Microsoft announced a number of updates to the Windows Azure cloud platform at TechEd 2010 in New Orleans this week. The biggest of these was support for the .NET 4 runtime and with it, parallel libraries, routing and IntelliTrace.
Other updates included:
- Visual Studio 2010 support and direct service publishing
- SQL Azure database maximum increased from 10GB to 50GB
- Production launch of the Azure Content Delivery Network
- Service monitoring to help developers track and manage the state of their services through the ‘compute’ node in Server Explorer
Despite the new features, many development shops still think Azure is too expensive. Barb Darrow and Carl Brooks of SearchCloudComputing.com report that a cloud provider like Amazon Web Services only charges for storage, bandwidth, transactions and new servers.
Azure, on the other hand, charges for storage, storage transactions, bandwidth, CDN traffic, compute hours per single server instance; that’s one application server –not a running operating system that can run many applications, like an AWS machine image (AMI). It charges per GB for SQL Azure, and per transaction for AppFabric, the service bus.
Complaints that Azure too expensive are nothing new, particularly regarding idle hosting and bandwidth. An important thing to keep in mind when comparing Azure to AWS, however, is that when using cloud infrastructure like Amazon’s EC2, you still have to deal with the hardware your applications are running on. One of the potential benefits of a platform like Azure is you don’t need to know what the machine configurations look like. That means you can cut down on system administrators, if you are so inclined. But at the same time, you may end up paying out the difference to Azure in other ways.
You can find more Azure news from the Azure Team Blog itself.