In mid-November 2009, at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC09) in Los Angeles, Microsoft noted that the start of January 2010 would be synonymous with the evolution of its Cloud platform from the Community Technology Preview stage to final release. The Redmond company managed to live up to its promise and on January 4th, 2010, Windows Azure graduated from CTP into a fully-fledged offering. In this regard, Microsoft is urging customers to upgrade their Windows Azure accounts from CTP to paid commercial subscriptions, or risk losing their content entirely.
“If you elect not to upgrade, on February 1, 2010 your CTP accounts will be disabled and any Windows Azure Storage will be made read-only. SQL Azure CTP accounts will be able to keep using their existing databases but will no longer be able to create new databases. Also, Windows Azure platform AppFabric namespaces will be disabled,” revealed a member of the Windows Azure team.
As of January 4th, early adopters that have been test driving Windows Azure for free have the possibility to upgrade their Community Technology Preview (CTP) accounts of the Windows Azure platform, namely Windows Azure, SQL Azure and/or Windows Azure platform AppFabric to paid commercial subscriptions. Failure to do so ahead of March will result in the deletion of all Windows Azure CTP accounts.
“On March 1, 2010, the SQL Azure CTP accounts that have not been upgraded will be deleted. On April 1, 2010, the Windows Azure Storage CTP accounts and Windows Azure platform AppFabric namespaces that have not been upgraded will be deleted. It is important to export your data if you do not plan to upgrade to a commercial subscription prior to these dates,” the Windows Azure team representative added.
For the time being, only customers in select markets around the world will be able to upgrade to the full version of Windows Azure. Microsoft is currently accepting customers with the credit card billing address in one of the following countries, with the promise that additional markets will be added in the future: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, and United States.
“If you upgrade your CTP accounts during the month of January, 2010, all Windows Azure platform usage incurred during this month will be at no charge. You will also have full visibility during this month to your Windows Azure platform usage. Billing and SLAs for all commercial accounts will begin on February 1st, 2010,” the Windows Azure team member said.