Windows Azure Infrastructure ServicesFor the clouderati, today was a banner day for Microsoft with the Windows Azure team announcing the general availability of its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering. Azure Virtual Machines and virtual networking capabilities have actually been around for a while, and many have been leveraging it, vetting it, and architecting awesome applications using it, but today it’s out there for all with an SLA and a new moniker: Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.

Windows Azure Infrastructure Services provides options to bring existing enterprise applications into the Windows Azure cloud and joins the tried-and-true Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offerings like SQL Database and Windows Azure Cloud Services to provide a full spectrum of options for leveraging the technology and cost benefits of cloud computing. As the Windows Azure blog so aptly noted, it’s “The Power of ‘And’”

Beyond the feature announcement though, there were major developments on the economic side:

  • The price for Virtual Machines (Iaas) and Cloud Services (PaaS) has dropped by as much as 33%, with a one-core (small) VM dropping from 12 cents to 8 cents an hour.
  • Microsoft has made a public commitment “to match Amazon Web Services prices for commodity services such as compute, storage and bandwidth.”

Lastly, as the cloud has become more mature, and we’re seeing new workloads and usage patterns, it’s important to adapt the offerings to provide supported infrastructure for those workloads. In that vein, today’s announcements also included

  • the unveiling of high memory VM instance (28 GB/4 core) and (56 GB/8 core) options at a $1.02 and $2.04 per hour respectively, and New memory-intensive VM instances
  • additional Microsoft-validated VM instances for running core enterprise applications, like SQL Server, SharePoint, BizTalk and more.
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