Azure Free Trial – Solving Common Problems and Things to Know

Windows Azure is the Cloud offering from Microsoft in variations of mainly IaaS, PaaS. To try out the Azure all that we need is a credit card and commercial availability in your country. To check for commercial availability click here.

People generally get little uneasy or skeptical to add their credit card to try out Azure, and it is quite a human tendency and this will take a quite a time for people to let go of this mind-set. You can try out Windows Azure for free and no commitments but still they need a credit card attached to the Azure account. After the course of testing for 90 days, there is no restrictions or agreement for you to stay with Azure.

Azure Free Trial – Free Tier

compute / 750 small compute hours per month
web sites / 10 web sites
mobile services / 10 mobile services
relational database / 1 SQL database
SQL reporting / 100 hours per month
storage / 35GB with 50,000,000 storage transactions
data transfer / unlimited inbound & 25GB outbound
media services encoding / 50 GB (input & output combined)
cdn / 20GB outbound with 500,000 transactions
cache / 128MB
service bus / 1,500 relay hours and 500,000 messages


    Azure Free Trial – Free Tier

    Q1: My country is not listed in the Azure Subscription Portal?

    A1:  Windows Azure is currently available in 89 Countries as on Today [31 Jan 2012].
    Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (FYRO), Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, UAE, UK, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Ukraine and Russia.

    If your country is not in the list, these are the things you can do

    • Contact Microsoft about any information about the availability of Azure in your country.
    • Vote your voice in Windows Azure Feature Voting and mainly in the thread Why not available in my country?.
    • Other alternative is to use Credit of your friend or cousin who is from one of the above stated countries.

    Few MSDN Forum Threads about this problem

    Q2: My free tier account is DISABLED?

    A2:  There is a spending limit employed with the free tier account, the sole role of the spending limit is to govern your Azure usage not to exceed the free tier of Azure Free Trial Account offering. You can disable the spending limit and on doing so, on the event of usage exceeding the free tier, your will be charged at normal rates for that month.

    Your data is not lost but the account will be disabled and accessible as a read-only mode if you exceed the free tier.

    Quotes from the Azure site about spending limit “When your usage exhausts the monthly amounts included in your offer, we will disable your service for the remainder of that billing month, which includes removing any hosted services that you may have deployed. The data in your storage accounts and databases will be accessible in a read-only manner. At the beginning of the next billing month, your subscription will be re-enabled and you can re-deploy your hosted service(s) and have full access to your storage accounts and databases.“.

    PS: The spending limits are applied by default not only for free tier but also for other partner benefits like BizSpark, MSDN etc.

    Few MSDN Forum Threads & StackOverFlow Posts about this problem

    3 Months Windows Azure Trial Disabled in 3 Weeks

    Q3: Trying Azure without Credit Card?

    A3:  I am not sure whether is still available for public use, however Microsoft can provide an Azure account to try without any credit card requirement. Personally, I have used 30 days & 90 days Azure Pass(es) to learn Azure roughly during early 2011. I guess it not available now-a-day i.e. I haven’t seen any offering these days. There is actually a site to request for Azure Pass i.e. Azure Trial account with credit card; however not sure whether Microsoft is entertaining now.
    Frankly, it just takes less than 5 mins to create an Azure account with your credit card and importantly instant activation as applying for an Azure account will keep you in queue and you have wait for the approval. There were also few Promo Codes, one such was from my friend Paras Doshi and he was offering a Promo Code, please note the date of the article [Jun 27, 2011].

    Q4: Unsubscribing From Azure after 90 days

    A4: Azure account can be unsubscribed any time during the trial period or post the trial period directly via the portal itself. www.windowsazure.com -> account -> Cancel Subscription.
    Earlier, the cancellation of the Azure Subscription would involve contacting Microsoft Azure Support via phone to raise support ticket for canceling subscription. Now it is available on the portal / account settings directly.

    Q5: Azure Has deducted $1.00 while signing up

    A4: When I signed up for Azure account with my Credit Card, I was charged $1.00 just for signing up. It was credited back. This happened to me. I believe this was just to verify the credit card is fit for transactions. However, I haven’t seen above words in any of the site or MSDN.

    Conclusion

    Please do not hesitate use the Azure Free Trial. Azure support is always there to help you out.

    Hope this helps
    Naveen

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