In my last blog post – It’s Alive! The Australian Azure Geo – I introduced you to the new Australian Azure Geo that opened. This time I’m going to cover off a few of the different ways you can get access to Azure. In the next few posts I'll take a closer look at some scenarios that you can get started with in Azure including: running Virtual Servers; running your company website or blog; performing cloud backups; migrating workloads to Azure; and Disaster Recovery.
The most obvious way to sign up and trial Azure is via our free trial offer. All you need is a Microsoft Account (aka Live account), and a credit card, and you can instantly access US$200 credit to get you started.
Pay As You Go
When your free trial ends, your subscription will convert into a Pay As You Go subscription which will bill monthly usage to your credit card.
If you are a large organisation then you may wish to consider an Enterprise Agreement for purchasing Azure. An Enterprise Agreement will give you discounts on usage and access to the Enterprise Portal which makes it easier to manage multiple accounts or subscriptions.
BizSpark (for startups)
If you’re a startup company, less than 5 years old and earning less than US$1m per annum, then you may qualify to join our BizSpark program. With BizSpark you can get US$150 of free Azure usage every month for up to three years. When your startup starts to grow you may also be eligible for BizSpark Plus – which can give you up to US$60,000 for a year.
MSDN (for Developers or IT Professionals)
Many of our MSDN subscriptions come with free Azure benefits – up to US$150 per month. MSDN subscribers also get a discounted rate when purchasing additional Azure services. Check out the MSDN landing page for activating your free benefits. There is also a video on Channel 9 which walks you through the process.
If you’re a Microsoft Partner Network member (MPN) then you have free Azure benefits also. All partners with Action Pack subscription, or Silver or Gold competencies, get US$100 per month that can be used for Production workloads. Cloud Platform competency partners get an additional $US250 (silver) or US$500 (gold). Silver and Gold partners also get 5 or more MSDN Subscriptions which each come with US$100 per month of Azure credits.
Academic Teacher/Professor or Student
If you’re teaching or participating in a class about cloud computing, you may be eligible for a 6 or 12 month Azure Pass. If you’re a student you’ll need to ask your Teacher or Professor to first apply for Azure Passes via the Azure Pass site on your behalf.