Australia gets Azure cloud in April

The cloud platform will offer applications and services such as Exchange, SQL, SharePoint as well as storage hosting capabilities.

Australians will get a taste of Microsoft’s own cloud platform, Azure, in April.

It will offer applications and services such as Exchange, SQL, SharePoint and storage hosting capabilities. To help boost its launch, the software giant is offering five promotions to encourage partners to join up. Incentives include an introductory special, where companies can try out the platform at no charge and access a base level of compute hours, storage, data transfers, a SQL Azure database and .NET Services messages.

The Development Accelerator Core promotion, which aims to support partners developing on top of the Azure platform, provides similar tools, but partners have to commit to it for six months, which attracts a discounted monthly price. Azure will also be offered under a pay-as-you-go pricing plan (Consumption offer). Partners will receive a 5 per cent discount across all offerings.

The cost of using the cloud service has not been revealed for the Australian market, but Microsoft senior director for the Azure product team, Diane O’Brien, said local prices would be similar to what is offered in the US.

For example, storage is charged at $US0.15 per gigabyte per month or $US0.10 for 10,000 storage transactions. The Web version of SQL databases will cost $US9.99 per month and the business version is priced at $US99.99 per month.

Microsoft has six datacentres set up for Azure across Hong Kong, Singapore, Europe and US. Whether or not Microsoft will have its own datacentre in Australia for local users to store their data on, is still to be seen.

So far companies like Adslot, Ajiliti, Joomla, Dataract, Avanade, Fujitsu Australia, MYOB, Object Consulting and Soul Solutions have become early adopters of Azure.