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Windows Azure: The start-up friendly Microsoft

“Start-up” and “Microsoft” are usually not said in the same sentence.  Microsoft has historically been synonymous with expensive licensing costs which is precisely why most start-ups have gravitated towards Linux.  It is free, it is stable and it is powerful.   While Windows and Windows Server may never be free, Microsoft has narrowed the gap considerably with Azure.
One of the most important things for start-ups is to get your identity an idea “out there”.  Usually this entails a website or web application which will have minor costs associated with it such as purchasing a domain name and finding a company to host your content.  Paying for hosted web space can be fairly inexpensive if  just starting out, but it still can’t compare with free.  To start using Windows Azure will cost nothing.  Simply create a Microsoft account and you are given 10 free websites.  There is no trial period where it will start to cost money.  They are free, forever.  The websites can also be any technology, connect to a database, run a blog, forums etc..  The websites are also managed through the Windows Azure management tools which are second to none.
The beauty of Azure is the flexibility it gives you.  If a start-up grows and more technology is needed, then build it up in Azure.  There are no restrictions, no limits (unless you set them) on what you can build up and tear down at any point in time.  If more compute time or storage space is needed  then build more virtual machines or create a storage account.  If the virtual machines are Windows Server there is no license required, you are simply billed a monthly fee for how long that virtual machine is running.  If you choose to also use the Microsoft stack then development tools are provided to you for free with the ability to deploy cloud and mobile services with the touch of a button.
With the low overhead cost Azure provides, Microsoft has never been more friendly to the start-up company and the tools that are provided have never been better (or cheaper)!

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Brian ODonnell

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