With the recent (even though it feels like many moons ago, it’s only been a few weeks) December updates to the Windows Azure platform you can now try out Windows Azure risk free! We’ve offered trial accounts ever since the launch of the platform, but there has always been the risk that if you were not careful your credit card would be billed for any usage over and above the free quotas provided by your selected offer. Now, we’ve taken this worry away!

Introducing the Windows Azure Spending Limit  …

By default all new trial accounts and newly provisioned MSDN benefits are created with a spending limit of $0!
If (or when, as is often the case) you exceed the monthly quotas included in your particular offer, all Azure services will be shut down and any data in storage will be made read-only. This will stay in place until the next billing cycle, when you can redeploy your services and take advantage of that month’s quotas. Notice that you have to re-deploy your services, they won’t just automagically reappear.

A credit card is still required during the sign-up process but it will not be charged by default. The credit card helps to verify your identity.

I think this is great news! It will help prospective Windows Azure users dip their toes in the water risk free!

So, what are you waiting for, go dip those toes!