imageI’d like to say the season of giving has inspired us, but that’s not really the case.  Windows Azure usage – with limits, of course – has been freely available for a while, but I’ve found that not all that many folks know about it, or about how easy it is to sign up.

Now that my colleagues and I have completed our Fall 2010 Azure Firestarter tour, I thought it would be a good opportunity to produce a few short screencasts that walk through how to sign up for those free Windows Azure benefits that are available to practically anyone.

There are three screencasts in all, and the longest is just 5 1/2 minutes.  Why three?  Well. there are a number of offers in market, and they each have different qualification requirements, benefit allotments, and convertibility as summarized below and detailed in each of the videos.

Introductory Special
  • available to all
  • recurring monthly benefit (credit card required for overages)
  • available through March 31, 2011
  • convertible to other paid accounts
Get Microsoft Silverlight
MSDN Subscribers
  • available to MSDN Premium & Ultimate subscribers
  • recurring monthly benefit (credit card required for overages)
  • 8 month period (renewable once)
  • convertible to other paid accounts
Get Microsoft Silverlight
Windows Azure Pass
  • available in select markets only
  • single 30-day period of benefits
  • not convertible to other accounts
Get Microsoft Silverlight

Now that you've got your account, what next?  Well, writing and running “Hello, world cloud”, of course!  These links should help you along:

and once you’ve gotten past that, the sky’s (ahem!) the limit!