On October 1st I went to the Technet and MSDN events on Azure. I’ve never really read much into what Azure was all about so I wanted to learn more about it; what it was, and most important what it could do for me.
There are a few data centers that Microsoft built for their Azure services. They just finished one here in Chicago, there’s one in Dublin, and I believe the third is in Quincy, Washington. It’s pretty cool how they set it up. Dell loads up semi trucks with the components needed. The trucks are shipped to the data centers where they are plugged into the network. I don’t think they use USB cables. Each data center can hold, I believe, 350,000 nodes.
Azure is actually three parts. The first is Windows Azure. This is exactly what it sounds like, running on a Windows Server platform.
The second part is SQL Azure, again no surprises. There wasn’t much talk about SQL Azure other than to mention that it was available. However the costs seemed to me to be fairly high; 1 GB for $9.99 per month, or 10 GB at $99.99 per month. You would probably be better off finding a different hoster, there are cheaper options available.
The third part of Azure is .NET services. This would be your messaging services. Again, there are probably cheaper options. Microsoft wants $.15 per 100K per message.
On top of all this there are the bandwidth costs; $.10/GB inbound and $.15/GB outbound
West Monroe Partners also gave a demo at the end of the TechNet event. They build the website the City of Chicago used for the Taste of Chicago last summer. It was impressive, especially since this was 3 months ago on a CTP build.