charge $0.12 per compute hour for its Windows Azure Compute. Amazon's price for an ondemand Windows instance starts at $0.125.

Amazon's Linux-based service undercuts Windows, with pricing starting at $0.10 per computing hour. Add in storage, and Azure's price will creep up further against Amazon: Azure will charge $0.15 per gigabyte stored versus $0.10 per gigabyte each month from Amazon.

But initially, Azure will undercut Amazon's Linux with a free service: Microsoft threw open Azure to early adopters on Tuesday at its Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Full pricing will kick in when Azure is officially launched as a commercial service at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference in November.

Once live, Azure will begin to layer in the charges. In addition to the basic Windows Azure platform, you'll pay for SQL-based storage, .NET Services for access control and service bus and for the bandwidth that your applications or services consume. Bandwidth will be charged at a rate of $0.10 per gigabyte for traffic in and $0.15 per gigabyte for traffic out.

Meanwhile, Amazon adds a number of its own frills on top of the basic instance-based price. These include reserved instances, elastic IP addresses, and load balancing.

Azure will be sold on a pay-as-you-go consumption model, under subscription, and to organizations on Microsoft's volume licensing contracts.

With your Microsoft price, you'll get a service level agreement of 99.95 per cent up-time for compute and 99.9 per cent for data processing.

The company promised a five-per-cent discount on Windows Azure Compute, SQL Azure, and .NET Services for partners. Also, partners will get services to test applications through their MSDN Premium level subscriptions.

Microsoft said it's making Azure free of charge for three months to help build momentum - the company is, after-all, moving from a standing stop against Amazon and others offering hosted platforms and attracting developers and ISVs. The company told partners the free period would let people build skills and best practices.

Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft's server and tools business said Microsoft is committed to providing features in Windows Server, system server, and Visual Studio so partners can provide cloud-based services and customers can build their own clouds on Windows.

You can compare the Azure and Amazon prices here and here. ®

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