Today marks the next major release of Windows Azure, the General Availability (GA) of the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offering where customers can host virtual machines in the Windows Azure Cloud.  Also included in today’s GA is the Virtual Networking component of Windows Azure that lets you extend your existing network to Windows Azure. 

For the many of you who have recently attended one of my IT Camp or IT Lab events and chose to run the Windows Azure IaaS Lab, you are now ahead of the game and ready for what this dynamic cloud service has to offer. 

Not familiar with Windows Azure? (or thought it was only for developers…)  Check out the Windows Azure IaaS Series at http://aka.ms/IaaSSeries.  This 31-day series was written by myself and my peer IT Pro Evangelists and gives the reader a wealth of information on the many capabilities of Windows Azure IaaS.

Interested in trying out Windows Azure?  Sign up for a FREE 90-Day Trial today!

The full details of today’s announcements can be found on Scott Guthrie’s Blog at http://weblogs.asp.net/scottgu/archive/2013/04/16/windows-azure-general-availability-of-infrastructure-as-a-service-iaas.aspx 

For those of you who haven’t seen the email to those of us who are already Windows Azure customers, the contents of the email can be found below.

Enjoy!

 

Dear Customer,

Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Virtual Network now are generally available. We have new prices for Virtual Machines, Virtual Network, and Cloud Services.

Today is a major milestone for Windows Azure and all of our customers and partners. We are excited to announce that Windows Azure Virtual Machines and Windows Azure Virtual Network now are generally available. We also want to update you on new prices for Virtual Machines, Virtual Network, and Cloud Services.
Virtual Machines and Virtual Network help you meet changing business needs by providing on-demand, scalable infrastructure. These infrastructure services enable you to extend your data centers and workloads into the cloud while using your existing skills and investments. With these services, you can:

Provision Microsoft SharePoint farms in minutes without up-front hardware investments. Integrate full-trust code to run rich apps and provide Internet-facing collaboration sites.

Prototype your newest app or extend data marts into the cloud using Virtual Machines as a robust infrastructure for Microsoft SQL Server software. Scale on demand and connect to your on-premises infrastructure using Virtual Network.

Embrace rapid innovation using the cloud for development and test scenarios. You can spin up any test lab or sandbox quickly, and be agile in your learning, development, and prototyping.

Let’s take a closer look at the news that we are announcing today with general availability.
New high-memory instances for Virtual Machines
When your apps need more memory, new 28-gigabyte (GB) and 56-GB instances deliver.
Updated SLA
When you deploy multiple instances of Virtual Machines, Microsoft provides a financially backed 99.95 percent monthly service level agreement (SLA).
Customer support
Our customer support team is ready and available to help you troubleshoot 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have several support plans tailored to meet your needs—from basic developer support to Premier Support. When you work with Microsoft, you have a single vendor to call for cloud and on-premises needs.
Validated workloads
The best of Microsoft server products are validated to run on Virtual Machines, including Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013, SharePoint Server 2013, BizTalk Server 2013, and more. We also offer prebuilt virtual machine images—such as BizTalk Server and SQL Server—through the Windows Azure Virtual Machines Image Gallery with hourly pricing. Prebuilt Linux images—such as CentOS, Ubuntu, and Suse Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)—are available in the Image Gallery from commercial distributors. In addition, a wide variety of the most popular open source applications are available as prebuilt images in VM Depot, a self-service community portal.
Price reductions for Virtual Machines and Cloud Services
Tremendous business growth globally gives us the ability to pass along benefits of scale to you, and provide competitive pricing across all geographies. We’re offering the following new prices and added value:

Windows Virtual Machines general availability prices reduced by 21% for standard instances. New general availability prices will be effective June 1, 2013. For a small instance, the new price will be $0.09 per hour. Windows Virtual Machines will remain at discounted preview prices until May 31 for standard instances.

Linux Virtual Machines prices reduced by 25 percent for standard instances. Effective April 16, 2013, prices reduced by 25 percent for small, medium, large, and extra-large instances. For example, the price for a Linux small instance will drop from $0.08 per hour to $0.06 per hour in all geographies.

Virtual Network pricing of $0.05 per hour effective June 1, 2013. Until June 1, customers can use Virtual Network free of charge.

Cloud Services web and worker role prices reduced by 33 percent for standard instances. Effective April 16, 2013, price drops by 33 percent for small, medium, large, and extra-large instances. For example, the price for a small worker role will drop from $0.12 per hour to $0.08 per hour in all geographies.

Increased value of 90-day free trial, MSDN and Microsoft Partner Network offers. These offers now include additional 50 hours of usage per month of our new high-memory instances. This special offer ends June 1, 2013.

Visit our Pricing Details page for a comprehensive look at all the pricing changes.
We have great guidance on scenarios in which you can take advantage of Windows Azure infrastructure services. Learn more at our Infrastructure Services page and get going by visiting the Windows Azure Management Portal today.
Thank you,
Windows Azure Team