This week, Microsoft announced enhancements to its Windows Azure cloud platform that affect what developers can do with the PaaS offering, as well as the scalability options and costs for using Azure to provision the apps developed on it.
Let's begin with the financial changes. To drive more adoption, Microsoft is offering a 90-day free trial with quota limits. To go beyond the quota, you need a paid subscription. There are tools to help you monitor your usage, so you can see if you're approaching the trial's limits. The full Azure service has real-time usage visibility enhancements and improved subscription management, such as to let you change rate plans, cancel unnecessary subscriptions, and view up-to-the-minute usage data.
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Microsoft has also raised the ceiling for SQL database sizes from 50GB to 150GB -- and lowered the price for North America and European customers by a penny (to 19 cents) for data transfers. But Asia-Pacfic customers now pay 3 cents more (15 cents) for such transfers. There's also a new price cap for customers that have large databases.
For larger data databases, Microsoft released an Apache Hadoop distribution for Azure.
Microsoft has also offered new tools and support for five other open source technologies: Eclipse Java, MongoDB, SQL Azure Federation, Solr/Lucene, and Memcached.
This article, "What's new in Windows Azure," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of J. Peter Bruzzese's Enterprise Windows blog and follow the latest developments in Windows at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.