20% price reduction on x-small instancesJust got some great news regarding updates to the pricing structure for Windows Azure that not only makes Azure a tad more affordable and also less confusing from a billing perspective!

First of all the price of an extra-small compute instance has been reduced by 20% – ok so it’s 4 cents now versus 5 cents per hour, but we all know Ben Franklin’s take on the subject.

While saving money is awesome, from my perspective the other part of the announcement is even better: small and extra-small compute hours are now interchangeable.  I’ll be the first to admit, it’s been confusing to look at the various on-boarding offers (MSDN benefits, Windows Azure Pass, Introductory offer) and figure out what you’re really getting.  Now, it’s simple math:

It gets better: to ease the migration to this new interchangeable model, you can get additional benefits for the month of August and September via the Introductory Offer/Platform Trial.  It’s covered in this blog post, and I’ve shamelessly lifted the table comparing the benefits you’d get now versus after October 1st:

Prior to October  1

Beginning on October 1

Offer

Extra Small

Small

Extra Small

Small

Extra Small Equivalent

Introductory Special

750

750

-

750

2,250

Cloud Essentials

750

25

-

375

1,125

MSDN Professional

750

-

-

375

1,125

MSDN Premium

1,500

-

-

750

2,250

MSDN Ultimate

-

1,500

-

1,500

4,500

There will also be some streamlining of bandwidth charge schedules as well in place on October 1st, including interchangeability of CDN transfers with regular data transfer.