New Orleans: Microsoft is making the case for enterprise customers to use its Azure platform for cloud computing, and as an incentive is updating its pricing with no charges for inactive virtual machines and per-minute pricing.
At its TechEd conference, Microsoft pushed hard the promise of consistency across its Windows server and Azure cloud platforms, making the case that it makes more sense for organisations to use this combination when extending their infrastructure to the cloud.
Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Server and Tools division, said: "Organisations should demand the ability to move virtual machines and workloads across boundaries on demand and without friction.
"Azure is based on the same Windows Server 2012 platform as your data centre, with the same management tools and the same consistency across data, so you can just move things around as you wish," he added.
From today, Microsoft said it will no longer charge for halted virtual machines, allowing customers to save money on workloads that are not actively being used. The firm is also moving to per-minute billing rather than by the hour.
Perhaps of more interest to Microsoft customers is the ability for Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers to now use any server licenses they have to run on Azure instead of a physical machine.
MSDN subscribers will also qualify for special rates on Azure workloads, which could see up to a 97 percent discount on products such as SQL Server Enterprise edition, and monthly credits that can be used on any Azure resources.
Meanwhile Microsoft said it was taking the knowledge it has gained from operating Azure, and rolling this back into its on-premise products.
One example is the Windows Azure Pack, which delivers cloud-like orchestration and scalability across infrastructure based on Windows Server and System Center.
"You can effectively download and install in your private cloud environment a bunch of the features previously only available in Windows Azure," said Anderson.
Despite claims from other cloud platforms that customers do not want to be tied to a single provider, Anderson touted Microsoft's credentials as the cloud provider of choice because of the sheer scale and reach of its platform.
"You're looking for a partner that can give you reach around the globe. We are deploying hundreds of thousands of new servers per year. We can guarantee SLAs. We give you the flexibility to deploy to the cloud and to bring workloads back in your data centre if required. As of this week, we have data centre capacity in China. That gives you support to address that market," he said.
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