Editor’s note:  The following blog post was written by Windows Azure MVP Herve Roggero

As it turns out, Day 1 of Microsoft TechEd 2013 in New Orleans was a great success. The organization itself is of course top notch. And the keynote delivered: lots of major news announced, including some interesting details on the Microsoft Azure platform. In summary, we are no longer charged when stopping a Virtual Machine (it used to be that in order avoiding being charged we had to delete the Virtual Machine – well… no longer). Also, the billing model is now a per minute charge increment (instead of per hour). Also, MSDN subscribers have a heavily discounted rate and a credit on the Azure Services used. And last but not least, MSDN licenses can now officially be used in Azure for Dev/Test scenarios (which was not authorized previously). The details around these Azure changes can be found here, on Scott Guthrie’s (@scottgu) page.

Another important announcement was made as well: Windows Azure BizTalk Services (WABS) is now available in public preview. That’s right!!! BizTalk in a Platform as a Service offering… that’s really cool because it not only offers a new hosted model for BizTalk, but because it demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to this platform. To find out more about the newly published BizTalk service preview, visit this page.

Many other announcements were made, including the upcoming availability of System Center 2012 R2 and Window Server 2012 R2. And not to forget SQL Server 2014, with its significant performance improvements that come from the use of an in-memory relational engine. More information about SQL Server 2014 can be found here.

In summary, this was a big day! Lots of announcements and cool features. I am now looking forward to some of the drilldown sessions around these technologies.