windows-azure-platform-headlineThere were so many announcements last week at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference held in Seattle. This post is a quick summary of the Azure related announcements that were made that I think you NEED to know about:

1. Windows Azure Platform Benefits for Cloud Essentials will be available on January 7th and provide an mechanism for partners to try Azure without getting charged. 

2. Extra Small Windows Azure Compute Instance ($.05/hr) now makes running smaller apps, sites, and testing scenarios much more affordable.

3. Windows Azure Virtual Machine Role now allows partners to deploy any app compatible with Windows Server 2008 R2 to the cloud.

4. Windows Azure Marketplace is built on Pinpoint and provides developers the ability find, buy and sell services.  Today the DataMarket (previously Codename Dallas) is live and provides access to commercial datasets and public data sources.  The broader AppMarket will be available before the end of the calendar year. 

5. SQL Azure Reporting is now in CTP and opens up new opportunities for partners building business intelligence solutions in the cloud. Review the FAQ.

Don't forget that an MSDN subscription allows you to qualify for Discounted Azure rates – and all members of BizSpark therefore receive these great rates! See more info here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/ee461076.aspx?ppud=4

All PDC session recordings can be found at: http://microsoftpdc.com

Thanks to Jon Roskill for the collation of links Smile