An In-Depth Review of the Azure Free Trial

Azure free trial The competition for the public cloud marketplace is fierce among Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). AWS, having launched four years earlier than Azure, is ahead in terms of market share and revenue, for now. However, Azure is slowly becoming a strong contender for position one with AWS with its flagship apps targeting developers and IT pros. In this review, we differentiate each of the three public cloud providers.

What is Azure Free Trial?

The Azure free tier is a free service from Microsoft that allows users and companies alike to experience mainstream cloud computing products. Microsoft is providing Azure as a free trial to allow organizations to test-drive its popular services. The Azure free tier may not be sufficient for full production work.

However, it has enough resources to get you started with some of the popular Azure IaaS services, including Virtual Machines (VMs), managed disks, SQL databases, Kubernetes, and AI-as-a-Service, among others. The offerings from Microsoft Azure fall into two basic tiers: “limited-time for free” and “always free.”

When you sign up for the Azure account, you automatically have access to more than 25 popular products that are free for 12 months. Plus, you get a US$200 credit that you can spend for the first 30 days upon signing up. When the 30-day spending period lapses, you’ll continue to enjoy those products, but only after upgrading your account to pay-as-you-go. And, as long as you’re staying within the service quantities included for free services, you won’t pay anything.

In this regard, the US$200 credit acts as a spending limit within the first 30 days. When you use resources beyond the freemium products and quantities within this time, Microsoft automatically deducts that consumption from your US$200 credit. In instances where you deplete the US$200 credit or 30-day period lapses (whichever comes first), you have to upgrade your account to pay-as-you-go.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure offers a range of IaaS services, including compute, storage, networking, and analytics. Azure boasts of more global regions than any other cloud provider. As a cloud provider, Microsoft Azure is available in more than 60 regions and 140 countries. As such, it provides organizations the flexibility they require when deploying applications while preserving data residency.

You can experiment with Azure’s IaaS products by signing up for an Azure free trial account explained earlier. Microsoft employs a pay-as-you-go model when charging customers—meaning you only pay for the resources you have used each month. When you sign up for Azure, you have access to Azure products such as VMs, SQL databases, App Services, and Kubernetes, among others.

Besides Azure products, you’ll also have access to third-party vendor apps whose cost varies depending on the subscription model and infrastructure usage fees. Microsoft offers five different customer support options for its Azure products: Basic, Developer, Standard, Professional Direct, and Premium. Each option varies in terms of price, scope, and support mechanisms, as shown in the table below:

Basic Developer Standard Professional Direct Premium
Price All Azure customers US$29 per month US$100 per month US$1,000 per month Does not disclose
Scope All Azure customers Trial and non-production environments Production workload environments Business-critical dependence Business-critical dependence
Architecture Support Not available General guidance General guidance Customized support from professional delivery managers Customized support from professional delivery managers
Support API Not available Not available Not available A single view for managing active support tickets A single view for managing active support tickets
Operational support Not available Not available Not available Customized support from professional delivery managers Customized support from professional delivery managers

Microsoft Azure has over 600 services, some of which are listed below:

There are a number of features that Azure offers even beyond the first free 12 months. Depending on the availability and region, you can use 400 RU/s of Azure Cosmos DB, and 10 web, mobile, or API apps. You also get 1,000,000 requests per month to process events on a serverless manner.

Microsoft Azure also gives 100,000 operations per month, and services like Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), DevTest Labs, and Service Fabric for free. Also free are 5 Azure DevOps users, Security Center, and unlimited personalized recommendations of Azure best practices. You also get free load balancer, 5 low frequency activities for data services, 10,000 document searches, 1,000,000 push notifications, free batch computing, 500 minutes of job runtime, unlimited data catalog, 50 virtual networks, inbound Inter-VNET data transfer, 5 GB of bandwidth, free Visual Studio Code, free Machine Learning server, and free SQL Server 2019 Developer Edition.

AWS

AWS launched in 2006 as an internal infrastructure within Amazon to handle its online retail operations. Just like Azure, AWS uses a pay-as-you-go pricing model where organizations and individuals can scale their compute, storage, and performance as needed. If you decide to prepay in full or sign up for more than one year of usage commitments, then you may qualify for discounted prices.

However, if you just want to experiment with Amazon’s IaaS products, then you can explore AWS free tier. With AWS free tier, you have access to up to 60 IaaS products that are offered in three options: “always free,” “12-months free”, and “trials.” The free tier has similar restrictions as Azure free trial, including the 12 months and limited functionalities on core products like EC2 (Elastic Compute) and S3 storage.

Some of the products that you can access with AWS free tier include:

GCP

GCP launched in 2008 as a suite of cloud services running on the same infrastructure that Google uses for its high-end products such as Gmail, Google Search, and YouTube. In 2017, Google introduced a free tier service for companies with modest IaaS usage needs. When you sign up for a GCP free tier, you automatically have access to more than 20 popular products.

Unlike the Azure free trial that provides you with US$200 to spend for the first 30 days, Google provides you US$300 to spend on its IaaS products during your free trial period. Below are some services you can access with GCP free tier:

Support of Parallels RAS on different cloud platforms

Parallels RAS seamlessly integrates with Windows Virtual Desktop to simplify and extend its capabilities. With this integration, users will be able to manage all virtual desktops from a single pane of glass, i.e. the Parallels RAS Console.

Windows Virtual Desktop virtualizes applications and desktops and runs on Microsoft Azure. It enables access to applications and desktops hosted in Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session hosts, Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH), and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

Integrating Windows Virtual Desktop with Parallels RAS gives you better manageability, flexibility and auto-scaling features. It allows you to easily automate administrative activities, support and deliver legacy apps, access cutting-edge features, and do all of this from a centralized console with ease.

Download your FREE, 30-day trial of Parallels RAS today! Experience the power of virtualization in multi-cloud environments.


References

ComputerWorld

InfoWorld 

Parallels Cloud Computing 

Parallels Multi-Cloud Strategy