'Azure Signup and Billing: Crazy discounts, better error messages, and more!'

I’m happy to announce that Windows Azure has release another great set of features. Here are they, are in no particular order:

  • *Amazing (up to 32%) discounts on Azure with new Prepaid Plans. *Steven Martin covers the plans really well in his “Taking the fear out of commitment” blog post, but here’s the gist: by paying for Azure ahead of time, you get up to a 32% discount compared to Pay-as-you-go prices. You have a good degree of freedom in when and how you pay: you can pay up-front or every month, and you can prepay for 6 months or 1 year. The minimum amount required to get a discount is $500. Also, if you exceed the prepaid amount, you simply pay Pay-as-you-go rates on overage. So if you are spending a well-known amount of Azure, switch to a prepaid plan and start saving.

  • Better error messages during signup: I know, I know, really? But trust me, nothing sucks more than getting this generic “Oops!” message when you’re trying to sign up for Azure:

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Now, we show a much more detailed error message with a decent explanation of what went wrong, and next steps. For example, here’s what shows up if you try to sign up for MSDN benefits on Azure more than once:

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  • *Simpler usage history. *Based on popular feedback, we got rid of the “Show common usage vs. show all usage” dropdown. Now you see your usage in a single view.

  • Signup performance improvements: We made signup much, much faster.

Happy building!