Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 can be deployed on Microsoft Azure! This blog post provides an overview, and points you to TechNet articles that provide the details you’ll need for your deployment.
To deploy AX 2012 R3 on Azure, you can use Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services. Lifecycle Services is a cloud-based collaborative workspace that customers and partners can use to manage Microsoft Dynamics AX projects. The Cloud Hosted Environments tool—available on the Lifecycle Services website—helps you deploy AX 2012 R3 environments on Azure.
When you use the Cloud Hosted Environments tool to deploy, you’ll need to select the type of environment that you want to deploy on Azure. Currently, you can deploy the following types of AX 2012 R3 environments:
If you choose to deploy this environment, the Cloud Hosted Environments tool deploys one virtual machine on Azure. This virtual machine has Windows Server—and the software that you’ll need to demo AX 2012 R3—already installed on it.
Note: The Cloud Hosted Environments tool is currently in beta and supports the deployment of AX 2012 R3 demo environments only. Additional AX 2012 R3 environments, such as a production environment and a disaster recovery environment, are planned to be released in the future, as announced at the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2014 event.
The following diagram shows the architecture for the demo environment.
To get the details about how to deploy AX 2012 R3 on Azure, see the following articles on TechNet:
Will LCS be available for independent developers looking for a demo environment to develop against, as well as a functional test environment for (win8) apps to point to for users to test app functionality? Currently as I understand, it's only available for Customers & Partners
Today, Any ISV should have access to all that LCS offers. Simply go to http://lcs.dynamics.com to login.
When you say “Independent developer” I’m imagining that you are creating apps that work against an AX environment. At some point, someone who is a customer/partner/ISV will need to invite such a person to a project if they don’t have a relationship established with Microsoft. However, once they’re invited, or simply given access to the R3 environment on Azure, they should be able to use it without a hitch.