Are you an MSDN subscriber? I can imagine that most of you somehow are connected to MSDN and enjoy the benefits it offers, however, Microsoft are now offering free compute hours on their Windows Azure infrastructure if you are an MSDN Premium or Ultimate subscriber. Check with your manager or superiors your subscription level and take advantage of this offer as to dirty yours hands with this Cloud technology!
"Windows Azure is an internet-scale cloud computing and services platform hosted in Microsoft data centers, which provides an operating system and a set of developer services which can be used individually or together. It gives developers the choice to build web applications; applications running on connected devices, PCs, or servers; or hybrid solutions offering the best of both worlds. New or enhanced applications can be built using existing skills with the Visual Studio development environment and the .NET Framework. With its standards-based and interoperable approach, the services platform supports multiple internet protocols, including HTTP, REST, SOAP, and plain XML."
The special offer consists of approximately $1800 worth of services annually. You will benefit from a 750 hours per month of free compute hours running an extra small scale instance, 10GB of free storage space and 1 million free transactions per month. This offer is adequate to run a small web application for free! In fact, this offer is very similar to Amazon’s AWS Free Usage Tier. Competition is good, isn’t?
Existing MSDN users can activate the trial run from their MSDN account while non-MSDN users can try a limited amount of the infrastructure through an introductory promotional offer. For more info about MSDN Windows Azure benefits go here.