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Microsoft Azure playing catch up on pricing

Cloud price cuts follow Google and Amazon initiative

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Microsoft is the latest to drop the price of its cloud computing services, following two price cuts each by Google and Amazon Web Services.

This price cutting back-and-forth began in early November when AWS announced an 18% reduction in the cost of its virtual machines running on its Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) service. Later in the month, Google announced a 5% drop in the price of its pay as you go virtual machine service named Google Compute Engine. Along with that news the company also made a 10-fold increase in the VM instances types available on the platform.

During the first day of AWS's first user conference, the company announced another price reduction, this time for its Simple Storage Service (S3) service, about a 25% drop in its cost. The next day, Google once again lowered its prices for its storage service. Now, a week later, Microsoft is jumping in on the price dropping party too.

Microsoft's drop in its Azure prices bring its standard storage offering - which includes automatic geo-replication - to the exact same cost and price structure as AWS's standard storage rates for S3.

Google currently has the lowest starting price for up to 1TB of data, costing $0.085 per GB; AWS and Microsoft each cost $0.095/GB up to the first TB. AWS and Microsoft each offer up to 495TB of data for $0.08/GB, while Google offers 400TB for $0.063/GB.

In announcing the price drop in a blog post today, Microsoft reminds customers that it provides a free 90-day trial, as well as a commitment plan for customers to save up to 32% if they agree to a long-term commitment to use its Azure service. Microsoft says Azure operates at an average of 270,000 requests per second, reaching a peak of 880,000 requests per second.

AWS Senior Vice President Andy Jassy, at the company's user conference, said AWS "pretty regularly" operates at over 800,000 requests per second, peaking at 835,000 requests per second.

Not to be outdone, Rackspace, yet another cloud provider released a statement this week announcing that price is not the only factor users should consider when evaluating cloud computing and storage options, noting the company's emphasis on "fanatical support."



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