Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Creating a Windows Azure Platform One Month Pass or Introductory Special Account

Microsoft offers a number of special pricing schemes for Windows Azure and SQL Azure accounts. If you’re a MSDN subscriber you can take advantage of special offers, such as the Windows Azure Platform Benefits for MSDN Subscribers, which recently had its duration increased:

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If you aren’t an MSDN Premium or higher subscriber, you can still get one of two temporary benefits for SQL Azure  and Windows Azure:

  • Windows Azure One Month Pass: Up to 31 days of free SQL Azure and Windows Azure use; no credit card required. Valid only for the calendar month in which the request is received.
  • Introductory Special: Three months free use of an 1-GB Azure database, 25 free Windows Azure compute hours per month and other benefits.

Either benefit requires a Windows Live ID.

Windows Azure Platform One Month Pass

Following are the steps to sign up for the Windows Azure One-Month Pass:

1. Open the Windows Azure One-Month Pass page, a Windows Azure Web Role:


2. Request a pass by clicking the here link to open your email client, adding your company name and zip code, and marking an “offers and campaigns” box:


3. Wait for a response in two to four business days. Mine arrived about 6 hours after the request and appeared as follows, except for redacted account and password information:

Subject: RE: Developers: Windows Azure Platform One Month Pass Request

Many thanks for your email request for a Windows Azure one month pass*. Your pass is valid for the month of August 2010.

  • Your Windows Azure account ID is: Redacted
  • Your Windows Azure account password is: Redacted

Sign in to the Windows Azure Developer Portal and use the pass to access your Windows Azure account.

  1. Please note: your Windows Azure account will automatically cancel at the end of August 2010.
  2. For USA developers, no-cost phone and email support with the Front Runner for Windows Azure Platform program.
  3. After the pass expires, get a Developer Accelerator account from as low as $59.95 a month to test and develop on Windows Azure. See the Azure Offers here.
  4. Startups - get MSDN Azure offers, low cost development tools and production licenses with BizSpark - join here.
  5. Get the Tools. To get started, download and install these tools:  Download Microsoft Web Platform Installer and Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio.
  6. Why Windows Azure - learn why Azure is a great cloud computing platform with these fun videos.
  7. Learn about Azure. Learn how to put up a simple application on to Windows Azure and about PHP on Windows Azure.
  8. Take the Windows Azure virtual lab. Read about Developing a Windows Azure Application and view the series of Web seminars designed to quickly immerse you in the world of the Windows Azure Platform.
  9. Dig Deeper into Windows Azure: Download the Windows Azure Platform Training Kit and visit the Windows Azure Development Center.

*Terms and Conditions:
This offer is good for developers only in the 50 United States. Windows Azure Platform pass limited to the first 500 to respond each calendar month beginning August 1 and ending October 31, 2010 and is not redeemable for cash. Limit one Windows Azure Platform pass per person.

This Windows Azure Platform pass is non-transferable and cannot be combined with any other Windows Azure Platform pass. Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the recipient. Any Windows Azure Platform pass returned as non-deliverable will not be re-sent. Please allow 2-4 business days for arrival via email of your Windows Azure Platform pass.

At the end of each calendar month your Windows Azure Platform account user ID and password will be deactivated. All deployments, databases, data, services and storage accounts associated with this user ID and password will also be deleted automatically. You will not be able to recover the information.

Use of the Windows Azure Platform is subject to the Microsoft Online Use Rights (http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/online-use-rights.aspx )  and to the Microsoft Online Subscription Agreement 9 (https://mocp.microsoftonline.com/Site/Mocp_Eagreement.aspx?country=USA&lang=en).

Creating a Windows and SQL Azure Account from the Pass

Note: If you receive an error message during the following process, wait a minute or two and repeat the offending step. Most errors you receive in portal operations are recoverable, not fatal.

1. Open the Windows Azure Developer Portal and sign in with the Windows Live ID and password you received in the pass response message. Your summary page appears as follows except for the redacted Project Name and Service Administrator values:


2. Click the SQL Azure tab to open the My Project page for SQL Azure:


3. Click the project line below the Project Name bar to open the Terms of Use page and click I accept to accept the Terms of Use to open the Database -  Create Server page.

