Since Satya Nadella was positioned on the hottest chair at Microsoft, there have been lots of opportunities for entrepreneur-minded people who want to make something happen in life. A to-do list containing what you need to prepare initially coming to your desk one day makes you feel frustrated at some points. Among them, development environment is always a burden. Every night you may get anxious about your budget for hardware you are going to with you team build on. Admittedly money does not come in an easy way. When looking at a variety of hosting options, you may feel like you are a miserly women walking around modern fashion stores in a big shopping centre to just slaver over any of them. The most prominent cloud providers include Amazon EC2, Rackspace, GoGrid, Terremark, Google, IBM SmartCloud Service, HP Converged Cloud, Microsoft Azure…etc. Other growing kids may include CloudShare, FpWeb, Skytap or so on. Choosing the most suitable provider among these takes a step forward.
This article shows my top three unidirectional reasons why you should consider taking Microsoft Azure in your start-up road. The article also does not really bring Microsoft Azure into comparison.
Pay nothing for your off-machine
A flexible environment with acceptable cost is one of the bullet points in your to-do list. The so-call “flexible environment” does mean the pricing model that fits your demand. Microsoft Azure indeed offers you the Pay-As-You-Go model. That said, you can create virtual machine as many as you need but only pay for your usage. Microsoft committed that there are never any penalties for changing your virtual machine configuration. When you stop your virtual machines, there is no charge against your credit card. This is different from other cloud and hosting providers that provide 24/7 computing hours.
Tips: Register a Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN Subscription account to receive $150 per month (after $200 at the first month). During the registration process, you are asked to provide credit card information in Microsoft Azure but will only be charged if your usage is over 150$ monthly. In addition to your budget plan, Microsoft provides a great pricing calculator. Moreover, a new pricing that has been updated recently that can beat Amazon EC2 is absolutely the very first reason.
A diversity of world-class templates
Microsoft Azure offers a variety of templates and platforms that you can create within minutes. These includes not only Microsoft platforms but also open source such as Oracle, Ubuntu. If you are to build up something related to integration, e.g. integrating SharePoint with Oracle database, you now do not necessarily have to look for another provider that supports Oracle platform. Microsoft Azure saves you! What you only need to do is select the platform then enter configuration data (DNS, Location, Server name…etc.) then drink teak in mouthfuls waiting a few minutes for your virtual machines fully created and configured. Once your virtual machines get completed, you are provided full information of access via the portal.
In terms of licensing, each type of platform has its own Microsoft agreement. For example, SharePoint Server running on Azure must be licensed properly through a customer’s volume license agreement using License Mobility for Software Assurance, or SPLA (Service Provider License Agreement) as part of a hosted solution licensed via SPLA. You can read more details here.
Tips: If you have not had your company website or an open source CRM (Customer Relationship Management) portal for your client, go create a new one on Microsoft Azure. Not only server platform, Microsoft offers tons of built-in web technologies templates. You may need to create a WordPress blog writing about tips and trends related to your product. You may also want an application page that allows your client to validate their license or product key. The price to running such a website is acceptable and beatable to any hosting service I have ever used.
Save your effort with Azure Services
Microsoft Azure offers many services that your product may need. For example, your converter app in Windows Phone uses Microsoft Azure Media Services along with Azure Storage to provide end-users conversion features, on-demand or live streaming. Your SharePoint app may need to utilize Microsoft Azure ACS (Access Control Service) to provide SSO (Single Sign-On) experience. Read all Azure services here.
Tips: before choosing whether Microsoft Azure services or your custom one, plan and make a pricing comparison table. Some services in Microsoft Azure squeeze your money. Some are cheap to be used. This page contains all services and links to respective pricing page.
As I said, this article shows you unidirectional reasons with a bias towards to Microsoft Azure. If you intend to build cool products and are looking for a key to unblock the first door, Microsoft Azure is your wise choice. Bookmark the following helpful references: