Windows Azure is a great environment for your applications. It can also house applications that aren’t ready to be consumed by your clients whether internal or external to your organization. What makes this more compelling is that as of June you now pay by the minute vs. by the hour for compute as well as no cost for stopped VMs. This makes it more cost-effective for you to do your development and testing in the cloud. MSDN subscribers get extra discounts as well.
Here is a few ways you can use Windows Azure:
- Load/Performance testing
- Scalability testing (up and/or out)
- Server configuration testing(SharePoint, SQL, BizTalk, Windows, Linux, …)
With Windows Azure Virtual Machines (VMs) you can deploy and configure applications even if they’re going to be used on-premises. You can use Windows Azure to determine the infrastructure needs for the on-premise deployment as well as for cloud deployments. You can even setup Virtual Networks to connect to your development and testing environment in the cloud.
Are you wondering how you can easily deploy, scale and configure these environments? PowerShell will be your new best friend if not already. Windows Azure has a lot of pre-built cmdlets for use today. You can also use Team Foundation Service to do load and performance testing.
By the way, if you need a Windows Azure subscription, here is the link for a free trial.