Today we released the new Windows Azure Website with improved billing, management and SQL Azure capabilities. The site is in English today with localized versions planned to roll out next year

New features highlight:

  • Implementation of “Spending caps” where you can eliminate the risk of being charged by setting a €0 cap or reduce risk of large bills from unexpected usage by setting a higher cap and receiving alerts as they approach the cap.
  • SQL Azure database size increased from 50GB to 150GB and lowered prices
  • SQL Azure also has a new sharding feature along with SQL Azure Federation that enables you to build applications that are virtually unlimited in size
  • Open Source Experience with an updated Java SDK, a new SDK for Node.js that makes Windows Azure a first-class environment and new limited preview of Hadoop on Windows Azure
  • Simplified billing/reporting experience that integrates directly into the Management Portal
  • ISO 27001 complaint (public certification coming next month)

On Tuesday December 13th after European Business hours, Microsoft will be holding a special Windows Azure event for developers. Join us LIVE from the Microsoft Redmond Campus to learn how to get started building applications for the cloud from Microsoft technical leaders Scott Guthrie, Dave Campbell, and Mark Russinovich. More details can be found here.

You can start building your application on it in some simple and easy to do steps:

1. Setup an Account:

Set up an account and obtain a free subscription for accessing the online portals for Windows Azure an SQL Azure. You can sign up and get the trial from http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/free-trial/.

Note: With the new capping functionality available you are assured that no charging is happening once your trial offer has expired.

2. Create your First application and Deploy it on the Windows Azure Platform:

Download the tools and learn how to create an application using .NET, JAVA, Node.js or PHP and deploy it on Windows Azure at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/overview/

When all steps are executed successfully you should have running your first application on the Windows Azure Platform.