Today in the key note at TechEd US Scott Guthrie made some exciting announcements related to Windows Azure Virtual Machines.

Here are the highlights:

  • Stopped Virtual Machines will no longer be charged
  • Billing will now be pay per minute rather than by the hour
  • MSDN Software for BizTalk, Visual Studios, SQL, SharePoint, etc. can now be ran on the Windows Azure Virtual Machines for Dev. / Test scenarios.  This means you can create your own custom corporate images if you do not want to use the pre-built ones.
  • MSDN users now get discounted Virtual Machine and other service rates across the board
    • 33% off basic Windows 2012 VM
    • 90% off SQL and BizTalk Standard Edition now $0.06 per hour
    • 97% off SQL and BizTalk Enterprise now only $0.06 per hour
  • Free trial accounts now get a $200 service credit per month (but do not get discounted service prices as best I can tell)

Note that in order to get the new pricing credit and discounted VM pricing you need to sing up for a new MSDN Azure Account or migrate your existing subscriptionJust log into your account and go to Subscriptions to migrate. 

While this might be a little confusing at first, this is a huge upgrade to an already great service offering.

I would love to hear your opinion on these changes.