Scott Guthrie posted about the Azure-related changes that have happened over the last few days.
Of particular interest to me was that Data Sync was now in the new HTML portal, and that the Azure store now works in a bunch more countries.
Generally I like the newer HTML portal but I'm still finding that it applies different validation rules to SQL passwords than Windows Azure SQL Database itself does. That's a pain as I still have to use the older portal.
Regardless, here is the list of changes:
Mobile Services (job scheduler support, Europe Region Support, Command Line Support)
Web Sites (scale improvements, integrated source control)
SQL Data Sync (support in the new HTML portal)
ACS Management (support in the new HTML portal)
Media Services (job and task management, blob storage support, reserved compute)
Virtual Network enhancements
Subscription Filtering Support
Windows Azure Store (now available in more countries)
Glenn Bock also posted a few days back about changes to the CLI that help with automation of site and virtual machine creation.
I was really excited about Windows Azure SQL Reporting being released. That lasted until I saw the pricing. If I just deployed a server and didn't use it, the price was 89c per hour for up to 300 reports per hour. What many people didn't understand is that the price applied whether or not you used the reporting server.
That meant that the minimum price for deploying a server was 89c x 24 hours x 365 days = $7796.40 per year.
That price was way more expensive than just deploying an Azure VM and purchasing a standard edition license for SQL Server to put on it. And the standard edition license had way more functionality, apart from the high availability provided by WASR.
At every session where I showed the product, the feedback was the same: "Love the idea, but have you seen the price?".
Many of us complained loudly (internally) to Microsoft about this, and I'm pleased to say that I just got an email that covers dramatic price reductions.
From February 1, 2013, the price drops to 16c per hour (all USD) for up to 30 reports per hour.
That means the minimum price for deploying a server is 16c x 24 hours x 365 days = $1401.60 per year, as long as you don't exceed 30 reports per hour. The pricing still isn't where I'd like to see it, but it's way more palatable now.
If you've been put off by the pricing of Windows Azure SQL Reporting, it's time to take another look at it.
ScottGu announced the Azure Conference today at BUILD. Have to say that I'm looking forward to it. If you want a bunch of Azure content, online and free, you can register for more info here:
Late last night I got to record an interview with Conor Cunningham.
Most people that know Conor have come across him as the product team wizard that knows so much about query processing and optimization in SQL Server. Conor is currently spending quite a lot of time working on Windows Azure SQL Database, which we used to know as SQL Azure.
I'm still trying to think of a good way to say "WASD". I suppose I'll pronounce it like "wassid". Windows Azure SQL Reporting is easier. I think it just needs to be pronounced like "wazza" with a very Australian accent.
In the show, we've spent time on the current state of the platform, on dispelling a number of common misbeliefs about the product, and hopefully on answering most of the common questions that seem to get asked about it. We then ventured into Federations, Data Sync, and Reporting.
You'll find the show (and previous shows) here: http://www.sqldownunder.com/Resources/Podcast.aspx
PS: For those that like transcripts, we've got the process for producing them much improved now and the transcript should also be up within a few days.
Nice to see the increase in maximum database size on SQL Azure kicked up to 150GB.
In most enterprises I go into, there are a few databases that wouldn't fit but now the vast majority of databases would fit in SQL Azure.
Also included in the November release are federations and an updated management portal.
More info here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsazure/ff602419.aspx