Getting Microsoft Azure for Free

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What is Microsoft Azure and How Can You Get it for Free?

Azure is more than just a color. It’s a cloud computing platform providing users with cloud services such as analytics, storage, and networking.  Anyone is eligible to access this platform for free for up to 12 months.  The first 30 days of use also includes $200 to explore the different services Azure provides. This trial can be used as both a free or paid trial, it all comes down to the amount of services you as the user are wanting to explore.  Below focuses on the different attributes and applications that Azure provides as well as what happens once your 12-month trial is complete.

What Does it Include?

Included in the trial is an array of free applications. Of course, not all are available for free during the full 12 months. Upon your initial download of Azure, you will gain access to Azure B1S General Purpose Virtual Machines for both Windows Server and Linus, 128 GB of managed disks, blob storage, file storage, an SQL database, Azure Cosmos DB and 15 GB of bandwidth.  All these features come free during your 12-month trial period but are not always free once you have purchased Azure.  A few of the 25 services that are always free include application insights, azure security center, and azure active directory. More details on each of these features and all the free apps included can be found at azure.microsoft.com.

You can add additional storage to the enterprise applications and services, while keeping this a free trial. Use the $200 credit provided by Microsoft to configure your trial environment. Other customization features include the ability to develop and deploy your own custom applications. Test your own applications on users and track their performance and usage using the enterprise applications provided to you for free.

How to Best Take Advantage of the Free Trial

  1. Learn just what the Microsoft Azure platform truly is and does without having to purchase it first. Discover all of the applications that are provided for free, the ability to create your own, and all of the functionalities that Azure has.
  2. The length of this trial allows for you to configure the Azure platform to your exact needs. Using the applications and setting them up specifically for your system, will help you in testing all aspects of this platform. The length of this trial also allows you to learn about all the functionalities of this Microsoft platform and other platforms that may work well once you are using Azure.
  3. The trial lets you as the user to test the variety of applications and services provided, such as the ones mentioned above, and if this is the best fit for you. Becoming familiar with Azure in the trial allows you to better understand the features you may need, the features you won’t have a use for and the features that could be a new addition to your current environment.
  4. The free trial lets you become more familiar with the Azure platform and the functionalities included. This includes having time to add your current data and use the multiple free applications and services in Azure’s trial environment. As well as allowing you to view changes and patterns that could occur over a couple of months during your trial.  You can also gain an understanding of changes or upgrades that need to be made and could lead to a better understanding of how Microsoft Azure works.  Using a few apps and services provided such as application insights or azure active directory with azure security center, during your free trial could lead to a better understanding of where you may currently need something more.
  5. The $200 credit allows you to purchase add-ons and get a feel for how the environment would work once you have entered the paid version. The credit provided allows you to set up your trial version to be as real as you want it. Your free version comes with a limited amount of storage and hours for certain applications, so use the credit to purchase more to configure the platform to your needs.
  6. Add your users to the environment and get a feel for the different features that the applications and services such as Azure Active Directory and Azure Security Center provides you with. Recreate your current security roles, create groups, add new users and assign certain user admin privileges.
  7. Create custom applications specific to your customers’ and user’s needs. The length of this trial could allow you to develop and deploy these applications.  Track the usage and performance of your applications using the insights features from the enterprise applications.  The applications you create will still be available to you once you upgrade to the paid version as well.
  8. Improve the reporting of data and the ease in which to read these reports. Become familiar with the insights features in Azure.  Test out the different enterprise apps and services such as Machine Learning and Data Lake Analytics.  Discover the apps that provide you with the data you need.

Take advantage of all aspects of this platform during your trial to best educate yourself and understand if this is the best fit for your needs.

What Happens When it is No Longer Free?

During your trial you can upgrade at any time or use your free version for the full 12 months. You will not lose the $200 credit, it can be applied in both the free or paid version of Azure. After upgrading to the paid version, many of the applications remain free; app service, functions, active directory, application insights, visual studio team services, security center, etc. Any configurations you have made during your trial using these applications will remain when you have upgraded.  You will not lose any app production or development you may have done in your trial environment. If you choose not to upgrade when your free trial expires, you are still able to access any of your configurations or customizations for up to 30 days.  After that you will have to start again and reconfigure your environment.  The upgrade is an easy flow from free to paid.

Taking advantage of the Azure 12-month trial will allow you to gain a better understanding of the Microsoft platform and maybe allow you to become more familiar with other platforms that Microsoft provides.

If the Microsoft Azure 12-month trial sounds like something that would be good for your business, give KTL Solutions a call. We can help you set up your free trial.

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