Microsoft's Azure Gets A Business Model And An Official Release Date

This is a big week for Microsoft when it comes to the cloud. First, the company debuted Office 2010, which made a move towards the browser with cloud-based versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Today, Microsoft is announcing the business model and launch timing for Azure, the company’s much hyped cloud operating system. The platform also includes a Web-based relational database in Microsoft SQL Azure, and connectivity and interoperability with .NET Services.

Microsoft says that Azure will be offered for purchase through a consumption-based pricing model and will try to continue to offer promotional discounts to enterprise customers. Pricing for Azure’s OS is $0.12 cents an hour for computing and $0.15 cents per Gigabyte per month for storage. SQL Azure will offer a basic $9.99 per month plan and a $99.99 business edition, which has a database capacity of up to ten gigabytes.

Microsoft also announced that Azure will begin to be commercially available at its Professional Developers Conference, which takes place in mid-November. Azure was announced last fall, and developers have already been testing the cloud based OS via Microsoft’s Community Technology Preview.

Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie has been saying that Azure will establish Microsoft’s place in the cloud, especially given the dual strength of Microsoft’s platforms and applications and because of its lengthy experience serving both the consumer and enterprise spaces.