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Microsoft announces Azure pricing, details

At its partner conference in New Orleans, the software maker announces several pricing options for its cloud computing service.

Microsoft's Bob Muglia announces Microsoft's Windows Azure plans at last year's professional developer conference. On Tuesday, Microsoft announced how it will charge for the service and what level of guarantees it will provide. Robert Vamosi/CNET News

Microsoft on Tuesday announced how much it will charge companies that want to use its Windows Azure cloud computing service when it is released in final form this fall.

The software maker announced a variety of plans, including one that charges purely on consumption and another that offers discounted rates for those that agree to a six-month commitment.

With the launch of Azure, Microsoft finds itself in a new type of business, where it competes with the likes of's Amazon Web Services and's

The cloud operating system isn't launching in final form until Microsoft's November Professional Developer Conference, but a top executive had told CNET News that the pricing announcement would be made at this week's Worldwide Partner Conference, which is taking place in New Orleans. Microsoft first announced its Azure plans at last year's PDC and the product has been available as a free technology preview form since then.

On a pure consumption basis, Microsoft said it will charge 12 cents per hour for computing, 15 cents per gigabyte for storage and 10 cents per 10,000 storage transactions. For network bandwidth, the software maker is charging between 10 cents and 15 cents per gigabyte.

The discount plan, dubbed the "development accelerator" comes in two forms and offers a 15 percent to 30 percent discount off the consumption charges. It requires a six-month commitment, with overage charges billed at the regular rates. After six months, the pricing reverts to the standard Azure rates.

Microsoft also announced pricing for its SQL Azure database, charging $9.99 for the basic Web edition, including up to a 1GB relational database and $99.99 for the Business Edition, which includes up to a 10GB database.

The software maker said it would promise 99.95 percent reliability for its compute and connectivity and 99.9 percent for role instance and storage. Ultimately, though, Ray Ozzie has said that trust will play a big role in which company businesses are willing to choose to host their applications.

Correction: An earlier version of this post stated the incorrect time for the Professional Developer Conference. It will take place November 17 to 19 in Los Angeles.