[This article was contributed by the SQL Azure team.]
In October 2008 at our Professional Developer Conference we opened the Community Technology Preview (CTP) for the Windows Azure platform (Windows Azure, SQL Azure and .NET Services). The CTP has been invaluable in terms of shaping many aspects of the Windows Azure platform.
PDC 2009 is an exciting event for all of us who are working on the Windows Azure platform as it’s our opportunity to show you the work that we’ve done over the past year, including some brand new features. Concurrent with the conference we will begin the Windows Azure platform’s transition from a CTP to a business. For your planning purposes, this post maps out the key stages of that transition that you should be aware of.
- At PDC 2009, on November 17th, 2009, a number of new features in Windows Azure will be made available for the first time. The CTP will remain open through December 31st, allowing you to experiment with the full feature platform and to give us any final feedback.
- Beginning January 2010, new customers will have to sign up for an offer to access services on the Windows Azure platform. Usage during the month of January will be at no charge, so you can see your exact usage while still enjoying free service.
- On February 1, 2010, we will begin charging customers for using the Windows Azure platform.
Making the transition in these three steps accomplishes a few goals. First, it gives you a chance to explore our full feature set for free. Second, it allows our team time to get your feedback on the new features and address any issues that arise. Finally, it lets you preview exactly how billing will work before you need to start paying.
We’d like to thank everyone who has participated in our Community Technology Preview so far. Your feedback has really shaped the platform, and we’re looking forward to sharing our launch with you next month at PDC 2009!
Updated 10/30/2009: Clarified that January is free of charge.