What is Azure? What can it do for me? Do I need it? How do I find out? How do I use it? Will it help my business? Can it help my career?
With all the things Azure can do, it’s hard to know where to start answering these important questions. But there’s a really easy way to explore the potential of Azure completely free and at your own pace: by creating a free Azure account. In fact, if you’re a Visual Studio subscriber either on your own or through your employer you effectively have one already. And even if you’re not a Visual Studio subscriber you too can start checking out Azure on your own schedule at your own pace completely free right now (details at bottom of page). And when I say “free” I don’t mean “free until you do anything” free; there are 29 free services you can spin up and play with and throw away at your whim and there’s something in there for everyone:
- Want to build a website using ASP.NET, Node.js, or another web technology? Azure can host it—FREE.
- Want to try your hand at building a back-end for a mobile app or game? Azure can host it—FREE.
- 5 recurring scheduled web jobs, server-less Azure Functions and Azure Bots handling up to a million events per month—Also FREE.
- Explore the possibilities of the Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, ActiveDirectory, Push Notifications (up to 1 million), Speech-to-Text, Speech Translation, Facial Recognition, and Containers for Ffff-reeeEEE.
- Want to learn what’s new in the latest version SQL Server or just want to remote into a Linux or Windows Server VM and go wild, all without buying new hardware to run a server under your desk, and re-configuring your router to pass through traffic to the right ports or putting your server in the DMZ (I used to do that, seriously)? Spin up any of those (or all of those)—FREE (for 1 year).
And that’s not even half of the free stuff. So whether you’re a developer wanting to brush up on their skills, check out the newest tech, or find the next big thing to level-up their business or you’re a student just trying to learn the basics of building a bot, a website, a mobile app or a game, or the joys of database schema normalization, there is FREE candy over here that you can get now for FREE without spending any money or paying anything for FREE for less that you’d spend on a pack of gum or a pack of anything for that matter because it’s FREE.
Actually, they give you a one-time $200 credit ($150 monthly credit for Enterprise Visual Studio subscribers, $50/month for Pro subscribers) so you’re actively burning money right now by not signing up.
If you don’t have a Visual Studio subscription, don’t worry, we’ll ask you for a credit card to verify that you’re a real person, but it won’t be charged. It can be your card, your parent’s card (ask first!), or even a gift card from your grandmother so long as it belongs to a real person and not a robot, android, cyborg, Dalek, or automaton. Microsoft 💖s AI, we’re just not giving them free Azure accounts because that can only lead to Skynet or the Matrix.
So, now that you’re convinced to stop setting fire to hundreds of dollars in exploring, experimenting, and learning, go sign up to put the already burning money out*. Then check out these great resources for getting started with Azure.
Artwork courtesy of Jonathan F. Chatonda.
*Free services (such as Azure App Service for Web, Mobile, and API apps) are always free but the free-trial period for paid services (such as Azure VMs) is limited and may vary by region.
And earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the Visual Studio subscriber credit to be $125/month. The actual benefit is $150/month for Visual Studio Enterprise subscribers and $50/month for Visual Studio Professional subscribers. The post has been corrected.