Friday, November 05, 2010

Microsoft Considering Pay-per-Use (Consumption-Based) Accounts for Windows Azure and SQL Azure

On Thursday afternoon, I received the following mail from Haris Majeed:

image  The survey’s URL is obscured because Haris specified a distinct population.

Haris is the same Microsoft Senior Product Planner that sent the 10/29/2010 message about the Windows Cloud Essentials program. My Microsoft Announces Cloud Essentials for Partners with Free Windows Azure and Office 365 Benefits post of 10/30/2010 (updated 11/4/2010) describes that message and its consequences in detail.

It was clear from initial survey questions about the Google App Engine that GAE would be the target of consumption-based billing for Azure instances, if implemented. Questions 6 through 10 indicate that such a service would provide a shared hosting environment and a restrictive programming environment, similar to GAE:


Questions 11 through 18 target GAE’s billing methods and programming environment:


Questions 19 through 22 pertain to SQL Azure:


I don’t object to paying $9.95 per month for a 1-GB SQL Azure database, but would rather pay $1.00 per month for a 100-MB size cap.

The final set of questions pertain to participant and usage demographics.

In all, it’s encouraging to me to see Microsoft considering competing head-to-head with GAE and GAE for Business with consumption-based billing having a free usage threshold.

A critical requirement for me: A cap on monthly usage-based fees to prevent denial-of-service attacks from running up excessive usage/bandwidth charges.


Burak SARICA said...

Yes! I mean it! I wrote about this idea in my blog (in Turkish) just a week ago. Excellent timing Roger & Microsoft!

Mike Wickstrand said...

Thanks for your feedback here Roger, I sincerely appreciate it. In the spirit of setting proper expectations with Azure enthusiasts and your followers, the qualifiers you use throughout your article with regards to whether or not we actually ever do anything in this space ("if implemented", "considering", etc.) are particularly important.

I hope you and others see that that Azure team is sincerely interested it comes to listening to customers’ needs, no doubt you’ve see all of the outreach from my team soliciting input. My hope is we can continue to have a productive and active dialog with the community while at the same time striking the right balance between “openness” in the feedback we seek from customers (or prospective customers) without wrongly setting expectations on features or functionality that may or not be coming in the future.

With regards to this particular topic, so many people have voted or discussed it (or a variant) on the site, in my opinion it would be irresponsible of us not to explore deeper who those people are and what they specifically need. Haris’ outreach definitely helped us in that regards and I’d like to thank all of the people who have already shared their opinions with us on that topic.

Thanks again Roger and keep the feedback coming.


Mike Wickstrand
Senior Director, Product Management
Windows Azure Business Group
Microsoft Corporation
Twitter: @Wickstrand