Windows Azure Simplified Subscription Sign Up Experience - How Easy Is It?

Windows Azure Simplified Subscription Sign Up Experience - How Easy Is It?

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In December we announced a series of updates to the Windows Azure platform. Ryan ‘To the Cloud!’ CrawCour detailed them on his public void HelloWorld() {…} post.

There was a lot of feedback on the sign-up and subscription management front and the team heard you loud and clear. Let’s recap what has been done to the subscriptions experience:

- Simplified Sign-up Process - You can now sign up for new subscriptions with three simple steps.

- Improved Subscription Management and Real-Time Usage Visibility - Spending limits on newly created 3 Month free trial and MSDN subscriptions ensure that you will only get charged for Windows Azure when you’re ready. In addition you can cancel unneeded subscriptions and view recent billing details directly from the Windows Azure Billing Portal.

- Streamlined Billing - Review key usage and billing details at a glance with summary view invoices. In-depth reports can be run across multiple information fields if desired. You can also take advantage of offer recommendations based on usage estimates and existing entitlements you have from various Microsoft programs.

The update I want to focus on is the new streamlined sign-up experience, specifically for the 3-Month Free Trial and MSDN subscriptions. All you need is a Live ID, a mobile phone (for the 3-Month Free Trial only, not needed for MSDN), and a credit card. I went through the process and it took less than 5 minutes!


Here is what happens now when you click on the 3-Month Free Trial offer link (scroll down if you already have an existing personal, BizSpark or corporate MSDN subscription):

1. Sign in with your Live ID

2. You are given the details on what you get with the 3-Month Free Trial. Choose your country (this will usually already be selected correctly for you)


3. Get the verification code sent to your mobile phone


4. Confirm and verify the code sent to your mobile phone


5. Enter credit card for proof of identity. Remember that this is a free trial with a $0 spending limit by default for new activations


6. And that’s it! You are directed to the welcome page…


You can see the subscription details…


And you receive a nice welcome e-mail


From there you can sign in to the Windows Azure management portal and start taking advantage of all that the platform has to offer. See my post on the MSDN New Zealand blog titled Windows Azure - Start Building Your Cloud Solutions Today for more details.



What if you already have a BizSpark or corporate MSDN Subscription?

You should already know that Professional, Premium and Ultimate MSDN subscriptions give you access to Windows Azure benefits at no charge. Activating your MSDN Azure subscription is even easier and the mobile phone step is not needed. Here are the details:

1. Sign in to the MSDN Subscription page with the Live ID associated with your account and click on the My Account tab


2. Click on ‘Activate Windows Azure’ under the Windows Azure section

3. You are then taken to the Windows Azure sign up process, and you are given the details of the MSDN Offer details


4. It will ask you for your credit card as well. Again this is for identification purposes, and to charge you in case you change your spending limit to go over the free offering – remember that from now new MSDN activations come with spending limit of $0 enabled by default so you don’t get charged.


5. And that’s it, you are then taken to the Azure portal and we have another subscription activated in less than 5 minutes. Clicking on the account tab I can now see and manage both my 3-Month Free Trial and my MSDN subscriptions


So to answer the question posed in this post title - how easy is it? Very!

The experience is the same if you want to get a Pay-As-You-Go account or a discounted 6-Month Plan (with the 6-Month Plan you also have the choice to be invoiced instead of using a credit card).

It doesn’t stop here - the team is always working on improvements so look out for them in future updates.


Thiago Almeida
Technology Evangelist
Microsoft New Zealand
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  • Please add 1 and 8 and type the answer here:
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  • It appears the offer is not available anymore for MSDN subscriptions

  • The offer is certainly still being offered to MSDN subscriptions, nothing has changed as of February 2012.

  • marvelouse

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