Microsoft Lowers Prices on Azure Cloud Services

Cloud economics are at work. Microsoft announces price cuts on a wide range of the company's enterprise cloud computing offerings.

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Microsoft is making it cheaper to move business workloads to the cloud.

In a brief Sept. 25 statement, Claire Fang, director of Microsoft Azure Business Planning, announced that the software giant had slashed prices on dozens of Azure cloud computing services. "We understand that economics are a key driver in our customers' move to the cloud. Today, we are announcing price reductions for a range of Azure services when purchased through our website, effective immediately," she said.

Customers with Enterprise Agreements are entitled to even deeper cuts. "With these changes, we are making it more cost effective to build complete solutions on Azure to leverage the full breadth of our technologies," added Fang.

Dozens of services are affected. Azure Backup, for instance, now costs $0.20 per gigabyte per month, versus $0.28 per gigabyte per month. The cost of Azure Media Services encoding for the first 5 terabytes has been lowered to $1.39 per hour from $1.99 an hour.

On the data security front, multifactor authentication services drop to $1.40 per user per month from $2 per user per month. Alternately, customers can choose to pay $1.40 per 10 authentications, compared with $2 per 10 authentications previously. Microsoft launched the service a year ago as a means of improving cloud security and preventing data breaches.

Microsoft also sweetened the deal for businesses that are considering transitioning their database workloads to the cloud. The Enterprise edition of SQL Server for Virtual Machines now costs $1.50 per hour, down from $2.10 per hour. Similar markdowns are available for the Standard and Web editions.

In total, Microsoft announced 61 Azure price cuts. The full list is available here.

Of late, the Redmond, Wash., company has been ramping up its efforts to lure enterprise workloads onto its cloud.

Last month, Microsoft announced that it is trimming prices on its new Azure SQL service plans by up to 50 percent on Nov. 1. In addition, the company is moving away from Azure SQL's daily and monthly billing scheme. "Azure SQL Database will move to hourly billing for the new service tiers," said Eron Kelly, general manager of product marketing for Microsoft SQL Server, in a statement at the time.

"This will provide customers with greater flexibility to shift between service tiers and performance levels, based on demand patterns, to gain cost-effective, reliable performance," added Kelly.

Lower prices may also help Microsoft maintain its blistering cloud momentum.

"I'm proud that our aggressive move to the cloud is paying off—our commercial cloud revenue doubled again this year to a $4.4 billion annual run rate," boasted CEO Satya Nadella in a July 22 statement discussing the company's fourth-quarter earnings.

Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner said during a conference call that day that the company is "thrilled with the tremendous momentum of our cloud offerings, with Office 365 and Azure both growing over 100 percent again."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...