Microsoft announces its Azure plan details and pricing

windows-azureMicrosoft first announced its Azure plans at last year’s PDC and the product has been available as a free technology preview form since then. The cloud operating system isn’t launching in final form until Microsoft’s October Professional Developer Conference.

On a pure consumption basis, Microsoft said it will charge 12 cents per hour for computing, 15 cents per gigabyte for storage and 10 cents per 10,000 storage transactions. For network bandwidth, the software maker is charging between 10 cents and 15 cents per gigabyte. The discount plan, dubbed the development accelerator comes in two forms and offers a 15 percent to 30 percent discount off the consumption charges. It requires a six-month commitment, with overage charges billed at the regular rates. After six months, the pricing reverts to the standard Azure rates.

Microsoft also announced pricing for its SQL Azure database, charging $9.99 for the basic Web edition, including up to a 1GB relational database and $99.99 for the Business Edition, which includes up to a 10GB database.

The software maker said it would promise 99.95 percent reliability for its compute and connectivity and 99.9 percent for role instance and storage. Microsoft finds itself in a new type of business, where it competes with the likes of Amazon.com’s Amazon Web Services and Salesforce.com’s Force dot com.

The pricing announcement would be made at this week’s Worldwide Partner Conference, which is taking place in New Orleans.