Today was an exciting morning for IT Professionals attending TechEd 2013 North America as details around changes benefiting Windows Azure IaaS were made public today. Now, more than ever, would be a great time for any organization to take advantage of what Azure has to offer.

>> Sign up for a 3 month free trial of Windows Azure IaaS.

 Changes announced today include:

  • IaaS Services are now to be billed by the minute versus being billed by the hour.  Said services include:
    • VMs, Web Roles and Worker Roles
    • SQL Server and BizTalk Server running in Virtual Machines are no longer being rounded to the nearest hour and no longer have required minimums.
  • No need to delete instances to manage and reduce compute costs as billing will now be stopped for stopped VMs.
  • Reduced rates for MSDN subscribers when they use Windows Azure VMs.
  • Public Endpoint Access Control Lists (ACLs) for VMs
  • More Gateway Device Options when setting up Windows Azure Virtual Network: Citrix, F5 and WatchGuard.
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 will be available after preview (also to be added to Virtual Machines Image Gallery, as a pre-built image).
  • SQL Server AlwaysOn to be made generally available later this year for Virtual Machines. 

Even though Microsoft billing approach for Windows Azure has now changed, quality of service will not differ.  Organizations who begin to or continually utilize Windows Azure will continue to receive highly available services with monthly SLAs, along with the scale, support and reliability of Microsoft's cloud platform.

 

You can get the official announcements from Scott Guthrie's blog post here.