4. Type and write down an Administrator Username and Administrator Password to use for administer a new 1-GB SQL Azure Web Edition database:


5. Click the Create Server button to create the master database for the new server instance, which the portal names automatically:


The master database is free of charge for paid accounts.

6. Click the Firewall Settings tab to open the SQL Azure Server Firewall Settings list and mark the All Microsoft Services Access to This Server check box, which adds a Microsoft Services rule with an IP Address Range – to permit Windows Azure projects to connect to the server:


7. You can restrict access to the server and its database(s) by specifying a range of allowable incoming IP addresses. Click the Add Rule button to open the Add Firewall Rule dialog, which displays the IP address of the current connection. OakLeaf has a commercial DSL account with five available fixed IP addresses, so the following entries grant access to anyone using one of the five computers assigned to these IPs:


If you want to allow everyone access to the server, specify an IP range of to SQL Azure uses SQL Server security for logins and database users, not Windows integrated authentication.

8. Click Submit to add the rule to the list:


9. Click the Databases tab and the Create Database button to open the database name and size dialog. Type a name for the database and accept the Web edition and 1 GB size properties:


10. Click Create to create the new 1-GB database, NwindSQLAzure for this example:


11. Select the entry for the new database you created, NwindSQLAzure for this example, and click the Test Connectivity button to open the Database Connectivity Test dialog:


12. Click Connect to verify the connection with the following green message:


13. Click Close to return to the Databases list and, with the new database selected, click the Connection Strings button to display the ODBC connection strings for use by Access or ADO.NET for .NET front ends you create:


ADO.NET: Server=tcp:nd02dcs58a.database.windows.net;Database=NwindSQLAzure; User ID=SQLAzureAdmin@nd02dcs58a;Password=myPassword; Trusted_Connection=False; Encrypt=True;

ODBC: Driver={SQL Server Native Client 10.0}; Server=tcp:nd02dcs58a.database.windows.net; Database=NwindSQLAzure; Uid=SQLAzureAdmin@nd02dcs58a;Pwd=myPassword; Encrypt=yes;

14. Click Close and close the SQL Azure portal connection.

Stay tuned for a link to another post with the details of using the SQL Server Migration Assistant v4.2 for Azure to link a Microsoft Access 2010 Northwind.accdb front end to migrated tables.

Introductory Special Benefits

Following are the steps to sign up with a credit card for the Introductory Special benefits:

1. Open the Microsoft Online Services Portal (MOCP), click the Sign In link, provide your Windows Live ID credentials, and add profile information, if missing, to activate the portal:


2. Click here to open a page with the details of Introductory Special pricing:


3. If you’re satisfied with the Introductory Special pricing close the page to return to MOCP’s Services page and click Buy Now to open the Shopping Cart:


4. Click Checkout to open the Payment Options page and accept the default (and only) New Credit Card option.

5. Click Next to open the Payment Information page:


6. Enter the required credit card details and click Next to create the account.

Under construction: Additional details will follow in updates.


Anonymous said...

Microsoft has sunk to a new low . . . using “trial traps” . . . yes one must contact customer support to cancel a trial. There’s plenty of opportunity to sign up for more services but they make it very hard to cancel. I called Microsoft support . . . all the options for Azure support were available EXCEPT the one to cancel . . . it says they are CLOSED! I’m just going to tell my cedit card company to charge back all Microsoft fees and move on to open source . . . there’s plenty of free software out there that works suffciently well given the cost. Azure is lack luster to say the least and high priced given the limited services. BTW: I was a devoted Microsoft customer for 15 years . . . I’m also a MCSE . . . but I’m giving up on Microsoft because they really are indifferent, at best, to the impact they have on customers.

Tony said...

There is now a new pass for USA Developers:
Try out the Windows Azure platform for 30 days – risk free. No credit card required. http://www.windowsazurepass.com/?campid=9FE3DB53-E4F0-DF11-B2EA-001F29C6FB82
promo code = MPR001
Get no-cost technical support with Microsoft Platform Ready http://www.microsoftplatformready.com/us/dashboard.aspx
- just click on Windows Azure Platform under Technologies