Cloud Computing Free for Startups!

I am continually surprised by how many of the BizSpark & MSDN Customers do not fully utilise the benefits included in their MSDN Ultimate Subscription. Most surprising is the lack of uptake of up to $3,500 in annual Windows Azure platform benefits at no extra charge! So to make it easier for everyone – i have broken down what’s included and how to get it below.

Which Windows Azure platform benefits can I get for free?

To help you "get into the cloud", BizSpark members get, as part of their MSDN subscription, up to $3,500 in annual Windows Azure platform benefits at no extra charge. Here are some highlights. The details of the exact subscription benefits can be found at

Subscription Level

BizSpark Offer (included per month)

Windows Azure


1,500 hours of the small compute instance

(Enough to run 2 small compute instances 24/7 for 31 days)



Storage Transactions


SQL Azure



Access Control Transactions*


Service Bus Connections



128 MB cache

Data transfers

35GB (WW) Out

35GB (WW) In

Annual Savings***


Note: For all usage that exceeds the no fee allocation above, customers will be charged at standard rates. To avoid charges customers should closely monitor their usage.

* The Windows Azure AppFabric Control service is provided at no charge for billing periods prior to January 1, 2012.

** The Windows Azure AppFabric Caching service is provided at no charge for billing periods prior to August 1, 2011. Beginning on August 1, a single 128MB cache is included at no charge. All other cache utilized will be charged at the standard rates.

*** Projected annual savings at standard rates.

How do I get My Free Cloud Computing Offer?

1. Sign-in to your MSDN benefits page

2. Click on the Windows Azure Platform link from My Account and follow the steps to activate your Windows Azure benefits (for limited free access). You'll need your credit card only because IF you use more than the amount of services that are included with your MSDN subscription, we'll bill your card for these overages. You can visit the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal to look up your usage at any time.

3. Go to the Windows Azure Developer Portal to access your Windows Azure subscription.

4. Once you’ve done that, you can get started by downloading the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio to start building and debugging your application. Download the tools

5. You can also see how easy it is to create a simple ASP.NET local application by starting with a tutorial.

6. Finally, you can use another online tutorial to learn how to deploy and run your sample application in Windows Azure.

” This activation process will require that you submit your credit card details to cover any costs of overage (ONLY FOR usage of Windows Azure beyond the scope of the included Windows Azure benefits). You are activating your existing entitlement benefit. However, there is a limit to that entitlement and the credit card is simply there to cover for any overage costs that may arise. Remember that the offer entitles you to 31 days of completely free usage every month of a medium sized compute instance. Only if you require extra compute power, or additional storage will Microsoft charge your card.