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Microsoft Reducing Low-end Windows Azure Cloud Pricing; Annouces Simplified Data Transfer Billing Meters and Swappable Compute Instances

Begining October 1, 2011, Microsoft is reducing the price of “extra-small compute” by 20 percent, according to an August 15 post on the Windows Azure Team Blog.

Microsoft is doing away with the extra-small designation and using “small-compute hours” for all its cloud offerings (while providing those with extra-small hours with an appropriate small-compute-hour equivalent). The company also is allowing users more flexibility in how they allocate their compute hours.

“To deliver additional flexibility to our customers, these hours can also be used for extra small compute at a ratio of 3 extra small compute hours per 1 hour of small compute. Customers can also utilize these hours for other compute sizes at the standard prescribed ratios noted in their rate plan. Additionally, current Introductory Special offer customers and customers who sign up for this offer prior to October 1 will receive both 750 extra small compute hours and 750 small compute hours for the months of August and September to ensure maximum value and flexibility in advance of this enhanced offer,” notes Windows Azure Team.

The team also suggests that they’re simplifying “data transfer meters” to utilize only two zones, “Zone 1” and “Zone 2”. “The zone meter system will simplify the current meter system that includes multiple regions and separate meters for both standard data transfers and CDN. Data centers in Europe and North America will be reported and charged under Zone 1 and those for the rest of the world will be classified as Zone 2,” informs Windows Azure team.

“This change will ease customer’s ability to monitor data transfers and understand billing charges. The price per GB for outbound data transfers will not change. Customers will also gain the flexibility to utilize CDN data transfers against any data transfer amounts included with their offer. For billing periods that overlap September and October, customers will see both the current regional and new Zone 1 and 2 meters on their invoice,” added Windows Azure team.

[Source: Windows Azure team]

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