Microsoft ($MSFT) launched its cloud computing service, Azure, back in 2008 as a free offering for coporations to get comfortable with the concept of utilizing servers off premises. It just announced that Azure is moving to a paid model, in other words, becoming a business.
Azure represents a new, and unproven, business model for both Microsoft and its customers. Developers and other IT professionals need to assess Azure’s reliability, security, and cost compared to running Windows servers in their own data centers.
Will Microsoft’s cloud be cheaper than on-premises Windows servers? Every scenario is different, but many customers do stand to save money by moving certain IT workloads from their own hardware and facilities to Azure, says Tim O’Brien, Microsoft’s senior director of platform strategy. Early adopters such as Kelley Blue Book and Domino’s Pizza are saving “millions,” O’Brien says. He admits, however, that Microsoft’s cloud services may actually cost more than on-premises IT in some cases.
The drum beat for the cloud computing revolution gets a little bit louder.